Parents worry about their kids. So when Andy Mahre told his parents he wanted to become a professional freestyle skier, they were concerned to say the least.
The Washington native grew up in Yakima and was practically raised on the slopes at White Pass. He comes from an illustrious family of skiers—his father went on to become an Olympic medalist—and was introduced to skiing at just two years old.
By age 15, he made the decision to become a professional skier. “My family was very supportive but there was some skepticism when I was first getting my name out there and working my way into the industry,” he says. “These guys weren’t making a lot of money or making a living in the freestyle world.”
Mahre eventually put his family’s worries to bed when he launched into pro status in 2005 after a groundbreaking performance in a Matchstick Productions ski film. The film documented his groundbreaking skills riding switch (backwards) along long mountain switch lines. These switch monster drops went on to become his signature move. This year he appears in the new Warren Miller film Wintervention.
“I’m definitely happy with the route I chose,” Mahre says. “I don’t really have a long term goal right now. I’m just trying to achieve them as they come. One thing’s for sure: I’d like to keep skiing for as long as I can.”
These days, this K2 Factory Team member spends his time slope hopping and filming the world’s gnarliest freestyle footage. He has traveled as far as Chile, India, Japan and Europe and is co-founder of Nimbus Independent, the indie film company that is rider owned and operated.
“It’s an honor to have people call me up and want me to ski for them,” he says. “But now that it’s my job, I almost expect it. Eight to ten years ago it would have been a surprise, now it’s what I do year after year.”
Mahre says he is excited to experience, film and watch the rebirth of freestyle skiing where today’s powder bunnies want bigger jumps, higher drops and high speed, backwards skiing. And Mahre is ready to deliver. He has had the broken limbs, back and wrists to prove it.
In his downtime, Mahre is at home in Naches, Washington, between Yakima and White Pass. For the upcoming 2010-2011 season, he hopes to bring the filming back home. “There’s definitely never been a film or documentary in my own back yard,” he says. “I’d love to spend some time in White Pass and Chinook Pass because the slip between the two passes is just a couple miles away from my house.”
Here is the gear you will see this world-class freestyle skier using this season.
GOGGLES: Electric EG. “These goggles have a bigger frame and different lenses with a wider peripheral view,” he says.
HELMET: K2 Rant Pro Helmet.
JACKET: Sessions Logo, Progression. “I pick up different jackets for all the different seasons and terrains,” he says.
BASE LAYER: “It’s weather-dependent but I usually wear wool,” he says. “If it’s not quite as cold, I’ll wear a polyester Dakine base layer.”
GLOVES: Dakine Viper and Cobra gloves.
PANTS: Sessions Gridlock and Zoom. “I prefer to have more waterproof all year round,” he says.
SOCKS: Dakine socks.
BOOTS: Tecnica Agent 110. “These boots fit my feet right out of the box,” he says. “I’ve never had to get any work done and having to do boot work isn’t really that fun. It takes time and you really have to endure a lot of pain.”
BINDINGS: Marker Jester and Duke Bindings.
SKIS: “I’d say I probably have 20 pairs or something around here,” he says. “I only ski the new product, but some skis have sentimental value, or are a rare prototype ski, so I hold onto them. The K2 Hellbent skis are my powder attacker for the deepest days.”
POLES: The V 12 Factory Ski Pole was made for factory team more or less, he says.
BACKPACK: Dakine tactic backpack.
ACCESSORIES: Skull candy low rider headphone
SNOWMOBILE: Yamaha Apex Mountains