Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Wiley Miller & Jeff Schmuck
So, how are you feeling?
Better. Better each day. It's a slow recovery, but my vision is starting to come back and I'm thinking in another month I'll be on my feet and moving around.
Would you like to give your side of the story of what went down that day?
Yeah. We were at Steven's Pass for a TGR park shoot, and on the Thursday it was cloudy and kind of crappy weather and the park builders had just finished the moto jump. So Tanner, Dylan Hood and I started sessioning it and were getting the speed dialed. We didn't use any salt or anything when we were first hitting it so it was all slushy and whatnot, but we knew it was supposed to be sunny on Friday so we just decided to step up and dial in the speed, and then the park builders made it all pretty for the next day. So then Friday came and Tanner was sessioning one of the other jumps, so Schlopy and I went up to the moto jump and started prepping it. We threw some salt down and got the whole thing ready to go. I was the first one to hit it because I'd hit it the previous day, and I was thinking 'whatever this is like a 30-foot table,' so I didn't even think twice about hitting it. So I dropped in, and I don't know if it was the salt or what it was, but when I went off the lip I felt fine, and I didn't realize I was going too fast until I was way past the landing in the air. I remember everything until I hit, but once I hit my memory is pretty much gone until I got to the hospital in Leavenworth. The whole thing was weird because Tanner and I had just had a few good conversations about how awkward it is skiing pow and backcountry all winter and not really landing switch that much save for the odd 180 and 540 here and there, and then then trying to come out in the spring and step to this level of park riding and doing switch 7's and switch 9's. It's crazy.
So obviously everyone knows the extent of your injuries, as that's been well documented, so as opposed to dwelling on that, looking ahead to the future, how long do you think it will be till you get back on skis?
Well I'm hoping to try to head up to Whistler to ride for the last session or two of COC. I won't be able to ride hard so I'll just cruise around and maybe hit some rails and boxes. So that's the best-case scenario, otherwise I won't be skiing till November.
How was your season?
It was great man. It was probably the best season I've ever had. I started filming a lot right off the bat and learned some new tricks and checked some things off the list that I've been looking at for years. Like Rocker's Gap here in Utah, we got that checked off the list, which was great because that was kind of the big elephant in the room for the last year or two. And then I got some really good stuff in Cooke City, Montana, and then I got to go to AK for my first time, which was unreal.
Yeah how was that for an experience?
It was really good. Like I know AK takes years of experience to really dial it in, at least to ride to terrain the way I want to ride it, I know it'll take a couple of years to get to that level. So it was good to get up there and get that started and we really lucked out. We had great weather, great conditions and the snow was fairly safe. So I think it went as good as a first AK trip could go.
Nice. And you go to go back to Europe this year as well.
Yeah I went to Norway on a 4FRNT trip for Megapark and got some heli skiing in over there as well, which was a nice little warm-up to AK. And I got to do some filming with the Field Productions guys, which was a sick opportunity. And then I skied some park and did the Sweet Rumble big air in Trysil, which was cool but it isn't exactly my forte, but it was super fun being able to get involved and participate.
What movies can everyone expect to see you in this fall?
I'll have full segments in Level 1's movie Refresh and then TGR's movie RE:Session, and then I think I'll have some sort of cameo in Field's movie as well.
Obviously after this injury there's been a tremendous outpouring of support for you and Tanner. What would you like to say to everyone out there in response to that?
For sure there has, and it's much, much appreciated. It's really cool to know that what we're doing is being recognized and it's great to hear that people are supportive and care, and I couldn't be more thankful for all the support. So super big thanks to everyone. I really appreciate it and I know Tanner does too.