Ask a Pro: Sammy Carlson answers 10 of your best questions

June 30th, 2013 by

Between taking home the gold medal at the inaugural X Games Real Ski Backcountry contest and hosting yet another successful invitational event at Mt. Bachelor, it’s been a standout year for Oregon’s Sammy Carlson.

Some weeks ago, we invited our readers to post questions for Mr. Carlson. After receiving a hefty batch of Q’s, Sammy selected 10 of his favorites to respond to—the answers are below.

Next up in the Ask a Pro series is Stept’s own Nick Martini. Post your questions for Nick here.

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Sammy at Mt. Bachelor | Sammy Carlson Invitational, 2013

Sammy’s A’s to your Q’s:

TopherRitz asks: What was your breakout moment in freeskiing when you realized you could ski for a living? Any specific event you would consider a breakthrough?

  • Yo, Topher. The first that comes to mind is back on Mt. Hood, I was about 12 or 13 and a local photographer, Shawn Hughes, skied up to me and my crew and wanted to take photos of us for the Meadows website. Before then, I didn’t really think about getting sponsors or anything, we were all just skiing because we loved it. He was a really rad dude and took me under his wing. He introduced me to Tommy Ellingson and Seth Warner and those two guys really showed me how fun, and what freeskiing is all about. And I’m stoked to say I am still boys with all those dudes from day one. Shout out to all my HoodRats from day one!

aceofcake33 asks: Obviously to have the level of success you have obtained, you need to dedicate your entire life to skiing. Do you have any off-the-hill goals you would like to achieve post skiing?

  • Definitely. I am really stoked on skiing right now. I couldn’t imagine life without it right now, but I know one day I will be ready to retire as a professional—but I’ll be a skier ’til the day I die. When I’m older, I am looking forward to spending more time exploring deeper into the mountains, do longer ski tours and get more into the mountaineering side of the sport. Only thing is I might not have skis on my back every day. Might see me riding a snowboard at that point.

projectilechunder420 asks: Who influenced your style as you were growing up?

  • Eric Pollard, Tommy Ellingson, Seth Warner, Tanner Hall and Jon Olsson.

MaryOski asks: I consider you to be one of, if not the most, well rounded freeskiers in the business. What do you find more challenging and/or fun: throwing stylish, technical tricks in the park, or skiing a treacherous powder run in the backcountry? Which would you choose if you could only do one… park or pow-pow?

  • Thank you, Mary. I consider you to be one of, if not the biggest, skiing fans, so thanks for that. Good question. Luckily, I don’t have to chose between one because I really enjoy doing both. Not just focusing on one area of the sport keeps it all fresh for me. The older I get, the more I am trying to push myself in new areas. It’s not that I’m bored of park or anything, I would just rather shred pow. That’s what skiing is all about. I encourage all of you to just go rip around the mountain on the next pow day, get out of the park. Go explore!

kresge92 asks: Overall, what state/country/area has the best powder?

  • Japan = good powder!

Riley98 asks: What are your favorite songs/ artists to ski to?

  • Yo Riley. Hip hop… Weezy, Wu, Mos Def, Dre, A$AP, list goes on for days! Listening to reggae a lot on the hill, too.

Seanay13 asks: What is the scariest thing you have ever landed on skis?

  • Seanay, probably switch tre flip. When doubles came out, I remember being like, WTF… I have no gymnastics background, I was never on a trampoline team… I learned to rotate 100% from skiing, so I was like damn… I have never executed a dub flip, ever, at that point. So I went to some diving boards, learned how to throw double misty and dub backflips, then threw a double on skis. I remember my first double like it was yesterday. When I did a triple, I was once again like, WTF… I gotta get a tramp, it’s getting too crazy.

jonnylister asks: What inspired you to hold your own comp?

  • Yo, Jonny. I always wanted to bring the top level of skiing back to Oregon, and it’s cool to have the freedom to design features for all your homies! But mainly, at SCI we try to eliminate all the stress tied to comps and just ride together and make it the most fun as possible.

finn1080 asks: The wallride is a really sick feature at your invitational. Why did you decide to include one, and will it become a recurring feature in the future?

  • The goal of SCI is to continue to build innovative features that will continue to change throughout the years.

ChrisTheBist asks: Suppose the awful nightmare of a career ending injury were to happen. How would you cope with the ability to not ski regularly?

  • Yo Chris, that’s life, man. I have seen close friends have life changing injuries as well as others lose their lives to skiing. Those experiences have taught me a lot as a person. I know there is more to life than just skiing, but I am very grateful to live the life I’m living and try to prepare for the season every year: I try to be physically and mentally as strong as possible to help prevent injuries and just appreciate every day.

Also Read: Ask a Pro: Tom Wallisch answers 12 of your best questions

Next up in the Ask a Pro series is Stept’s own Nick Martini. Post your questions for Nick here.

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About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, backflips, the Boston Bruins and Norway. Twenty-seven years old and a Massachusetts native, he's the Editor of Freeskier Magazine and Freeskier.com—a proud staffer since 2010.