From the backcountry to Mt. Hood and everywhere in-between, Spyder Freeski athlete Quinn Wolferman has been fortunate to be able to continue honing his trade during the past 5 months. We hopped on a zoom call (as is the way of the world these days) and talked about new hobbies, recent trips and a newfound appreciation of skiing. Here’s what he had to say.
Spyder - Walk us through what you had setup and how your plans changed throughout the end of spring and into the summer with everything going on.
Quinn – Honestly, it was a bit heart wrenching at first, because I had some fun stuff lined up. I was pretty hyped up, with a few new contests and trips planned. I wanted to have a solid spring and finish the year strong but when things started getting more serious it was easy to see the importance of shutting it all down.
So, appreciating that it was necessary, I made the conscious decision to stay at home. However, a little dream of mine kind of came true. I have spent so much time in Utah after moving there and always looked at the Wasatch range and hadn’t really been able to ski it that much. I was able to bag a bunch of peaks and ski a bunch of spring storms with some smaller groups of people. I was kind of tentative about the whole thing and really wanted to do my part and I was able to get out in a safe way with the same crew. We went out with the mindset that we didn’t want to stress the healthcare system anymore during that time and kept things safe, but we were able to ski some super fun snow. I was able to try some new skis and got in really great shape just from hiking and backcountry skiing so much.
S - Do you see yourself skiing more backcountry in the future?
Q - Yeah, I definitely hope to spend more time in the backcountry filming. I have a sled now and looking into building out a van or truck to be able to travel to film a bit more. You know as far as contests go, things are still on hold right now and I’m not sure how much world traveling we will be doing. We will see but yeah, in the near future I imagine I will be spending more time in the backcountry.
S - Did you have any big realizations or AH-HA type moments during your downtime?
Q - You know I don’t think I had any moments where I had any breakthroughs with skiing or anything like that. I think I was actually able to do the opposite and my brain was able to shutoff a little bit and let my body rest. I almost felt a bit guilty because I was in such a relaxed situation and I understand that most of the country wasn’t in the same boat. I had to be ok with almost doing nothing for a little while, which really isn’t easy for me. I took a lot of time for myself and reached out to some of the people I appreciate having in my circle the most. I spoke to the President of Armada, Hans, for some guidance and he was like, ‘Don’t worry about it, there is plenty of skiing in the future and you will get back to it soon enough. Take it for what it is and do your part.’ So apart from backcountry skiing I did a few self-projects to re-ground a bit like stretching and sewing.
S - Did you just say sewing? What kind of sewing were you doing? Is that a new hobby?
Q - It is something I have dabbled in for the last couple years. I just actually got a new sewing machine from my grandmother. I don’t want to really make anything from scratch necessarily, but I really enjoy taking stuff that I kind of like and making it something I really like. It is fun to take something you don’t wear anymore and make it something different and new.
S - Was this the longest gap in skiing you have had since you can remember?
Q - Aside from some minor injuries where it is mandatory time off to heal, I would say this is the biggest gap I have taken off. But at the same time, I was lucky to be able to tour and ski more than 3 days a week. There was a ton of snow in the Wasatch this year, so I was able to ski into the summer.
S - Mount Hood opened mid-June, did you head out there then to get back to hitting jumps and rails right away?
Q - You know I wasn’t really even planning on going out there to begin with. I kind of thought it could close before I even got out there. But I headed out and I felt really, really lucky to get on a chairlift and to even take turns up there. So, to be able to ski a full terrain park and ride a lift in July was an absolute blessing.
S - What was the scene like out at Mount Hood this year compared to other years?
Q - Honestly it was so much of the same but also so different. It was interesting not having all the camps up there. And it seemed like all those seasonal jobs around government camp weren’t there as much anymore because people weren’t really traveling. Once you got onto the volcano though it was pretty much the same other than masks in the lift line. It was super mellow. We got 8 days of beautiful weather.
S - Was the park scaled down at all?
Q - Not really, it was full size and really had the same awesome setup as last year. It was pretty awesome. There is plenty of skiing to be had up there. It was really fun, and Timberline is doing a really good job. It is incredible to be able to lap a rope tow and cruise the lift lines with everything going on. It felt super safe as far as Covid and they are doing an amazing job managing it.
S - Did you get any new tricks going, or were you really just getting everything back together?
Q - You know it is funny, the first day I was like holy cow I don’t know how to ski in the park and I actually slammed my very first run. I was in the race lane and I had brand new edges and just laid down a turn and slipped out and scraped my face. And I was just like ok, this is where we are at. But I ended up getting some solid shots and some new grabs on some tricks I already had but nothing to new.
S - Can expect some new edits coming out?
Q - Yeah, definitely expect some awesome clips coming out from my buddy Andrew AKA @hotlapsofficial. There should be some clips coming out on monsters Instagram. We also have been talking about making a full video. Who knows if we will be able to get enough footage but we definitely got some quality shots out on Mt. Hood.
S - I’m sure it felt good to get back to filming a little bit.
Q - Yeah, I got a decent amount of footage this spring that I didn’t do much with. There was and still is so much going on right now in the world and at the time me posting videos of skiing wasn’t going to change the world. So, it is nice to be able to get back to a little bit more of normalcy. We still obviously have a long way to go and things are up in the air. I feel lucky to have skiing as an escape for me. Mental health is a huge piece to all of this as well and I think a lot of people have been dealing with their own battles and I feel lucky to have had skiing as an escape for me during all of this. I know not everyone has been able to have that but finding that piece of normalcy in all of this is important. As long as it can be done safely.
S - What are you up to next?
Q - As far as ski plans go, you don’t really want to make any super long-term plans. We don’t know what countries we are going to be able to go to and what not. I’m looking to collaborate with a bunch of people I respect and hopefully gain some knowledge with them. I’m stoked to continue skiing in the backcountry and seeing what contests can happen this year to keep pushing my skiing that way but like a lot of things, it is a bit up in the air so just happy to be able to get out there and we will see.
I feel lucky that what I like to do for fun is all outside and can keep doing most of it. I just hope people can keep going skiing and get after it this upcoming season. People are excited and want to get out and get back to normal but it’s important to take a step back and understand how we can all treat each other respectfully during this time.
S - Be sure to take a look at Quinn's mellow quarantine edit here: