What goes through your head when you are about to drop in on a 99 foot rope swing?
The first time was scary, so I got a pretty good adrenaline rush. But thats because I have to jump slightly left off the start, which is gonna throw me slightly right into the landing, and I was a little worried about jumping 95 feet onto the rocks near the landing. But once I’d hit it once, it’s a pretty straight forward ropeswing.
How did you get so comfortable in the air?
I’ve been a gymnast my whole life. I flip and spin on skis for a living. I don’t really know, I’ve just always had good body control and air awareness. I still fly to Utah quite a bit to train with Katy Heddens at Black Diamond Gymnastics. Flipping and spinning is flipping and spinning, doesn’t matter if its a ropeswing, a pair of skis, a diving board, a BASE jump… Nobody know more about flipping and spinning than Katy, so if I have questions, or need training I head that way.
What was the worst injury you sustained while doing something gnarly? How did it happen?
I broke my scaphoid doing a no-hander off a 50 foot cliff on my snowmobile, or broke my fibula 2 years later in a freak parachute malfunction on a BASE jump when I fell 580 feet into a pile of rocks. That one is kinda crazy cause I probably should have died.
What was it like coming up short on the gap in Aspen?
Honestly, I don’t remember. I knew before I took off that it wasn’t going to end well, but I hadn’t left a way out. I learned from that, and now I always leave a way out. I’ve really good at what I do, and it makes sense to me, but I always have an out, right to the last second. I blacked out as soon as I took off, so i just remember thinking "I’m screwed", and a second later I came to and remember thinking "just brace for impact." It sucked. everything about that jump. None of us belonged on a jump that big. We’d asked for a 140 foot jump, and showed up and it was 195. After 4 hours it was 185. I had to leave town the next day for another photoshoot, so I figured as long as they could get me going fast enough I’d try it. Big mistake.
Is there anything that you like to do that is not extreme?
Sure. I’m a normal 24-year-old. I do the same things everyone else does, I just happen to play action sports for a living.
You were a pro ski blader there for a hot minute. What ever happened that that?
I’d rather not include this for obvious reasons… But: Ha, I did. I can’t say I’m proud of it, except that it taught me the most important thing any skier can know, and thats how to land on your feet. You cant land forward or in the backseat on them, cause you’ll just flip over. So no, I’m not proud of it. But yes, it was great training, good money for an 11 year old, and a step in the right direction towards being a pro skier.
What does retirement look like for a BASE jumping, Skiing, Rope Swinging, Maniac?
I don’t know that I’ll ever retire from sport. I love it, and it’s a big part of who I am. That said, things will be different once I get married and have kids. I plan on marrying my best friend, so if my wife asked me to stop, I’d sell everything the next day and be done. But I think you’ll be more likely to find her jumping right before me.
With all these extreme stunts the ladies must be blowing your phone up… How do you manage all the attention?
Ha, well… No, I do alright. I don’t really have time for a relationship. I mean, I’m gone around 8 to 9 months a year normally. My biggest fear is being a shitty boyfriend, so I either need a girl who wants to travel with me and do what I do, or wait until I travel less.
It seems as though your parents are very supportive of what you do. How have they played a role in your career?
My parents are my heros. They’ve always been there for me. They got me into ever sport imaginable, and have supported me in every way. My dad wanted me to be a ski racer. I grew up snowboarding, and then switch to skiing when I was 10. I was sponsored by LINE by the end of my first season skiing. They’ve always let me do what I want. Never pushed me, but always had my back and supported me in everything I do.
You have been all over the world. Where is your favorite place? Where do you want to go that you haven’t yet been?
I love the food in Japan, the skiing in India, the relaxation of the Carribean. But the most fun trip of my life was 5 days in Venezuela BASE jumping the worlds tallest waterfall Angels Falls. Theres still of ton to check out. I’d like to do southeast Asia. But I’m down for whatever, theres so much great stuff to explore.
Everyone wants to know, what are you going to do next?
Ha, it wouldn’t be much fun if I told you. No, I have some ideas, some gnarly, some downright suicidal. But my favorite part, the reason I do it, is to hear someone tell me I can’t do something, and go do it. Obviously theres a lot of calculation to figure out how to do it safely, but thats what I love. I’m a total physics nerd.
When you come down from an adrenaline buzz life must feel pretty lame, how do you counter the feeling?
Honestly, I have a hard time getting a rush from adrenaline anymore. I don’t know if it’s because of what I do, or how much I’ve done it, or what. I get more out of being able to say "I told you I’d do it" after someone tells me I can’t, or it can’t be done. Thats what I find more exciting.
What athletes inspire you?
I like seeing what everyone else is doing, and finding a way to put my own twist on it. Thats why I’ve never really had "heros." There are tons of athletes I look up to and respect, but inspiration can come from anyone whos doing anything.
I’m not much of a candy guy. Never have been. I want to say maybe Skittles, but can’t think of the last time I had one.
What would you tell young athletes that look up to you? any advise?
Iet proper coaching. The only time I’ve ever been seriously hurt (that crash in Aspen on the 185 foot gap) I had a nervous feeling that something wasn’t right. I ignored it, and wound up in the hospital peeing and coughing up blood for a few days. So, don’t second guess yourself. Your instincts are always right, trust them.
You were running around with green hair for little bit. What in the world brought that on?
I dunno. I’ve always wanted green hair, so this summer I finally went ahead and did it. I died it back after only 2 weeks cause a girl didn’t like it. Now that I’m over that I kinda want to do it again.