In between signing new sponsorship deals, starring in Warren Miller flicks, and taking home top honors at Eye of the Condor 2 in Chile, I managed to carve out a little phone time with Kaylin so that I could give ya’ll an update on her crazy life. Here’s a little bit of what I learned.
For those unfortunate folks who don’t follow your crazy life closely, what’ve you been up to since the UMG?
I’ve pretty much been trying to extend the UMG experience into a lifestyle. I fell in love with Canyons and the Wasatch Range two winters ago and haven’t left since. It has taken me by surprise how much the mountains have come to mean to my post-ski racing career. They are my happy place.
You’re now a freeskier. How the heck did you get into that?
Even while I was racing, I’ve always had an unspoken hope that I would get to be a part of the big mountain community. I love Warren Miller, Matchstick, TGR etc. When I watch skiers take big lines on huge mountains I get filled with excitement. All I can think is – I want that. Kind of like the kid on the team that is always chanting, “put me in coach!” I feel like I have something unique to contribute and luckily this past season things seemed to fall into place. It was like it was meant to be.
What’s the biggest difference between the life of a ski racer and freeskier?
The room for interpretation. In ski racing there are parameters that dictate where you go, what terrain you have to adapt to and how fast you can go. I love the simplicity of whoever gets down the quickest wins, but for me, the concept of looking at an entire face and choosing what looks like the most fun/rad line is pretty thrilling. Ski racing gave me so much and I am grateful for every moment, but I enjoy skiing in an arena where tenths of a second don’t matter. Ski racing is a very calculated endeavor and it takes serious skill and determination. I will forever revere my fellow ski racers. However, I believe the power, joy and creativity of the sport are translated more organically in freeskiing and I look forward to exploring that.
What was it like competing in your first competition at Snowbird and actually coming away with the win?
I decided to ski in the comp a while ago. I had heard that it’s a big party on the final day with a bunch of people watching below North Baldy and I thought, “worst comes to worst, I will get to watch some killer skiing.” I truly had no expectations. My main goal was to get through qualifying so that I got to ski Silverfox all on my own on Day One. I had been eyeing North Chute all winter and couldn’t wait to have it all to myself. The plan was to ski fast with good flow. And I guess I did. Going into Day Two I just wanted to ski a clean run. At the top I was nervous, but even more so I was exhausted. It had been a very long week. When I came into the finish and it was determined that I’d won, I was super psyched. It was a completely different kind of challenge than ski racing which was extremely refreshing. During the awards I got my second wind and could finally relish in the win. It was pretty fun to be in the crowd hearing people right next to me murmur to their neighbor, “Who is this Kaylin girl?”
You’re a star in Flow State, this year’s Warren Miller flick. What was that like? Was it a dream come true?
A star? I don’t know if I would go that far! I got into Warren Miller through the back door and luckily they liked having me around. Originally, I was only supposed to film for a few days. But then Josh Haskins and Chris Patterson generously asked me to join them for the whole shoot. I was beyond thrilled. Like every other ski enthusiast, for me, Warren Miller movies are a yearly tradition. Blake, Julian and Keely are my dear friends and we had a ball shredding around Canyons, laughing the entire time! There were definitely moments of tedium, but having to nail a shot is a really cool challenge. The pressure of precision keeps you sharp. Even if I never embark on another filming adventure with Warren Miller I will feel so lucky that I had the chance to be part of that legacy.
I noticed you’re making turns on new sticks. Icelantic’s if I’m not mistaken? How’d that work out and what’ve they got in the works for you? Maybe a signature ski?
I am SO stoked to be the newest member of Team Icey. After Snowbird I had the pleasure of meeting Team Manager, Scotty VerMerris. Icelantic’s ideology and mine seemed to perfectly align. And they happened to be looking for a female skier. It truly was kismet. They are such an amazingly innovative, passionate group of people that are committed to positively contributing to this industry. And their skis are fantastic. I have only been on them since this spring, but I continue to be blown away by the quality of their product. Snappy, stable, durable, fun, fast, powerful, maneuverable, versatile…. each ski in the line is constructed to last. I recently was riding on the Nomad RKRs and the Shamans. So. Much. Fun. No signature ski yet, but they are committed to helping me secure more filming opportunities which is awesome.
Eye of the Condor 2 . . . tell us about it? What was the best part?
There was not a single best moment. This was the first time anyone on my team had filmed together so every day we learned more about each other and La Parva. When and where to film were particularly crucial due to the lack of snow. Each day we figured out how to collaborate more productively and creatively. And every night we had a fabulous time thanks the to the incredible hospitality of La Parva. They really rolled out the red carpet for us!
It was a truly magical experience. I am banged up, bruised and exhausted, but there are very few weeks in my life that were more amazing. Sure, the snow was not epic, but getting up each day with such a fantastic group of people and working with them to create something so special in a setting so awe-inspiringly beautiful? I think that is what’s called “living the dream.” I come from a fairly different background than a lot of the skiers at EOTC2 and have had some incredible moments in the mountains, but there was something especially intangible about this event – a collective energy that was buzzing the entire week. Everyone’s competitive nature might have been the catalyst, but it was the shared love, respect and pursuit of joy that made it truly unique.
Looking ahead to winter, what do you have planned?
I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Canyons because I love sharing what this resort has with others. It is not just the killer terrain, but also the people, their friendliness and the attention to detail. It sounds hokey, but it really is a special place. On top of that, I hope to film more in the big mountains. My goal over the next three years is to put together some impressive footage that will cause people to murmur to their neighbor, “That Kaylin girl. Man, she can really ski.”
Give Kaylin and Team Icelantic a vote and help them bring home the Eye of the Condor 2 People’s Choice Award. Not because I told you to. But because they deserve it – http://www.skinet.com/skiing/content/eotc-peoples-choice-video-voting