One of skiing's finest flavors and weirdest characters has announced his retirement. Citing medical issues and an ever-changing perspective Ian Compton has decided to move on to a new chapter in his life, one focused less on skiing professionally. From the early days of the Traveling Circus, through each episode of The Weak Ian has showcased his unique personality, broadcasting weirdness to the world. Through this journey Ian and his giant, literally, smile have shared many moments and inspired a new generation. "Have fun, be you, do good, be honest, get stuck in a tree and know you're living a very special life."
We wish him nothing but the best in this new chapter.
How old are you?
Bout to be 27
Where are you living now?
Basic rundown of where your life is at?
I am living in a small home importing water for me and my Dog. I have a yurt where I have been woodworking and a greenhouse where my composting toilet is now.
Basic outline of your winter?
I started out riding for Killington and making early season Weakís. My back/hip went out real bad last spring so I was nursing it most of the beginning of the season. I practiced nadas spinning and proly tried over 500 before back got real bad.
So you're 'retiring,' looking back, what do you think of your career?
It was a beautiful time in my life where I was able to grow as a human surrounded by amazing people doing what we all wanted. Everyone evolves as a human through their life and they may experience different stages. My stages just so happen to be displayed online which can be weird at times.
I interviewed Logan Imlach when he called it quits, we had a bit of a hard time actually using the word retirement. What are your thoughts?
Yea itís a pretty lame word, makes it a bigger deal then the situation is. I am just onto a new chapter for however long it may be. I am still a skier,
Looking back what do you see? What sticks out to you personally? Any moments, trips, etc that stick with you?
Too many moments to count to many friends to mention and too many weird car or van rides where I thought we were all gonna die. I guess getting stuck in that tree worked out for me and my last trip to the West with the TC was really damn fun. Rail Gardens 4 life.
The Rail Gardens
Why are you calling it quits now? Was it the industry? Personal? Other reasons?
Skiing has been absolutely everything for the past 10 years. That past 3 years I have been skiing with a really bad back. I have taken falls where I shouldn't have walked away from but did with a smile. All the abuse over the years along with the driving has taken a toll. 4 weeks ago I woke up and could barely breath or walk and had a paralyzed foot... I live a demanding lifestyle so when something like this happens I canít go import water with my 5 gallon containers or let alone think about walking into the woods to shit. I am stubborn with western medicine and stick to things like shiatsu and acupuncture... Yes people can get injured then be back skiing in a few months with surgery, but itís much deeper then that to me. When these things happen the last thing I want to do is get an MRI, get prescribed pills, get cut open and get told how fucked my body is but then kinda be back skiing. I looked at my situation as a ďcanary in a coal mine.Ē I have had a guardian angel all these years and now I am really focusing on the natural world and healing my body. The ski industry has given me more than I could ever imagine but to balance it with living the life I want right now is hard.
What is next for your skiing?
Once I can get everything back in order Iíll be coaching and prolly dreaming about making a heavy woodsy movie part.
From an outsider perspective it seems like you were never really one who cared for the spotlight of the ďproĒ lifestyle? Am I off-base with that?
It took me till 2 years ago to start saying ďproĒ I would just start grinning awkwardly when trying to say it. Skiing has always been much more then a career or anything along those lines. I love being able to support myself with what I have built in the ski world but at the end of the day I am just a ski dork, I like that better than saying pro.
Do you think youíll leave a legacy as a skier? What will it be? Do you even care?
I made a post on instagram about my situation a few days ago. The response from kids literally brought tears to my eyes. I remember how much it meant to me when the older generation reached out so to be able to create a memory for someone that made them smile is like no other thing in the world and I hope more people do 1 footers.
Any chance of pulling a Brett Favre?
I would love to be able to ski 100% again. I still have so many ideas but itís just frustrating when your body canít keep up so I am gonna get weird for a few years prolly.
What is next for your life? Are you going to stick around the industry?
The ski industry is so ingrained into me that I could never fully separate myself, but for right now I am setting up solar and getting more chickens.
If you could go back and tell your young self any piece of advice, what would that be?
DONíT EAT SHIT FOOD AND STRETCH, and maybe donít jump through that tree.
Advice for anyone else trying to Ďmake ití in the ski world?
Have fun, be you, do good, be honest, get stuck in tree and know you're living a very special life.
Shout outs and thank yous?
Jack B, Shane M and Evan W have been the biggest impacts on my ski life, thanks dudes.