Destinationbetween with Michelle Parker
First off, what do you do?
I am a professional big mountain skier.
You live a life pretty much always moving. What does home mean for you
I've been a professional skier for nearly 20 years. My job requires me to be on the move and travel to the mountains near and far. It's an incredible privilege to get to call this work and to experience travel in such unique ways. I love seeing new mountains and the family that you create while being in them. Home to me is where I can rejuvenate, find routine, rest and spend valuable time with my friends and family.
When you're on the road there’s always so many temptations. Do you have any tips on how to focus when you need to get the boring stuff done?
I honestly am on the road for work nearly 100% of the time and work happens to generally be really fun so I don't find much time to be bored or get distracted. I have purpose and it gives me interest, stoke, passion and that's what makes it so engaging.
What do you always bring on your travels?
I always bring a camera! I love capturing moment in between, images of the places I get to see and all of the new friends I get to meet.
What would you tell yourself as a teenager?
Find your truth and live it out.
Which is your favorite destination?
Haha, home! I love when I get to be in Lake Tahoe and fully dive into the experience of being in one place for an extended amount of time. It's so special and rare to me to have time at home that it makes it really important. Aside from being home, Alaska has a special place in my heart. The mountains are pure magic and it's such a wondrous place filled with so many fantastic adventures.
What would you tell people who would like to follow your path?
I think a lot of people think that professional skiers have this gifted life and get to be on vacation at all times when in reality it's a lot of hard work. I certainly wouldn't be here without that hard work. There are many days when you sit in front of your computer and have a 9-5 like most people. There are times when you have to sacrifice a lot to be on the road. There are moments of burn out and pure exhaustion, but on the flip side it is an incredible occupation and I would not trade it for anything. I just think it's important to remind people who want to do this that it is an occupation and that requires a lot of hard work. You are an independent contractor with zero benefits putting your life and body on the line...thus it takes sacrifice and a lot of motivation.
Have you studied?
I became a professional freeskier while in high school and I delayed college to pursue this passion which quickly became a full time job. Since then I have studied at our local community college because I love to learn, but I've found that learning through my work has been better than formal education in my field. As a professional athlete in this day and age you can learn a new skill set, chase other aspects of the job and learn a lot by doing. For example, I've now been a part of or produced countless films and feel pretty darn competent in that line of work. It's been a rad base line of a job that lets you get creative and explore other aspects of the outdoor industry in any way shape or form that you chose.
What was your first job?
I worked at a pottery painting shop in Tahoe City and we basically got to do art with clients, kids and families for fun. It was an awesome first job.
Which stuff brings creativity to you?
I am mega inspired by the mountains, but I also love to balance that passion with live music, playing music, photography and film to always stir my creative side and bring other aspects of life into my world view.
Do you have any packing trick that you use while always on the move?
Keep it simple. You don't need what you don't bring.
How are you experiencing the development in Womens skiing and snowboarding?
When I first started as a professional skier, I didn't even know that being a female professional skier was an option. There were so few of us at the time and so few that came before, I didn't think it was a very viable option. So I guess that is to say that I've seen our sport grow in so many ways. This is totally a viable option now and to see the level of sport progress is so incredibly inspiring, especially having been there from nearly the start.
Did you ever forget to pack your boots going on a trip?
Sheesh! I've forgotten them while going to the hill, but never on a trip. That would be bad!
If not your boots, ever forgot to pack something else that would have been good to have?
I feel like this happens on occasion, but at this point I also feel pretty dialed with my packing strategy especially on trips where you are dependent on everything that you bring. Like when you go into big mountains and you have to have certain things to make that experience more comfortable...you can't really forget certain items.
If you could be a professional in anything, what would you choose?
Hard question as I am super happy doing what I am doing right now.