Jessie Young is a relative upstart in the ski-racing world, and she has been competing for the last few seasons, beginning near her home in Aspen, CO. Jessie’s a new member of the CAMP athlete team.
How did you start competitive skiing and why did you stick with it?
Ski Mountaineering Racing doesn’t make for a very good spectator sport if you don’t have a helicopter, so when I started dating my ski-racing fiancee there was no question that if I was going to travel to all these great places I was at least going to participate in the races! Turns out my recreational attitude has a bit of a competitive edge after all. I stick with it because of the great places it takes me, whether training, racing, or getting after it when the season’s over and I have the fitness to go for long tours to new places and peaks!
What are your three favorite mountains, trips, or races?
1. I have to say that the number 1 race for me was competing at the 2015 Ski Mountain World Championships in Verbier, Switzerland. Competing against the sport’s greatest athletes in the team race with Lindsey Plant (Carbondale, CO) and earning a 6th place finish was a pretty spectacular event. I love the teamwork that is involved in the team race, the technical descents, and the horrendously slippery skin tracks!
2. My spring 2015 trip to the Weminuche Wilderness was an awesome ski mountaineering adventure. The trip started with the first train of the season which dropped my fiance and I off in the remote wilderness between Durango and Ouray where we backpacked into a base camp in the Chicago Basin and skied four Colorado 14ers on day one and a few less known peaks including centennial peak, Jupiter, on day two.
3. The Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race is one of my favorite local races which traverses all four of the ski areas in Aspen/Snowmass. The first year I did the race it was one of the first skimo races I’d ever entered; I just barely made the cutoff times and finished second from last just before sunset in 10 hours. Last year I came in just behind the first place team, shaving hours off my inaugural event!
What motivates you or draws you into your sub discipline of mountain adventure? what parts of skiing or mtn sports have you tried and disliked?
I love all the different disciplines of mountain adventure. For me the feeling of being on top of a peak, whether it’s one I’ve summited 100 times or one I’ve never been to the top of before, is rewarding.
Does your work/employment complement your passion? Make you better at some aspect of it? Or is it purely an escape from work?
For me, Ski Mountaineering (and running, biking, etc. when there’s no snow on the ground) is definitely an escape from my day job as a planning consultant. As a planner working in different communities I like to think I’m making a difference in other people’s lives by making trails and open spaces more accessible so that people can live healthy and active lives in the communities I’ve worked in.
If you could give any training / improving / ski advice to yourself 5 years ago, what would it be?
Seven years ago I would have told myself to sell my snowboard and buy some skis! Five years ago and still today I keep having to remind myself to pole plant.
Any short-term plans or goals?
In April I’m headed over to Switzerland to do the PDG, a three person team point to point ski mountaineering race from Zermatt to Verbier. I am also hoping to tackle my first 100 mile mountain bike race. Oh yeah and plan a wedding :) Depending on the time of year we tie the knot I am hoping for a honeymoon adventure in Bhutan.
If you could only eat one breakfast for the rest of your life what would it be? You don’t have to pay.
Good question! How about Huevos Rancheros with some awesome green chili. Alternatively I’d go for the standard granola, yogurt and berries.