If you’ve paid any attention to skiing over the past couple of years, you’ve heard of Angel Collinson- the female big mountain skier blowing the minds of everyone who watches one of her segments. But she’s more than just the girl who grew up in Alta-Snowbird employee housing, and we looked into what it’s like to be leading women’s skiing.
Nic Alegre photo
What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
Probably candy, or Nickleback. I’m just kidding I don’t actually like Nickleback, but sometimes I wish I did so I could have that as a guilty pleasure. But yeah, I would have to say all kinds of Wonka candy.
Favorite song or artist to ski to?
Lately I’ve been digging some electronic DJ mixes, because then I don’t have to change the songs when I’m skiing. It varies, but also one of Sage’s friends from Portland has some great mixes.
What are you doing when you’re not skiing?
I don’t really talk about skiing when I’m not skiing, I like not skiing. I like to sing, I like reading, and other outdoor sports like kayaking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
What are you reading right now?
The Artist Way by Julia Cameron
You’ve had a big couple of years, taking home powder awards, winning Red Bull Cold Rush, and taking on new sponsors- has this changed the way you’ve approached skiing at all?
I’ve tried to have more fun this year and make sure I’m doing things to take care of myself and nurture my love for skiing. It’s looking like it’s actually a career for me so I don’t want to get burnt out. I’ve just tried to take some personal time.
What goes through your head before dropping into a gnarly line? Are you visualizing your turns, or thinking about what’s for dinner?
I’m usually like “Oh my gosh, I really have to pee. Do I have time to pee right now?”. It’s a lot of dealing with nervous energy and focusing on nailing certain landmarks and staying on my line and where I need to go, cause it looks so different from up top.
Any standout days or trips from last season?
I’ve never storm chased before, and I storm chased out to Tahoe. That was really fun to just show up and not have a filming, photo, or competition agenda and just enjoy the storm.
You're out there skiing some of the biggest lines of the year, how do you go about mitigating fear?
I feel like women and men have to mitigate fear differently, I think men can just turn their brain off and just shut the fear out. I don’t think women can do that, I think it’s a little bit more tiring for women to deal with fear, because we have to embrace it more. Calm down, acknowledge it, feel that it’s there, and be okay with it.
A lot of times I like to think about just being okay with the worst that could happen. Going through all the possible circumstances and knowing that even if the worst one happens, that I’m okay with it, and that I’ll be okay in the end. How you feel about life is your choice whether you’re hurt or handicapped.
You get so much hype in the media about being the raddest female skier and are heralded for things like “saving women’s skiing” etc. Do you care about that kind of stuff? Does the media representation of you put pressure on you to care?
I was never really trying to be a pro skier, all the media coverage stuff seems funny and weird to me because I feel like the same awkward 5 year old that I’ve always felt like. I’ve never been big on the media, it just makes me want to stay more authentically true to who I am.
Who inspires you to ski the way you do?
I really like Sage [Cattabriga-Alosa]’s style, he’s really fluid and smooth and can ski the gnarliest, most difficult stuff and make it look really easy and beautiful- and I love that. I don’t think it’s quite my style, I think people compare me more to Ian McIntosh, although I love his style too, but I’ve always been inspired by Sage. Skiing with Ian is always inspiring as well.
What about you and your personality is most misrepresented or underrepresented in the media and interviews like this?
I don’t really pay attention to what the media says about me, but I guess one of the parts about myself that I work on a lot or that I’m most proud of is just I really enjoy making other people’s days better, or making them smile. Just making the world a better place one smile at a time, and I don’t know if that comes across in the media but it’s one of my goals in life.
What’s the hardest part about being on the road so much in the winter?
Not having a dog (laughs). For real, I want a dog so bad. But it’s also hard to get a good routine going- I don’t know if you’re into astrology or believe it, but I’m a cancer and we’re homebodies so that throws me for a loop not having a home base sometimes. But you learn your tips and tricks and you learn to bring your home with you, whether it’s your favorite rocks or meditation cards or a journal.
You've skied everywhere from Alaska to Kosovo, any dream ski destinations you haven't tried yet?
I’ve never skied in New Zealand or Japan, and I think those two places would be really fun. New Zealand is so beautiful and Japan has amazing pow and a really cool culture.
The female ski scene gets a lot of controversial attention, what are your feelings on the state of women’s skiing? What can we do better to push women in skiing?
I believe in walking the walk, and that the talk will speak for itself. That’s at least what I’ve tried to do and the reason that I have gotten so much support is because the guys I’m with, it’s not ‘oh she’s a girl’, it’s just oh she’s part of the crew, and I think that lifts you up. I think we’re focusing too much on women’s skiing as a separate thing instead of women being a part of skiing. It’s a double edged sword, because you want to raise awareness and pay attention but it’s also important not to separate us too much. But the most important thing is for all the women to know what they’re capable of, because our biggest limits are in our mind and what we think we can do- we’re like “oh we can’t do that, that’s too scary or too hard”, I definitely fall into it. But when you’re around super motivated women who push it you’re like “oh yeah, I can do that” and all of a sudden the barriers are broken simultaneously, and it’s really cool to see. So I think we’re capable of a lot more than we think we are, and surrounding yourself with capable women and walking that walk and pushing yourself is what it’s all about.
Was filming with just Hadley [for TGR's "Tight Loose"] different from your normal boy crew?
Yeah it was way different, and so awesome. Hadley and I have a really awesome relationship, we’re both super goofy and I love that about her. I think that can be a strength of having women on the crew, we tend to be a little more goofy which is super cool. It was way sillier than any shoot I’ve ever been on.
Where would you like to take your skiing next?
I would like to be able to combine environmental causes and helping out the environment with expeditions and my skiing career. I don’t know what that looks like or how it’s going to happen, but it’s definitely the direction I want to take it.
Any last words?
I appreciate anyone who makes a conscious choice to have a good attitude when life is dealing them lemons and I find so much inspiration in that ability and anyone who does that.
You can find Angel this fall in TGR's 2016 Feature Film, Tight Loose