All Images: Jake Terry
Kendall Goodman may be a rookie on the Freeride World Tour (FWT) this year, but his creative and aggressive style is that of a seasoned veteran. Hailing from Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, Alta and Snowbird have been this young phenom’s training grounds for years, like many past and present FWT competitors, including mainstay Andrew Pollard.
After a relocation to Verbier for the first stop due to conditions, Goodman left it all out on the Petit Bec and walked away with an 8th-place finish—the highest-ranking American in the men’s ski category. Coming into this season, Goodman is also rocking a new ski sponsor, so we caught up with the young gun to talk about the tour, joining the Fischer team, and what he’s looking forward to achieving this season and for years to come. Keep reading for the full Q&A below.
First off, how are you? Where are you currently between Freeride World Tour stops?
I’m good! I’m back home in Utah, I’ve been here for two days now. I had a good day of skiing yesterday, and I’m taking today off to do some physical therapy and go to the gym. It looks like we’ve got some snow rolling in this weekend and next week, so I’m stoked about that. Hopefully, I can get some filming done between comps.
This season has been less than ideal for early-season on-snow training, how did you prepare for your first year on the tour?
I think it all started in the summer, grinding in the gym five days a week to get as strong as I could going into the year. I tore my quad tendon before the first challenger comp at the end of last season, and so there has been a lot of PT and stuff to get that back to where I needed it to be. I thought I had fully recovered, but unfortunately, I redid it the second week of skiing this year. So I’ve just been focusing on that, trying to keep the body feeling good while also trying to ski as much as possible and have as much fun as I can every day that I’m out there.
Due to conditions, Veriber ended up being the first stop for this season, what was it like dropping into the Petit Bec for your very first competition run?
It was sick! Honestly, people had hyped it up quite a bit to make it seem really big and scary. The full Bec no doubt needs to be respected—it is big, and it is scary—but I guess I had just heard so much going into it that when I actually saw the Petit Bec, I kind of thought this is just a mountain like any other mountain. It is big, and it is steep, but I was more stoked than anything because there were so many fun-looking options (to ski), a lot to choose from, and steep landings, which is nice, and that was probably the only place in the whole valley that had good snow, so I was excited.
What is one thing that has surprised you about the Freeride World Tour?
Maybe the looseness of everything? I think everyone knows that skiing, in general, freeride particularly, can be a pretty loose sport. A lot of last-minute changes and dealing with outside factors. I guess I expected it to be a little tighter at the top and more official but definitely still a lot of last-minute changes and going with the flow. But it’s sick, I’m glad the tour is able to still be flexible at this level or we would have had no comps yet.
You have such a unique steeze on your skis, how is your new partnership with Fischer serving your specific ski style?
Looking at Fischer—especially compared to K2, where I came from—maybe a jibby, fun ski isn’t the first thing people think of, but the Ranger is actually super fun for me because it’s right in between a stiff, no-nonsense directional ski and a playful buttery twin-tip. It’s a longer, more directional shape, but it’s also a little softer and more playful in the flex profile, and I’ve found that to be a lot of fun. Being a big, tall guy, I need a lot of tip to land on but I also don’t want to be skiing on a 2×4, so it’s a super fun happy medium, and I think we have a lot of really cool stuff in the pipeline that is only going to improve that. I’m really stoked to see what the next few years have in store.
What are your go-to Fischer setups?
For competing and really any skiing on soft snow, I primarily ride the Ranger 116. That’s the widest of the Ranger line, which is the big-mountain freeride line. And then I also ski the Ranger 108 in the resort when it’s more hardpack. Those two are primarily what I’m on, but I also just got the two new Nightstick skis, which are the park line that they’ll be building out for the next few years. I have the 97 and the 104. The 97 is my park ski and I’ve been having a ton of fun on that, and then the 104 I haven’t gotten to ski as much yet but I think I’ll be using that this spring for jump sessions and cruisy laps at Snowbird.
Aside from the tour, do you have any other plans this season with the Fischer team?
Nothing with the Fischer team in particular, but my homies and I are going to be filming a project with a bunch of the Utah guys, so that’ll be a lot of fun. Next year I’ll do more with Fischer in terms of ski development and some trips with the team.
Any teammates you’re itching to get out and ski with?
Yeah! I think all of the European team, especially the Nightstick-centric team. They have a bunch of super sick park skiers that I’d be really happy to ski with.
What kind of snacks do you stash in your pack for a backcountry day?
Well this last FWT I had a bottle of water and a chocolate croissant. If I’m going touring through, I like to keep it simple and honestly just bring bread and salami, bread and meat all day [laughs].
What does the perfect ski day look like to you?
I feel like there are so many different ways I could go with this. Ideally, the perfect dream ski day would be in a helicopter in Alaska with some of my closest friends and a cameraman with great snow and just stacking sick clips in amazing terrain. But at the same time, just skiing Alta in the springtime with all your friends around is about as perfect as it gets for me.