New To Ski

About Travis McCullough

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Role Ski Writer

Experience

Like most other natives of western Colorado, Travis learned to ski before mastering the art of walking. His life as a professional ski bum revolves around chasing winter storms and discovering new terrain all throughout the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains. His eclectic resume of ski industry jobs includes rental shop management, retail ski distribution, and freelance writing. During the summer, Travis spends his time traveling the US from coast to coast in search of new fishing holes and live music.

Q&A

What First Sparked Your Interest In Skiing and How Did You Get Into It?

I grew up in a small mountain town whose economy relies on ski tourism, so ski culture was ingrained into the community. My amazing mom enrolled me in lessons at a local ski resort, Loveland Ski Area when I was very young. As long as there was snow on the ground, my friends and I spent all of our free time on the mountain growing up. Years later I started working at the same resort where I learned to ski.

What Is Your Favorite Type of Terrain to Ski On and Why?

I would consider myself a big mountain skier, I’m always on the hunt for steep and deep backcountry lines that I don’t have to share with the masses. Nothing quite rivals the feeling of satisfaction that you get bombing untouched powder after spending half a day skinning, boot packing, and traversing your way to the top of a mountain with a couple of close friends.

What Has Been Your Most Memorable Skiing Experience and Why?

My first-day backcountry skiing Chicago Ridge, just outside of Leadville, CO, no question. It took a while to get all the proper A/T and avalanche gear together on a resort employee's salary, but that made the experience all that much better in the end. I was lucky enough to have a good friend with extensive experience in the backcountry, so I got to learn everything about skiing safely while still having a blast.

What Is Your Favorite Ski Resort and Why?

Loveland Ski Area, it’s where I learned how to ski, where I spent all my time growing up, and I eventually worked there for five years. Loveland is a smaller-sized resort, so it maintains an intimate and friendly atmosphere that is lost on larger corporate resorts. The best part of Loveland is the terrain off of the continental divide, which is all accessible by snowcat. The views from the highest run (Golden Bear, 13,010’) are unbeatable.

What Is Your Go-To Ski Gear and Why Do You Love It?

It probably comes as no surprise, but my skis are my go-to piece of equipment, so much so that I own more than one pair of the same model. The Nordica Patron is my all-time favorite ski that I've ever ridden. With a profile of 143-113-135 and a carbon-reinforced poplar/beech core, these bad boys have enough surface area and backbone to float the deepest powder, punch through the toughest crud, and respond with minimal effort all at the same time.

Do You Have Any Ski-Related Goals or Aspirations for the Future? If So, What Are They and How Do You Plan On Achieving Them?

Up until recently, I just wanted to continue to be able to make a living through skiing, but now that I can work remotely I want to ski on all seven continents. North America is the only continent that I've skied on thus far, but the combination of my love for skiing and travel will be just what I need to achieve this new dream of mine.

Do You Have Any Tips or Advice for New Skiers Looking to Improve Their Skills and Enjoy the Sport More?

The best way to become a better skier is to ski with people who are more experienced than you because it will ensure that you are constantly pushing your abilities to the next level. Growing up, I used to be intimidated and embarrassed when I would try to keep up with people who were much better than me. I eventually overcame those feelings and became an exponentially better skier almost overnight.

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