Where did you grow up skiing? Seven Springs, PA near Pittsburgh
Where is your home hill now? I ski a lot of backcountry around Crested Butte, as well as the ski area. My favorite backcountry zones are the Ruby Range west of CB and the Paradise Divide above Pittsburg.
What is your favorite thing about your home hill? The town of Crested Butte has amazing backcountry access- you can snowmobile or tour out any drainage surrounding us and find great skiing. Our backcountry receives about twice as much snow as the ski resort and we ski powder October through May! The peak skiing in the spring season is especially good, when opportunities abound to tour in the high alpine.
When was your first Freeskiing competition? My first free skiing competition was in Taos, New Mexico in 2009. This will be my sixth year competing there!
How did it go? I made it through the qualifier on Kachina, but walked out of my ski on my finals run in the West Basin. I placed around 20th. it was a great learning experience, that I had a long way to go to compete at a top level, and also to turn up my DINs. The next year I placed 4th, with my best finish of 3rd in 2012.
What is your favorite part of the FWQ? What keeps you coming back? I have made my best friends through free skiing, competing and traveling! I love skiing new areas, pushing myself to ski challenging lines faster and I’m constantly working to evolve my skiing style- from a billygoater to a big mountain skier.
What have you been working on improving for this season? This season I have been trying to open up my skiing, to ski the same lines faster and more aggressively. Sometimes I’m simply trying to open up my stance and be more balanced to handle higher speeds and bigger turns.
What do you do to train for the FWQ? Ski! I do a fall ski conditioning class, and also mountain bike,run, and hike in the off season. My main “training” is just skiing though- lots of days and lots of miles touring in the backcountry, combined with fast laps in technical terrain at the ski area.
Do you have a favorite event on the FWQ? I really love Taos- the Blake family has been so excited to host our event the last ten years and the old school vibe of the resort feels like back home in PA. The terrain really caters to technical skiing and the lines are fun in the West Basin and Kachina Peak!
Who is your favorite rider? Who influenced you most? I am most influenced by my friends- fellow competitors through the last six years that have influenced me to try harder, go faster (Louise…), and have the confidence to do so. Sasha Dingle, Alix Klein, Hazel Birnbaum- these ladies rule! I
If you could go skiing with anyone, who would it be? The ladies mentioned above! My friends that are great ski partners, companions on long climbs, and shredders on the way down!
Sponsor shout outs? Thanks to Ski Grace for making me sweet skis with a custom Steeler Steal Your Face! Kind Design for outfitting me in fly gear!
Any other shout outs? Hello to all my family back in PA and to thank them for always following my adventures! And to Fernando Ochogavia and the crew at EcoRoutes in Farellones, Chile!
Motto if you had to say one? Before I compete I always remind myself- “It’s just skiing- you ski everyday because you love it- today is no different!”
Anything else unique about you, your skiing story, and how you go to where you are now?
I grew up skiing at Seven Springs, PA- it was a perfect mountain to learn on, and to run around and cause mischief at as a kid. There was a great spirit about that place- mogul skiers hitting the same line 7 hours a day, everyday – kids riding a rope tow (yes, with real rope that would undoubtedly rip your gloves) for hours hitting a tabletop jump before parks were popular- diehard locals shredding the Gunnar lift line lap after lap- and the annual Pond Jump party in April.
When I was a kid, I didn’t race, I didn’t compete, I didn’t train. I just skied. It’s been a lot of work to get where I am now, but I’m so lucky to have had this journey. Moving out to Crested Butte and embracing skiing as my priority and lifestyle saved me. I can’t wait to see where skiing will take me in the future!