The ski industry has undergone rapid changes in the past several years, and we are currently in another unprecedented moment with the COVID-19 pandemic. So to help us better understand the past, present, and future of the ski industry, we talked to industry veteran and author of SKI INC, and SKI INC. 2020, Chris Diamond, about the rise of the EPIC and IKON passes; this recent era of rampant ski resort acquisitions; the state (and fate) of independent ski areas; whether COVID-19 will likely have lasting impacts on the ski industry; and more.
Baby giraffes? Organic bamboo scissors? Superman? Since we now have to learn how to tele ski (we’ll explain), we’re crowdsourcing a crash course in what we need to know to avoid embarrassing and / or killing ourselves. So here in Part 1, we solicited the best tips and advice from artist and telemarker, Geoff McFetridge; Flylow Gear president, Dan Abrams; and Blister reviewers, Paul Forward and Kristin Sinnott.
Caite Zeliff is a former ski racer turned big mountain skier who won the first ever Kings & Queens of Corbet’s competition in 2018, then won it again in 2019, then was on the podium this past year. She’s filmed with Warren Miller and TGR, she is equally fun to ski with and to shoot the breeze with, and, while she’s already accomplished a lot, it seems like Caite is just getting started. So we caught up with Caite on her birthday to discuss skiing; filming vs photo shoots; her best Marcus Caston story; her music and podcast recommendations; and more.
Before this FWT season, Isaac Freeland, was a very good skier who was definitely on his way up. But then Isaac not only was named the 2020 Freeride World Tour Rookie of the Year, he also became the FTW World Champion. So we had Isaac take us through his first season on the FWT, and walk us through each stop. We also discuss what it was like competing against some of the biggest names in skiing; how he approached each particular comp; the rather surreal — and abrupt — end to this comp season, and more.
We talk to veteran ski industry reporter, Jason Blevins of the Colorado Sun, about the COVID-19 pandemic and this past weekend’s historic and abrupt mass closure of ski areas. We discuss what, exactly, is going on; what is likely to come next; the impact on ski towns; and what each of us should and shouldn’t be doing right now.
Bobby Brown is one of the best slopestyle and big-air comp skiers of all time, but he’s currently focused on finding out what he’s capable of in the backcountry. So I talked to Bobby about his trajectory; the art of landings, air awareness, and making mid-air adjustments; who he most enjoys watching these days; what’s next for him; and more.
Last week at Western Colorado University, we talked to Tommy Caldwell about speed climbing & setting the speed record on the Nose with Alex Honnold; strength vs. experience; how he focuses on climbing projects while also having more disparate responsibilities than ever; and how and why he’s become increasingly involved with environmental causes; and more.
We talk to IFMGA / AMGA mountain guide, Rob Coppolillo (author of The Mountain Guide Manual and the new book, The Ski Guide Manual) about how he got into guiding; the current state of backcountry and avalanche education; his take on the pros and cons of avalanche airbag packs; the fundamental question of the most effective way to travel in the backcountry; and more.
Wendy Fisher is one of the all-time greats. She is a two-time World Extreme Skiing Champion; was on the U.S. Ski Team; filmed with Warren Miller and MSP; and played a huge role in showing the world what women could do in big-mountain arenas. We spoke to Wendy about all of this and more (including a few fantastic Shane McConkey and Seth Morrison stories).
In the world of ski and ski boot design, Thor Verdonk is well known and very well respected. So we talked to Thor about his background, his 25+ year career with the Rossignol Group and how he became the Global Brand Director for Lange, then we talk about the history of ski design and ski boot design; developing the Rossi S7; and we get his predictions about what the ski industry will look like 10 years from now.
Geoff McFetridge is an iconic designer and visual artist who’s worked with the Beastie Boys, Pharrell Williams, Spike Jonez and Rick Rubin, and companies ranging from Patagonia, Nike, the New York Times, Oreo, and many more. Geoff is also a passionate skateboarder and skier, and a big fan of … BLISTER??? So we talk to Geoff about going from being a sponsored skater to starting a skateboard company to designing for some of the biggest companies, bands, musicians, and directors in the world. We discuss skate vs. ski vs. snowboard culture; being a “conflicted” telemarker; and a whole lot more.
What will the ski & snowboard industry look like 10 years from now? Will backcountry skiing and splitboarding keep growing? Will indoor ski areas become more common? Will there be fewer or more ski companies in existence 10 years from now? We offer our predictions on all of these questions and more.
A recent conversation with Brendan Leonard (semi-rad.com) about his 2019 goal of running 52 marathons in 52 weeks (!!!) got us thinking that we should take a more creative approach to New Year’s Resolutions and goals. And then very soon, we’ll be posting a series of interviews with some Blister reviewers and other folks about their own take on new year’s resolutions, and some of their own creative goals.
We’re not sure that anyone loves skiing more than Tyler Curle, and Tyler also happens to be one very hard-charging and versatile skier who has appeared in Matchstick and TGR films. So we had Tyler come out to Crested Butte to talk about growing up skiing at Mt. Rose; starting to help out at Moment Skis at the ripe old age of twelve; his favorite skis, skiers, and ski movies of all time, and a whole lot more.
