Khai Krepela talks backflips, greasers and filming with PBP in Detroit

Comments by Shane Dowaliby/

Park City native, Khai Krepela, combines ultra-composed, technical rail maneuvers with a healthy bag of air tricks to create one of the most enjoyable styles in skiing. This year, that style will be on display in the new film from Poor Boyz Productions, Tracing Skylines. We spoke with Khai this week to discuss his big film debut, the season ahead and more.

Q&A:

Hey Khai, where are you right now?

I just moved back to Utah from Tahoe, looking for a place to live right now. I’m staying at my mom’s in the meantime and working for her landscaping company until winter. Hoping to make some good money before the snow falls.

What have you been up to this summer?

I spent most of the summer as a ski coach with Windells Camp, [shredding with the kids and] trying to learn some new stuff for this winter. It’s just fun in the sun with all your best friends. I had to coach until about 1:30 every day, but if you get good kids, you can just shred with them the whole time. Once you get off hill, you host a video review and then it’s back home to drink a ‘couple’ beers. [Laughs]

Does that mean you finally learned how to do a backflip?

After years of refusing to even try one, I can finally say yes. [Laughs] Once the resort closed in Tahoe, the GoodEnough crew and myself headed up to Donner Pass to build a snake run. We made a sweet little backflip jump and just played around on it. Noah Wallace was there and we played a game of S.K.A.T.E. That day I learned backflips, lincoln loops, front flips and underflips.

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Khai sends it at Timberline. Photo: Erik Hoffman/Windells Camp (See more from Windells)

What’s up with GoodEnough?

GoodEnough was started about three years ago by Jason Arens, Garrett Jurach and Noah Curry. There isn’t much media that comes out of Tahoe for park skiing and they wanted to change that. I was lucky enough to move in with them and was immediately accepted into the crew. It’s been awesome to see it grow with all the support we have been getting. Keep an eye out for our edits this next winter as we will be based in Park City, but also going back to Tahoe a ton, and probably out to Colorado, as well.

What were some of the other highlights of your season?

Hands down, the highlight of my year was getting a call from Cody Carter, saying that Poor Boyz wanted me to fly to Detroit to film for their new movie. It was such an honor, because Happy Dayz was the movie that convinced me that skiing is what I want to do. Other than that, I took eighth place at War of Rails, which is an accomplishment to me because it was such a high caliber of skiing.

How did you get hooked up with the Poor Boyz crew?

I pretty much just have to give a huge shout out to Pete Arneson. He knows the PBP guys really well and they called him to see who he thought they should shoot with. My name came up and I was lucky enough to get chosen.

Tell me a little bit about the Detroit trip.

Well, I really can’t see myself doing another urban trip that will be as crazy as that one. When I got there the crew was Karl Fostvedt, filmers Cody Carter, Jonny Durst and Jasper Newton, photographer Tim Sorenson and a dude named T-Rob who ran the winch. We had to constantly watch each others’ back to make sure that somebody wasn’t coming after one of us with a knife or a gun. I felt completely out of control. It’s weird, but when I finally put my skis on it was comforting to know that I was once again in control of my safety.

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Detroit: Where dreams go to die and Poor Boyz goes to ski. Photo: Khai Krepela

Every single day I was there, a cop or somebody would pull up and ask if we had been robbed yet and told us to be careful because it was an extremely dangerous part of town. Most of the spots we hit had been littered with bullet holes. But it was awesome to be that far out of your normal skiing element. It also really opened my eyes to how bad it really is in Detroit right now. All in all, it was definitely one of the most memorable trips I will ever have and I would do it again in a second. [Ed’s note: Keep your eyes peeled for a featured story re: the Detroit trip in the upcoming October issue of Freeskier, albeit, in reference to a portion of the trip where Khai was absent.]

What’s life like in Tahoe?

It’s very sleepy. [Laughs] Definitely some really good people and I made some great friends. The skiing there is fun, but in my opinion it can’t compare to Utah. I think I’ll start living there during the summers just because it is such a laid back lifestyle. With the lake being right there, it’s pretty hard to beat.

How do you define your skiing style?

That’s hard to say. I don’t think I’m a gypsy and I’m definitely not gangster. I think my buddy Tosh said it best when he said I’m a “greaser.” [Laughs]

What are your plans for the upcoming season?

As of right now nothing is set in stone. I’m hoping to do some more filming with PBP and hopefully I’ll be going to Rails to Riches and War of Rails. If I’m not on the road I will just be hanging out in Park City and traveling with the GoodEnough crew while we film our webisode series.

What were the benefits/drawbacks of growing up in Park City?

I’d say the benefits are obvious. I grew up in one of the best places to ski in the world. The drawback is that it made it really hard to move away from home in order to get out of my comfort zone and experience new things. I pretty much had to force myself to move away for a season just so I wouldn’t get too stuck here.

Who is doing things right in skiing?

I don’t think there is really a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in skiing. [Tons of people are] upset about skiing being in the Olympics right now, but in all honesty I think it will help our sport grow in all directions. The fact that the Olympics will bring more money into the industry means that the whole sport will grow. Then maybe, just maybe, the skiers who don’t compete will finally make some good money and it will continue to grow.

Why should I follow you on Instagram?

Because I post awesome pictures of my travels and life. [Laughs] Plus, I have a sweet fisheye with a waterproof case that provides for some cool pics. Follow me, @khaikrepela.

Any closing remarks?

Shout out to all the support from my sponsors, friends and family. Bern Unlimited, Surface Skis, Joystick Poles, Yoke Collection, Causwell Outerwear, #goodenoughbgk. And make sure to check out Tracing Skylines this fall.

Watch now: Khai Krepela throws down at Windells, summer 2013