When Sammy Carlson was in the eighth grade, he wrote a list of lifetime goals that his mom, Judy, still has today. One was to become a pro skier. Another was to win X Games gold. At age 12 or 13, Carlson was on his way to becoming a paid athlete and years later, he not only won X Games slopestyle gold, but three consecutive X Games Real Ski Backcountry gold medals, too, among dozens of other accolades. Carlson’s sheer determination to succeed coupled with his passion for skiing have led him to the far reaches of the globe. Everywhere he roams, he seems to find the deepest snow and the steepest lines, which he skis with a trademarked fluidity and grace that have earned him abundant media exposure and a throng of passionate fans. So, amid all of that powder-pillaging, what have been some of his lasting impressions? We discuss.
HOMETOWN: Revelstoke, BC
SPONSORS: Oakley, Armada, Monster, Dakine, Marker Bindings
The last thing I did before speaking with FREESKIER today... was go surfing on the Oregon coast. It was decent.
The last thing I laughed about so hard that it made my stomach hurt… was probably watching @Kookslams’ Instagram videos… particularly the one with the kite-surfer who just gets lifted into outer space then slammed into oblivion.
The last time I screamed for complete and utter joy while skiing… I came out of the white room to see the most epic, dreamy spine line right below me. I just started hooting on the way down. I couldn’t help myself, it was picture perfect. You can hear me screaming quite loudly via my head cam.
The last time I really scared myself skiing… I was on top of some “gnar” terrain and I skied into a spine line with too much speed. As soon as I came over the rollover, everything was way steeper and fluted than I expected. I was able to self-arrest just in time, using my pole handles like an ice-axe and digging them into the side of the face. Once I stopped, I was staring down a run that I wanted nothing to do with. Eventually, I was able to sneak off the wall and avoid a big tumble.
One powder day that stands out in my mind that just seemed to last, and last and last… was not a single day, but actually more like living a powder dream that spanned about one full month, circa 2009. Dylan Hood and I got so damn lucky. We spent a week in Utah. It was the deepest snow I’d ever skied at that point. After a week of that, we went straight to Jackson and it was even deeper. For two full weeks we skied bottomless pow, all day long. One day, I woke up early to see another foot of fresh on the porch. I looked over at Dylan and just started laughing out loud. I couldn’t believe it was real life. At one point, the hill [at Jackson] was completely empty and untracked. I guess all the locals needed a break so Dylan and I just shredded epic pow directly beneath the gondola for the rest of the week. Then we went to Oregon for a week and it was just as deep, even you can even believe that.
One of the last untapped skiing locales… is Zipper Creek, in Alaska.
The last time someone did something incredibly kind for me… they let me borrow their car so I could visit a friend while my truck was in the shop. Thanks, Kiki!
The last thing I always pack before going on a ski trip… is hopefully my toothbrush. I am really good at waiting ‘till the last possible minute to pack… I’ve got it down to around 15 to 20 minutes for international trips. Short trips, I’m ready to roll in 5 to 10.
If someone was living their last day on Earth, I’d tell ‘em to go skiing at… Retallack Lodge, because the skiing is super fun and the staff creates such a fun atmosphere back at the lodge. It’s the kind of place all skiers should experience.
The last person I called on the phone… was my bro. He’s pretty stoked, he’s a father now.
The last time I was upset… was today, actually. I got a speeding ticket going 80 in a 55.
The last book I read… was The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, by Don Miguel Ruiz. I was re-reading it.
One thing I remember from the “last dance” in middle school… was the teachers walking around with rulers to make sure the boys weren’t getting too close to the ladies.
The last ski movie I watched that got me really damn stoked… was Sherpas’ Into The Mind. Callum [Pettit] and Kye [Petersen]’s segment was next level. Maybe the best big-mountain skiing ever?
Last Christmas, I asked for… a hot blonde. My mom could only find me a Barbie Doll.
After a long day of skiing, the last man standing is always… me.
One last question… Where will it snow the most this year? British Columbia!
Oakley Line Miner (Sammy Carlson Pro) — $160
Complete with a cylindrical PRIZM Torch Iridium lens, providing a swaggin’ mirrored effect and also clarity and definition in all light conditions, and also Razor Red Camo on the straps and frame, this goggle is bad to the bone. A close-to-face fit provides rockin’ peripheral and downward vision so that when you go to drop gargantuan pillow lines like Carlson himself, you’ll have a great view of all that lies below you.