Canyon Blog had the opportunity to spend time with the world-renowned skier, ski-BASE and airborne sport pioneer. In town for a corporate leadership event at Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge, he gave an inspiring keynote on the challenges and joys of a life in professional extreme sports. For an hour he held 140 attendees spellbound, before being feted at the Aerie afterwards. Your correspondent tagged along, not so much for JT’s stories (I know all of them) but for the free drinks and festive atmosphere at Snowbird’s classiest bar.
The next morning, moving slightly slower than usual, we met at Snowbird for a run with a few of the previous night’s audience members before peeling off to catch up on old friends and ski war stories under a promising heavy sky. On our first lift our two companions noticing his Red Bull helmet asked, “Are you JT Holmes?” This produced two consequences, the hijacking of our lift conversation and your correspondent to roll his eyes. A quick escape and a few turns in Mineral Basin and we turned our attention to Alta for some hiking into Katherine’s.
Unfortunately for your correspondent, this is where our two-man mission was joined by JT’s fellow pro skiing buddy and Discrete Peak Series founder, Julian Carr. Now outnumbered 2 to 1 by the pros, Canyon Blog was forced to step up his skiing game. Apparently, if you’re a pro skier, no run can be completed at a speed below 30 MPH, even through the trees of upper Alta in zero visibility snow.
Yet, the fates were kind, leaving only one severe laceration from the pines across Canyon Blog’s arm, and so, after a full day our trio repaired to Alta Lodge’s venerable Sitzmark bar for a few pints among friends.
From there it was a short, but relaxed, ski commute back to the Village at Sugarplum and a Canyon Services rental for a fire, homemade red sauce enchiladas and more drinks away from the crowds, and also the following interview:
Canyon Blog: What do you like best about Alta?
JT: It’s just a killer community and environment to play outdoors: cliffs, slopes, snow and of course the people.
CB: As a Squaw Valley resident, how do you compensate for the general lack of quality powder at home compared to Alta?
JT: It’s not easy, because everyone knows Alta pow is the lightest and deepest on the globe.
CB: So, no envy?
JT: No need. I just come here and crash with you for a few days.
CB: It’s good you can admit our snow is best. Favorite Alta spot?
JT: Devil’s Castle. I did a ski-BASE there in 2005 that remains one of my all-time favorites. (check it out at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH-E1TL779Q )
CB: Anything else to add for the readers of this blog?
JT: I hate to admit it, but you’ve always been the better BASE jumper and skier between the two of us. An inspiration to all.
CB: Thanks buddy.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Canyon Blog reconstructed the above conversation from memory after a full day of skiing and imbibing. Any errors or misconstrued wording are the shared responsibilities of the author and Uinta Brewing Company.
You can check out all of JT’s adventures at https://www.instagram.com/jtholmesjr/?hl=en