Age: 59 years old
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California
Place of Residence: Le Châble, Switzerland
Main Style of Telemark. Freeski, Freeride, Ski Mountaineering, Adventure, and Expedition Telemark.
How old were you when you first started skiing? I saw snow for the first time at 15 years old amongst the mountains just north of Los Angeles. And I first skied the next year at 16 years old. I’ll never forget that first day. It changed my life forever.
When and Why did you start Telemarking? I first telemarked at 24 years old. Ankle-high leather boots and skinny Japanese Swallow skis. I started telemark strictly as a training tool to help my alpine skiing. I was kind of stuck at a plateau at the time so I contemplated ways to improve. And the solution I came up with was Telemark. I figured if I could gain good balance and control on kit that felt like driving an icy road on bald tires, well, this could only help my alpine skiing. After a while, a strange thing happened. Telemarking on that early gear was so challenging, that satisfaction levels shot through the roof after each little progressive improvement, no matter how tiny. It was amazing to be a beginner again. My alpine gear was gone within a year.
What do you like about Telemark? The first telemarkers I had ever seen were at Monarch Mountain, Colorado in the early 80’s. These two grizzled bearded guys awesomely pounding bumps on the tiny gear of the time. It was super aggressive, yet still like a soft dance. It was pushing the envelope. The better you got, the less you were on the cusp of headplanting, and the more you slid towards sublime control. The ratio changes are immensely satisfying. Nowadays all the challenges are still present, but with a much more stable overall platform.
What do you like about Meidjo Bindings? Well, for me, it is time to go back to a lighter set-up. To try and recapture a bit of the magic of lighter gear. And Pierre is making this possible. One step at a time.
What is your favorite spot for Telemarking? Spending the Winter - January to April of 1987 - in the Alps had a really profound effect on me. All I had known was the American version of skiing. I hit most of the classic Alps ski regions, two or more weeks in each spot: Innsbruck, St. Anton, St. Moritz, Zermatt, Verbier, Tignes/Val d’Isére, Chamonix. All these places are blow-mind and gigantic. But Verbier really stood out. Insanely great snow and ski terrain. Good vibes, and great skiers. On a high like you couldn’t believe, I returned to California and settled back into the daily grind working in Downtown L.A. It was horrible… Finally, after four years, I said the hell with this. I just wanted to ski. I wanted to gain experience and improve my tele. That’s it. I had a big blow-out party, said goodbye to all my friends and family, bought a one-way ticket to Verbier, Switzerland, and bailed. This was 30 years ago. Why did I move to Verbier? Specifically to improve my tele. So Verbier is Home-Base, and it is hell of a basecamp. Chamonix is an hour drive, Italy is 45 minutes away. There are so many ski areas in the Alps, it’s nuts. And I’m here to try and explore as many as I can. But in the end, I have fun no matter where I ski.
Where is your next destination, or where would you like to travel to Telemark? The List is Large. I want to ski all the countries of Central Asia. And 30 countries more after that.
Did you compete? I once did a bump contest at Mt. Waterman, Southern California. I was the only telemarker. I ripped it up, pulled a final helicopter right in front of the judges table. The judges didn’t give a crap about this guy in leather boots. At the parking lot prize giving, people booed because I didn’t podium. Such is life. I did a few other races here and there for fun.
What do you do for work? I’m in the Hospitality Industry in Verbier. This is my main job and it is what pays the bills. I work at night, so I’m able to ski everyday, whenever I like. I’ve had multiple 200 day seasons the last 10 years. And, I am Co-Editor of the bi-annual anthology book Telemark Journal International.
What other sports or activities do you enjoy? Chasing my wife Fabienne around on hikes. Photography. Biking. Volleyball, and Tennis. Anything, really. Noteworthy trips, Expeditions, and Tele Ski Mountaineering.
—Telemark Ski descents in 46 different countries, on all Seven Continents.
—550m Paisy Peak - Antarctica Livingston Island - Summit first telemark descent.
—700m Elena Peak - Antarctica Livingston Island - Summit first telemark descent.
—1000m (approx) Cerro Martial - Argentinian Tierra del Fuego - Solo early telemark descent next to Ushuaia, the Southernmost city in the world.
—1094m Snarby Lillstind - Norwegian Lyngen Alps - Summit tele descent. Fjord boat trip with other descents as well.
—1191m Mt. Chasnachorr - Russian Khibiny Range Kola Peninsula - First tele descent and first telemarkers to explore the ridges and bowls of this wonderful area. Two trips to this Arctic Circle region.
—1471m Mt. Luxmore - New Zealand South Island Kepler Range - Solo summit tele descent.
—2606m Le Fou - Swiss Alps - East Face solo first tele descent.
—2840m Volcàn Villaricca - Chilean Lakes Region - Summit tele descent.
—2866m Mt. Baden-Powell - California San Gabriel’s - Many tele and snowboard descents.
—3068m Mt. San Antonio (Old Baldy) - California San Gabriel’s - Many tele descents.
—3083m Mont Rogneux - Swiss Alps - North Face, early tele descent.
—3228m Bec des Rosses - Swiss Alps - West Face, first tele descent.
—3232m Bec des Etagnes - Swiss Alps - North Face, early tele descent.
—3294m Mt. San Jacinto - California San Bernadino’s - Summit descent of the epic Snow Creek Route.
—3421m Tête Blanche - Swiss Alps Plateau Trient - First tele descent.
—3750m Tizi-n-Ougane (Pass) - Moroccan Atlas - Telemark descent.
—3805m Gumachi - Russian Caucasus - Tele from under the summit entering Georgia as well.
—3824m Bloody Mt. - California Sierras - Early tele descent.
—3900m (approx) Semionov Pass - Russian Bezengi - First telemarkers in this incredible region. Other Bezengi Glacier areas explored as well.
—3901m Aiguille d’Argentière - Swiss/French Alps - Couloir Barbey, First tele descent.
—4248m Mt. Shasta - California Cascades - Solo summit tele descent.
—4314m Grand Combin - Swiss Alps - Valsorey Face first tele descent.
—4400m (approx) Kundim-Mishirgi Glacier - Russian Bezengi - First telemarkers in this fabulous region.
—4500m (from) Monte Rosa - Swiss/Italian Alps - Couloir Marinelli, early tele descent of the longest couloir in the Alps.
—4807m Mont Blanc - French Alps - Summit tele descent.
—5300m (from) Trisul - Indian Himalaya - First telemarkers to explore the south side of Trisul.
—5300m (from) Karlytau - Kazakhstan Tian Shan - Early tele descent.
—5400m Lower Twin - Indian Himalaya - Summit first tele descent.
—5420m (from) Chacaltaya - Bolivian Corillera Real - Tele at the highest lift-served area in the world. It has since closed.
—5633m Mt. Elbrus - Russian Caucasus - Summit tele descent of the highest mountain in Europe.
—5671m Damavand - Iranian Alborz - Tele descent off the highest mountain in Iran.
—5897m Cotopaxi - Ecuadorian Cordillera Occidental - Highest active volcano tele descent.
—6000m (from) Chimborazo - Ecuadorian Cordillera Occidental - Stormed off at 6000m, tele from much lower.
—6100m (from) Sri Kailash - Indian Himalaya - Stormed off at 6100m, tele descent.
—7546m Muztagh Ata - Chinese Pamir - Summit tele descent.
—8013m Shishapangma - Tibetan Himalaya - Central summit gained, no supplemental O2, tele descent from 7500m.