Pushing Peaks with Julian Carr
Julian Carr did not grow up skiing. He did not grow up in the mountains. He grew up like the rest of us playing team sports and enjoying his childhood. That was until he was introduced to adrenaline. Now he is not only the CEO of Discrete, but he is a legend in the action sports industry. He set the world record for cliff jumping on skis at 210 feet and when asked about this feet he gave a cool, calm, and collected response, “it’s a deep meditation and I tap into my connectivity to the mountains. The process to achieve this state is intense though. I have so much fear that I convert reviewing the situation at hand. I don’t obey my fear; I obey the facts. And usually the facts are that it’s a feat that is achievable. I focus on nothing but that. And slowly, that fear becomes confidence in form of awareness.” You will find this daredevil, CEO, and climate change advocate in Salt Lake City, Utah. Here is a preview of our conversation.
Where does your story begin and how did you end up becoming a professional skier?
Julian Carr: My story begins in the streets of Salt Lake City. I skateboarded and played team sports including basketball, soccer, and football throughout my early teens and high school years. It wasn’t until 8th grade when I finally learned how to ski. From the point on, I went about 30 times a winter until college. When I got to college I decided to dedicate myself to skiing in hopes of becoming a professional. Luckily, I was living in Salt Lake City next to some of the best snow in the world. This enabled me to craft that exact life and pursue skiing. The right mix of quality skiing and understanding the business aspect really helped me attain the professional title.
Were you traditionally a park skier or racer?
J.C.: Neither. I immediately was on the hunt for powder, big lines, and airs.
You are clearly bringing a unique style to the table, how would you describe it?
J.C.: I love skiing powder, and with powder come cliffs. I’ve found a trademark. I am comfortable hitting cliffs bigger than most. I love it. My comfort zone has grown and grown, I’m now comfortable with cliffs 200′ feet or more.
Can you tell me three skiers that inspire you and why?
J.C.: Rachael Burks. She’s a savage, super talented and by far, the most fun person to be around in the mountains.
Parker Cook. He’s my wingman, simple as that.
Todd Ligare. Dangerous fella, been with him one too many times watching him pull off way too spicy of moves.
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Can you talk about some of the differences you see as an athlete in the ski industry versus more traditional sports?
J.C.: The logistics to capture our sport is an insane amount of work compared to most other sports. That being said I have to give it up to the photographers and filmers. It’s funny, when a third party group comes in and wants to create some content, but it’s their first go with skiing, they’re so disconnected about what it takes to capture this sport, the fundamentals of safety protocol being the first. You have to have an incredible amount of skill to be out there; cold management, safety precautions, and understanding the mountain to touch on a few. Then throw in the right kind of light you need for the show and the inconsistency of weather and snow quality and it makes for an incredibly hard job.
I don’t obey my fear; I obey the facts. And usually the facts are that it’s a feat that is achievable. I focus on nothing but that. And slowly, that fear becomes confidence in form of awareness.
Photo: Jackson, Wyoming Credit: Wissman
What kind of preparation goes into big mountain skiing?
J.C.: Lots of concentration, but really it’s a mileage and a love thing. If you love skiing and you’re out there everyday, when the cameras come out, it’s all good because you’ve been skiing hard all winter and you’re ready for whatever.
What’s next for you?
J.C.: To ski as much as possible and have a big smile along the way.
How much of a presence has social media changed skiing and how much time do you have to put into it?
J.C.: I see it as an extension of your personality, so to me, it’s not really a time equation, it’s just having an authentic voice. I decided to view it as a tool and have fun with it, just like I would represent myself in real life.
Photo: Las Lenas, Argentina Credit: Wissman
Outside of skiing, what are some of your other aspirations?
J.C.: I fell in love with mountain running in the offseason and created the Peak Series, a 4-race series with 15K in cash and 15K in prizes for all the podium finishers, the concept is short distance with max elevation gain, and bagging an iconic peak and back down. We just wrapped up our first year and now we are already planning and strategizing for next season.
As a skier how involved are you in the issue of climate change and sustainability?
J.C.: I’m an ambassador for Protect Our Winters and Climate Reality Project. It’s about acknowledging the current infrastructure is anchored into trillions of dollars of revenue annually. There is too big of an undercurrent of greed and suppression of viable infrastructure energy alternatives. I pride myself on being a POW and Climate Reality ambassador because I’m on the front lines of educating myself to be a part of the action group that is thinking, raising awareness, and visibility to these infrastructure problems. I know a popular thing to say about a pro athlete that is an advocate is that we’re not helping with our constant travel on airplanes and helicopters, but it’s irrelevant to an actual solution. The solution is new infrastructure, being a part of an action group.