When it comes to skiing, product design, filmmaking, and art, few people have exhibited a more distinctive style than Eric Pollard. But for someone who has been working at the forefront of these mediums for about 20 years, we know a relatively small amount about the person behind all of it. So in this conversation, we talk to Eric about skiing and art and creating and evolving, and we discuss his soon-to-be-released film and book that share the same title, ‘Drawn From Here.’
Most of us know Vonn as one of the greatest ski racers of all time — and probably the toughest. But in the new HBO film, Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season, Vonn pulls back the curtain on her career and the steep price of pursuing the record for most World Cup wins.
So we talked to the film’s co-director and Teton Gravity Research co-founder, Steve Jones, about the making of this film; Vonn’s accessibility and emotional vulnerability; the hidden costs of pursuing greatness; and more.
Jason Blevins of the Colorado Sun broke the story about backcountry.com’s practices around trademark issues, so we talk to Jason about how this story got on his radar; the specifics of what backcountry.com was doing; how common or uncommon these practices are; how backcountry.com has subsequently responded; and what needs to be done going forward.
In our latest BLISTER Speaker Series at Western Colorado University, Moment Skis CEO, Luke Jacobson, talks about managing the significant growth of this indie brand; manufacturing in Sparks, Nevada; crucial decisions he’s had to make; how he would assess those decisions in hindsight; and more.
Rachael Burks is known for skiing burly lines and her signature backflip, but she is also known for her boundless enthusiasm, which is on full display in our conversation about skiing and Shakespeare; her spot-on impression of Julian Carr; podiuming in a comp on rental skis; her best ski season ever; her abiding love of sweatpants, Star Wars, fantasy novels, Red Bull Rampage; and more.
If the story told in the new film Blink of an Eye weren’t true, nobody would believe it. Friendship, brotherhood, heroes, triumph, tragedy, and redemption are the topics, and we discuss all of them on our latest Blister Podcast with the film’s writer & director, Paul Taublieb. If you are interested in or intrigued by auto racing, you will love this one. And if you have zero interest in NASCAR, then you especially need to listen, for reasons we’ll explain.
When Alex Honnold, was looking for a new executive director for his Honnold foundation, he tapped Dory Trimble. And with the massive success of the film, Free Solo, Dory has guided what started as Alex’s small, personal passion project into a rapidly growing nonprofit working on global solar energy initiatives. So in our latest Blister Speaker Series, we talk to Dory about what it’s like working with Alex; how she’s managed the explosive growth of the Honnold Foundation; and she offers great advice for anyone interested in getting involved with organizations committed to doing social good.
Dash Longe is a skier who’s been doing it — and going big — for a long time. So I spoke to Dash about his brand new film, Stone’s Throw, and about ski films in general; his coming up during the heyday of the freeskiing revolution in Tahoe; ski design and Dash’s work on the DPS Koala 119; and more. Check out this post for the whole conversation — and watch Dash’s film, Stone’s Throw.
Adventure photographer, Corey Rich, has spent a lot of time documenting some of the most interesting and amazing athletes in the world. So we talk to Corey about his time with the likes of Fred Beckey, Chris Sharma, Tommy Caldwell, Ashima Shiraishi; why making mistakes and being vulnerable makes for great storytelling; his excellent new book; what his dream assignment would be; and much, much more.
J Skis founder, Jason Levinthal, is back on the show, and this time, our conversation is made up almost entirely of your questions. And in his trademark style, Jason answers each of them with extreme candor. Check out the full video and conversation here.
Last week, we kicked off season #2 of our monthly Blister Speaker Series at Western Colorado University, where we invite influential figures to come talk about how they are shaping the outdoor industry. Our first guest of the new season was Claudio Caluori, the announcer for the World Cup Downhill series, a former pro XC and DH racer, the founder of Velosolutions, and the initiator of #pumpforpeace. We touch on all of these things in our conversation, and get Claudio’s perspective on a wide range of topics and questions.
Pep Fujas has always been at the forefront of freeskiing, and he is now looking to move things forward once again. So we talk to Pep about growing up on his family farm in Oregon; his remarkable film career; his favorite Seth Morrison story; his long relationship with K2 and his favorite K2 skis; his decision to go back to school; and his even bigger decision to join the team at WNDR Alpine.
Aside from her unassuming disposition, everything about Ming Goetz is extraordinary — her name; her background; her favorite discipline; her competing recently in the Crankworx Whip Off Challenge; her participation this season in the 1st ever Women’s Slopestyle Tour; her plans for the future (competing in Red Bull Rampage) and, of course … her abilities on a bike. So ladies & gentlemen, get ready to meet Ming.
What does biotech have to do with backcountry skiing? And what does microalgae have to do with skis? And why did the founder of 4FRNT Skis, Matt Sterbenz, agree to get involved with a new startup ski brand, WNDR Alpine? We sat down in Blister HQ with Checkerspot co-founder and CEO, Charlie Dimmler, and WNDR Alpine founder, Matt Sterbenz, to talk about the creation of WNDR Alpine; its relation to and the mission of Checkerspot; and more.
For many of us, bikes are primarily fun. But for many others, bikes are major drivers of economic development, educational opportunity, health care, and equality. World Bicycle Relief was started by the founder of SRAM to provide bikes to developing countries, and we talk with WBR’s CEO, Dave Neiswander, about the origins of World Bicycle Relief; its trajectory and challenges; all the product design that goes into their bikes; and what each of us can do to support the WBR mission.