I was a competitive nordic ski racer skiing on Kaestle nordic skis as a Junior and qualified for the Junior Olympics in 1986. In 1991-92 I worked as a waiter/ski-bum at Grand Targhee resort, then later spend two seasons as a pro-ski patroller at Crystal Mountain resort, with one of those seasons being one of record snowfall during which I participated in avalanche control every day in February. In 1999 I passed my ski-mountaineering guide’s exam, the final component of my IFMGA-guide’s certification. From 1997-2004 I worked as a helicopter-ski guide at North Cascade Heli Skiing, in my opinion that operation has the best combination of sick terrain, quality snow, and reasonably-good snow-stability of any heli-operator in the country. As an alpinist, knowing how to ski any ski in any conditions with any load has helped me to move quickly and safely through the mountains of Europe, Canada, Alaska, the US, and the Karakoram.
The spirit of skiing:
Skiing is about moving through the winter wilderness in the most efficient, most aesthetic way possible. Whether that is on skate-skis, approaching an ice climb in Canada, or skiing off the summit of an alpine peak. Skiing is movement.
The most risky experience:
Compared to my “day-job” as a professional alpinist and climber, skiing usually is fairly tame. I ski tour for training, fitness, and the thrill of skiing off of remote summits. Working so many days as a patroller and ski-guide has seen me take a number of-rides in small avalanches, always when I least expected it. But generally I save my risk tolerance for the ascents.
The most painful experience:
In 2010 I fell 25 meters while leading a climb on the north face of Mount Temple in the Canadian Rockies. I fractured my ribs in about 20 places, my pelvis in two, and sustained major lacerations to a number of internal organs, including my right lung. I was rescued by helicopter and eventually flown to the trauma-center in Calgary Alberta. It took about 18 months to fully recover from those injuries, and in some ways they’ll be with me the rest of my life.
The ultimate day on the mountain:
A long up-hill tour, sunshine, untouched powder, and my wife’s smile as she pushes off!
What goes throught your head before dropping a big face/ doing a trick?
I’m an analytical skier: I’m thinking through my mental checklists, equipment, snow stability, run-out, spotters, safety equipment, etc. At the last moment, I think about being centered on my skis and breathing through the turns.
Reminescence about KÄSTLE:
My first exposure to Kastle was as a nordic-skier in the ’80’s. More recently they’ve come to represent the cutting edge of ski design and security.
Three reasons why KÄSTLE:
Snow-feel, ascending performance, stability at speed in variable conditions.
What do you do in summer?
I’m usually on a climbing expedition to the Himalaya or Karakoram.
Role models/ Idols that inspire you?
I’ve always most admired the spirit with which Herman Buhl and Walter Bonnatti pursued their ascents. They always went after their goals with a simple, minimalistic style which contributes to how much the experience can touch your soul.
Climbing in a light, fast and low-impact style; but I consider myself first and foremost an alpinist in all forms: from the biggest Himalayan walls to ski-mountaineering.
Initiated the Alpine Mentors Project (www.alpinementors.org) which aims to mentor, coach and climb with young climbers who aspire to climb the world's greatest mountains in a light-weight, low-impact style.