Cover Photo Courtesy: Tim Swartz - @timswartz
So far the month of October has been a very rewarding one for big mountain skier Owen Leeper. On October 4th, after a 17 inch dump, Owen was lucky enough to make the first turns of the season at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. A short two days later, thanks to continuous storms, Owen was able to skin up and ski down Grand Targhee Resort. With more snow expected to fall in the Tetons later this week don't be surprised if you see a few more powder shots from Owen before the end of the month.
I recently had the chance to catch up with Owen and asked him a few questions about his amazing October and the upcoming season ..
How was your summer, what have you been up to since we spoke last?
I spent most of the summer running around in the Tetons and working nights to save up for this winter.
What motivates you to get out there and take turns this early in the season?
Fall is a tough season for me, it's too cold for cliff jumping and too late for climbing peaks because of early snow, so for me skiing is more of a way to still get outside.
Have you ever skied in October before?
Last year I skied the Middle Teton Glacier October 30th and in Colorado it was pretty easy to get some rock skiing in September. I have to say this year was the best October turns I've ever had.
Do you have any big plans for the upcoming season?
A lot of my winter is snow dependent, I've got plenty I still want to do in Jackson when it dumps but I am planning trips to Revelstoke and hopefully Japan. Utah and Montana are also an easy 2-3 day trip for storms.
How much snow do you expect Jackson Hole to receive this season?
I'm guessing this is going to be the big one for me in Jackson, hoping for 700 inches or more.
Do you have any words of inspiration for the average skier that is hoping to make the transition from park skiing to big mountain skiing?
Start small, just like in the park, work your way up to the big stuff. Big mountain skiing has a lot more unknowns than park skiing. Snow conditions, hidden obstacles and thinking about how you'll get yourself out of the backcountry if something goes wrong. Basic avy training and first aid is a must if you venture out into the backcountry.
Over the past few seasons Owen has developed into one of the most electrifying skiers on the planet. He continues to push boundaries every day with his unique style that blends big mountain riding with an amazing freestyle skillset. Be sure to check out Owen's website and keep an eye out for his season edit which will be dropping later this month.