The Sam Smoothy interview
Interview med freeride stjernen Sam Smoothy
At Skiers.dk we have had a little talk with the freeride star Sam Smoothy, who finished 4th at the latest Freeride World Tour.
Hey Sam! You are a well-known person within the freeride ski world. But can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
I am Sam Smoothy from New Zealand, 26 years old, Freeride World Tour competitor, live in Europe most of the northern winter in mainly Verbier and Chamonix, love leather jackets, tattoos and rock an roll, skiing as fast as I can and taking my Grandma out for lunch.
How did you get into freeride skiing?
Treble Cone, where I grew up skiing in Wanaka, does not have that many pistes so a lot of skiing is offpiste and it was a progression of just racing round jumping of everything we could and some we shouldn’t and just getting on to bigger an bigger features. All the while trying to get practicing fast, aggressive alpine turns because I was still racing. And then I did a junior competition and realized that this was all some people did ski wise, and it got me pondering. And here I am.
Can you remember how it was, when you realized that you could become a professional freeride skier?
Ah yip, because it was not that long ago. I had always hoped I could turn pro and had put in a number of years of huge effort at making it happen, but I was also realistic. Turning pro does not happen for everyone no matter how hard you try.
I have recently signed a new large sponsor and another great deal with Volkl skis and it looks like it’s finally happened. It is hard to grasp though and probably won’t sink in until winter is in full swing with lots of new opportunities.
Can you enjoy a sunny day in the park hitting rails and jumps or would you rather stick to skiing lines?
My ideal is skiing powder lines for sure but I just love skiing in all its forms. I can have fun skiing icy gates, shredding park lanes, whatever is the best on that day. I think coming from NZ you have to learn to make it fun whatever the snow is like.
How is it to compete in the Freeride World Tour with the best freeriders from all over the world?
It is like belonging to the craziest circus in the world, all travelling from one epic face to another around the world, wanting to win but wanting you competitors to ski well too. Its just nuts and I am very happy and honoured to be a part of it.
What are your expectations for next years FWT?
To be honest with the merger of the Freeskiing and Freeride World Tours, I am staying away from having set expectations. The merger is totally the right move but there is still a lot of how this will all work, what judging systems and such will be, how all these skiers I know very little about will ski but I do expect one thing. That its going to be the greatest FWT to date and one hell of a show. I plan on sticking to my guns of full throttle skiing but will also look to surprise a few people by mixing it up with some new stuff I have been working on. So if I was a freeride fan I would be watching every show live and if not, possible tuning in online as Im pretty sure its going to be all live streamed.
Which competition has been the most amazing competition to compete in?
I think for me the Swatch Skiers Cup was the best competition I have done so far. I had wanted to go to Chile for as long as I can remember, my parents climbed there back in the day, and I got to explore such a beautiful country and people. Then all the guys from the Skiers Cup were just the most fun to hang out with and I got lots of new friends, we surfed two epic days at Punta de Lobos, partied in Santiago, cocktails in our rooftop 5 star hotel, it was all just so nectar!! And my captain Sverre picked me to lead out the team and take down the American captain Cody Townsend which was huge, that he had that much confidence in me. Really really want to keep being a part of this amazing competition.
Credit: SWATCH SKIERS CUP / Dom DaherCredit: SWATCH SKIERS CUP / Pierre Morel
Credit: SWATCH SKIERS CUP / Jérémy Bernard
Injuries are a big part of your sport. Have you ever been thinking for yourself that the risk for some bad injuries, was too big to continue? I don’t really think I have had lots of injuries, I think I have been lucky to only break a lot of bones, never had any big surgeries or horror injuries so knock on wood that continues. But for sure some days out there you can get that feeling of ‘what am I doing here, this is just nuts’ and you have to get in tune with what your inner voice is saying and listen to it because some days it just is not on to send it. Maybe I have had a good lucky run with minor injuries, the ones you have to accept as part of the experience, and missed big ones by listening well.
Who is your inspiration?
I generally always answer Shane McConkey. He was so nice to me when I was in Tahoe. Always fun to ski with and just really showed me how down to earth and fun and real a pro skier can be all the while progressing the sport through his innovations in ski technology, ski techniques, ski base shenanighans, what he did with the IFSA and he was just so good for the sport.
What are your plans for the season?
I’m moving out to Innsbruck for November, to train with the Legs of Steel film crew and then waiting to see where the powder is at for December and going there. Hoping to spend some time in BC, Canada with some friends sledding before the FWT takes over my life in January. Febuary is still being organized but is dedicated wholly to filming and photos. Then its FWT time again for March then AK for Alaska to film before hopefully returning to the big north walls of France and Switzerland in May to put the finishing touches on my filming. Then piss of to Portugal or Morocco or somewhere to hide and surf.
When you have some alone time, what do you spent it on?
I get very little alone time now but when I do I love reading a good book, just finished “A Farewell to Arms” by Earnest Hemingway in front of my fire at home.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Go Skiing Instead…
At the end – Something you are stoked on right now, and something you’re not so stoked on right now?
Right now I am super stoked on getting some warm days and sunshine at home in Wanaka before leaving in a few days for winter. 4 warm days is a very short summer by anyone’s standard so little bummed about that and leaving my family so much earlier this year but that’s the game.
Thanks alot Sam and good luck with your season!