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The Truth: Seth Morrison

On nerves, patience, and smooth lines.
posted: 08/18/2006
Waiting for the boat - Seth morrison mans Alaska's Bella Coola harbor.

Seth Morrison redefined the freeskiing scene in 1993 when the then 19-year-old bombed down Crested Butte's Body Bag, a burly face full of cliffs — on 210 Olin GS skis, no less — and won the U.S. National Extremes. In the 13 years since, he's been filmed by nearly every production company, pioneered lines in Canada's Coast and Alaska's Chugach ranges, and become synonymous with the word "freeskier.

STANDING ON TOP OF A LINE for more than an hour in a howling storm, waiting for a break in the weather on an area about the size of a coffee table, makes you pretty scared. The longer you wait, the worse it gets. So you focus on what it's going to feel like after you drop in.

TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER a storm is the most dangerous time. I'll tiptoe around the mountains until I get that good feeling. Then I charge.

I MOVED TO COLORADO IN 1984 and ski raced at Vail. My mom was a surgical nurse, and Dad didn't pay child support. I dropped out of downhill racing because it was too expensive.

FAT SKIS ARE CHANGING PEOPLE'S LIVES.

THE MORE YOU KNOW, the more you wish you didn't know: avalanches, people dying, the waiting around, helicopter crashes. That's just the way it is. Before it can get good, it's got to be shitty.

WE DON'T JUST SHOW UP at a place and start banging huge lines right off the bat.

ALL SUMMER I MOUNTAIN BIKE. I ride five to six days a week and nearly went pro. I've learned a lot about working out, training hard.

IF YOU'RE DOING THIS for business, you are not doing it for the right reasons.

I CAN'T IMAGINE what kind of skier I'd be if I grew up now. We had to hit natural features when I was a kid.

THREE YEARS AGO IN NORWAY, I pulled a back flip off of a 100-footer—one of the biggest jumps I've done. There was a slight wind. I couldn't get my skis around and exploded on the landing. One of my most epic moments, and it was totally overlooked. If you don't stick it, they forget about you.

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