Former FWT champ Josh Daiek talks style and Detroit roots
Hometown: Christmas Valley, CA
Mountain: Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Sponsors: Salomon, Dakine, Kirkwood Resort, Clif Bar, Smith Optics, Discrete, Mountains Calling
Results: Freeskiing World Tour champion, 2012
I grew up just outside of Detroit in the town of Rochester. It’s a completely different lifestyle than what I have grown accustomed to while living in the mountains. Life seems to revolve around work there. My folks are the hardest working people I have ever met. There’s a totally different mentality in Detroit: it’s all work and no play. Which is almost opposite of the way I live my life. I work hard so I can play as much as possible.
From a young age, my parents would take me, my brothers and sister skiing up in the northern part of Michigan. We would only get to ski a couple times a year, but we always had so much fun. I remember the first time my parents took the family on a ski vacation to Colorado. I was so captivated by the mountains and knew that one day I had to live in the mountains.
It wasn’t until high school that I really fell in love with skiing. My cousins and I joined the high school ski team so we could catch a bus ride up to the local hill everyday. We would skip race practice to play on the mini jumps in the “snowboarder park” and explore the expansive terrain of Pine Knob’s 200 feet of vert(!) It wasn’t much, but it got us on our skis and we loved every minute of it.
Throughout my years in high school, I worked two jobs and saved all my money toward moving out west to be a “ski bum.” I worked my ass off, and after graduating high school, I moved to South Lake Tahoe.
How has your skiing progressed over the years? Ten years ago when I moved to Lake Tahoe from Michigan I could hardly buy a turn, I just loved skiing and shredding with my friends. I’d work my ass off all summer and save my duckets to ski every day in the winter. Skiing with Freeski World Tour legend and Kirkwood hero, Craig Garbiel, really changed my skiing. He pushed me to be a better skier. Skiing with Craig, I learned to ski faster, smoother and how to take airs to my feet.
Any big crashes or injuries that changed your outlook on skiing? Over the years, skiing has inflicted multiple injuries from broken ankles, to torn knee ligaments, to broken ribs. Sadly enough, I have experienced them all. Never did these injuries slow me down, or make me question, “What am I doing?” I am always eager to get back on the horse and go ski again. There’s an internal drive in me that just keeps pushing me to go bigger, faster, smoother, better.
Best place you have skied? That’s tough. There are so many amazing places to ski all over the world. Sorry to be “that guy,” but what really makes skiing a certain place awesome is enjoying where you’re at, at that given time, with the people you are surrounded by. Living in the moment.
Describe your skiing style. My style is simple. I’m your typical big-mountain skier. I like to ski fast, hit big airs and send big backies to my feet.
Future for you? Skiing’s future? It seems the natural progression of a skier these days is park to powder to mountaineer. I am definitely inspired by what kids are doing in the park, but unfortunately it’s a little over my head. I would say I’m in my “powder” stage, so naturally I’d like to progress toward ski mountaineering. It’s really cool to see the lines and faces that people are skiing these days… kind of sickening, really.
In terms of fitness, what do you do to stay on top of your game when you’re off the snow? The best training I have found for skiing is mountain biking. They are very similar sports. Biking keeps the body strong, brain quick and it’s a whole lot of fun, too.
You work with creative filmers… Salomon Freeski TV, for example. Do you like where ski movies are heading? I am stoked to be working with SFTV. Those guys are arguably the best in the game. It’s hard to find new ways to keep ski porn interesting and creative. I like that more films have veered from individual segments and are focused more on telling a story. It reminds me of the old Greg Stump movies. Classic!
Are you filming with anyone else this year? Aside from SFTV, my GoPro occasionally, if that counts?
Ski Objectives? Any “Shining Glory” you want to ski? I want to go heli skiing in AK!
Bucket list? Before I die, I really want to fly a wingsuit off a large cliff.
Places you want to travel too? I have never been anywhere tropical. I want to go to the beach, swim in warm water, learn to surf, go mountain biking and wrap up the day with a base jump… wait, was this supposed to go under my bucket list?