Things I’ve Learned: Chris Benchetler
Chris Benchetler, Pro Skier, Backcountry aficionado, film star, Mammoth Lakes, CA
My first memory skiing in Mammoth was when my dad took me up top for the first time. I had a sick, red one piece and thought I was hot shit. Turns out I wasn't even close. Tumbled the entire way down, but fortunately after I stopped crying he made me go right back and try again.
From what I can remember I have always been obsessed with the idea of being a skier.
I actually have a handmade book with illustrations that my mom saved from when I was in 2nd grade. The whole story was explaining how I was going to be a professional skier. I think some people just have it embedded in their brain of what they want to do at a young age and have that drive. And as time went on I just started to live, eat, and breath skiing.
I never strap on the old race suit, but whenever I get the chance to run gates, I like to. It's always fun to see if you can still lay 'em over.
I just picked up nordic skiing. Huge fan! I'll probably end up in tights when I try and qualify for the Olympic Biathlon.
I think engaged life has already changed my career for the better, so marriage should just keep down that path, right?
It's was an indescribable weight that got lifted off my shoulders that I didn't even know was there. I guess that slight unknown goes out the window. As for unexpected changes, we are both still very focused on our careers and want to continue this lifestyle for a long time, so hopefully kids will be much later in the picture.
Well, [I've learned] a lot. Not so much about snowboarding, other than the business side, since I was obsessed with the sport long before her, but I've learned patience, health, and perspective on what's important in life.
It's amazing getting snowboard stuff. I always refer to myself as a pro ho. DC hooks it up big time.
I really feel part of the Atomic family. The fact that I can sit down with the President, Marketing Directors, TMs and they actually take my opinions and ideas to heart, is incredible. Not many companies out there give their athletes that much free reign, but Atomic and I have built a very trustworthy and productive relationship. Very stoked!!
To be honest it came down to opportunities and a pro model ski. The timing was perfect. There's obviously a lot of people deserving of their own ski, but with the timing of Atomic revamping their whole freeride program and what I had to offer to the table, we were able to create a masterpiece.
I think the Bent_Chetler really helped shape both my career and the brand in a positive light. I couldn't be happier with my decision, and am very thankful they believed in me and brought me on board.
At first it was hard to nail the specs and flex. It definitely took time, and a few [prototypyes]. There are a lot of awesome skis on the market, but we wanted something that topped them all, so we just waited until it felt perfect. For my style of skiing, I feel like we have the best ski I've ever personally skied on.
Graphics are hard! They definitely keep me up late at night. Most of them are inspired from my travels and other aspects of life. I just try to incorporate all the things that are relevant to me. Surfing, mountains, ocean, trees, nimbus clouds, etc. But I definitely struggle to keep those creative juices flowing.
Anytime I see the skis out and about I try to say thanks and ask what the skier thinks. I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do.
I hope we see more events like Linecatcher and Cold Rush.
It's a refreshing perspective on skiing that shows the media and sponsors that there's more to skiing then double corks and sliding metal. I love the progression of park and accessibility, but I think skiing needs to utilize and promote all its outlets.
Chris Benchetler 2010 Self Edit
I have no idea who won Dew Tour or even X-Games, for that matter. Not because I don't care, I always watch if I'm around, but simply because I'm focused on other aspects of our sport. That being said, I think it makes sense to make everyone happy and cover all the bases so to speak…
Park and pipe skiing is more then impressive. I think their ability to make up, try new tricks, and stomp them first try is insane. Slightly overkill at times, but I'd say keep doing it.
Wow. Best skier? Impossible for me to judge. I really like Pollard's approach on slashing and natural terrain. Love Pettit's ability to send it and stomp. Stoked on Pep's style. Boronowski's bag of tricks in the BC. Durtschi's progression. Sage's flow. Watching kids be flawless in the park, Wallisch, Sammy, etc. Kind of love it all for different reasons.
Bottomless pow is more or less indescribable. It's definitely something everyone MUST experience at least once in their life. Weightless freedom.
Well, personally I'm very focused on making skiing multi-dimensional. And Nimbus is the perfect outlet to do so. We have taken control of how we are perceived as skiers. I feel there is a big void in the way people ski and read terrain. Between how you're supposed to ski and how we were raised to ski has more or less gone out the window with ski technology. We are now able to try new butter variations, slashes, etc… I really enjoy taking inspiration from surfing, snowboarding, and other parts of my life, and apply that to my skiing. Hopefully that style and different approach of progression will show people young and old how fun skiing is and can be. It takes away the stereotype that skiers stay in a straight line stabbing turns the whole way down.
I never really had the competition mindset, so the more laid back pace fit me perfectly.
Everything about the backcountry is appealing to me, which is why I try to spend everyday out there. You can learn a lot about yourself, mother nature, respect, solitude, humility, and it's the perfect way to test your creativity.
Filming with multiple companies is a complete roll of the dice. If the weather lines up, you generally can make it happen, but more often than not, spreading yourself too thin doesn't work out too well. It really puts a hold on progression, too, which is tough. You have to be 100-percent dialed with your tricks since you have such limited time with each opportunity and with each company. There's not many opportunities to try new moves.
Other pros are missing the boat, I think. Mammoth is the greatest! It has everything important in my life. Big mountains, great skiing, sick skinning/nordic/hiking, biking, climbing, weather, people, food, family, and is very close to surf. No point in relocating when you have it all and more in your back yard.
Surfing means a lot. It pretty much stole my heart in the same way skiing did. I'm very inspired by the way surfers can read a wave, slash, butter around, etc. and I want to try and bring that style and way of thinking into my skiing.
A sick spine face in AK. Watching TGR every year makes me really want to score up there sometime. Hope I make it happen soon.
Well, that's quite the tough question. Who am I? I'm someone that pretty much needs to spend every day outdoors. I love using all that mother nature has to offer. Between snow, ocean, rock, and dirt, I'm addicted to physical activity and my health. I'm an artist, more on snow than off, but love both aspects.
Chris and his aforementioned fiancée Kimmy Fasani
For more information on Chris, visit his website chrisbenchetler.com.
For more information on Nimbus, visit their site: NimbusIndependent.com
About the author:
Shay Williams is the Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He loves cheeseburgers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sweden. He's likely on a plane right now—first class only.