This week, Colorado's Silverton Mountain, on off-the-grid ski area with just one chairlift and a helicopter, announced the formation of the ski area's first freeride team. But here's the catch: So far, there's just one athlete on that team, and it's big-mountain skier and BASE jumper Suz Graham. "It's going to start off as a one-person team with just Suz," said Silverton's Aaron Brill. "She can rip better than many of the pro guys out there and she fits the Silverton style -- we like skiers who are underrated and underexposed, which is why she was first." We talked to Graham this week, right after she finished a BASE jump in Twin Falls, Idaho.
You've just been named the first and currently only pro rider at Silverton. How did that come about?
I spent a lot of time there last year. I was down there with Warren Miller filming a commercial for this Russian oil company sponsoring the 2014 Olympics, and also for the Red Bull Cold Rush. I skied a lot with Aaron, the owner, and we talked a little about it. I just really love the terrain. I'm planning on spending a lot of time there this winter.
Does this mean you are you going to move from your home in Salt Lake City to Silverton?
I am still based in SLC. I'm also still a team rider at Alta, but now Silverton is going to be a great place to go when I need to get projects done or shoot photos or film. I don't have to fight for my lines there.
How does that work -- skiing for two different resorts?
It's not really a conflict. Alta is still my favorite lift-accessed resort. It's a dream. But now with Silverton, I'm excited to be able to hit them up for the big, gnarly lines more often. You usually have to work much harder to access that kind of terrain. And I am so used to everything in the Wasatch, it's going to be so fun to be in a new zone and ski big lines.
You got fourth at Red Bull Cold Rush at Silverton last winter. Are you planning to compete in that again?
I'm probably going to compete in Red Bull Cold Rush again. I'll be focusing on filming and getting my own footage for a couple of projects in the works and progressing my own style of skiing. I'm really going to be working on my flips this season. I'm brushing up on some new tricks, doing some cool stuff off cliffs and in big lines, and stitching it all together more seamlessly.
I heard the Chinese government invited you to come jump off a new bridge earlier this fall?
The Hunan Government was putting together a small group of BASE jumpers to jump off a new suspension bridge for its grand opening ceremony, as it is one of the longest and highest bridges in the world. I was so excited. Two weeks before the event I got word that the transportation bureau had called off the event due to delayed construction of the bridge. So I still haven't been to China, but hopefully soon. I have a goal for Japan this season too. We'll see.