In free skiing, glory goes to those who push the envelope.
One of the most notable names for expanding the boundaries of the sport is Sammy Carlson. Born in Tigard and groomed on the slopes of Mt. Hood Meadows, Carlson now resides in Revelstoke, British Columbia, where the 29-year-old is fond of the seemingly endless powder days. But he's known for more than just smoothly carving soft snow—in 2010, he landed the first triple cork on skis, a feat previously thought impossible.
But even the most extreme athletes sometimes get bored.
In 2014, the X Games multimedalist decided to step away from formal competition to seek out new thrills off preset slopes. Carlson's adventures in backcountry skiing are the subject of the 2015 film The Sammy C Project. The documentary, by Teton Gravity Research, recaps Carlson's stellar career, while also highlighting some of the best places to ski in the world.
"Some of my favorite segments include a trip to Michigan where I jumped a Nordic ski jump [Copper Peak] that pushed me to the limits. That will always be a highlight of my career," Carlson says. "I also enjoyed shooting the segment in Alaska. It's always exciting to get in the helicopter and pretty much ski whatever you desire. The terrain in Alaska is as steep and gnarly as it gets, it's always fun to put your skills to the test up there. We fly with some of the best helicopter pilots in the world up there. For me, that's half the fun—flying around in the heli looking for the perfect line."
The Sammy C Project will screen locally Friday, Oct.19, as part of the third annual Snowvana festival, which kicks off the winter sports season at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Along with several other film screenings, you can score crazy deals on gear from local vendors, catch concerts from local luminaries such as Mic Capes and Cedar Teeth, chug beers from 10 Barrel and meet Olympians such as teenage snowboarding phenom Red Gerard and freestyle skier Maddie Bowman.
The festival will also bring Carlson back home to the Portland area for a meet-and-greet. Even after traveling the world, Carlson says Oregon will always hold a special place for him, in his life and career. Heck, you might even see him back up on Hood later this year.
"I can't tell you exactly my favorite runs, but there are a handful of runs I enjoy coming home for the holidays and ripping," he says. "It brings me back to my early days as a skier. I also enjoy summer skiing at Timberline on the glacier. I got to say the ultimate run in Oregon is off the summit back to the parking lot."
GO: Snowvana is at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 300 N Winning Way, snowvana.com. 5-10:30 pm Friday, noon-10 pm Saturday, Oct. 19-20. See websites for tickets and a complete schedule.