Max Taam lives, works, and competes on his skis. He patrols on the resorts of Western Colorado, and races anywhere he can make his way to the starting line. He recently joined CAMP USA as a ski/race athlete, and we caught up to find out what makes Max tick.
How did you start competitive skiing and why did you stick with it?
I was born in New Hampshire but have lived in Aspen for 10 of my 33 years. My first skimo type race I ever did was the Aspen Highlands Inferno. It was a 800’ followed by a 2500’ descent. From then on I was hooked because it combined an endurance race with off-piste downhill ski racing!
What is your favorite trip or route?
My favorite trip is always a new one. I will always choose a new mountain over one that I have previously been on.1. Winter in Chamonix, France. I spent the 2011-12 winter in Chamonix France doing a ski patrol exchange. This was really an eye opener for me in seeing how much skimo and mountain adventures are part of the everyday culture in the Alps.2. Technical skimo races. The more technical a race is the more I love it. Some of my favorite courses in the US include: Taos, Crested Butte, The Powderkeg, and Jackson Hole.3. The Weminuche Wilderness. Last spring my fiancé, Jessie Young, and I did a trip into the Weminuche Wilderness in the San Juans of southern Colorado. To access the terrain you have to use a steam powered train and set up a basecamp. The most memorable day in the Weminuche was skiing the 4 Chicago Basin 14ers in 1 day.4. Wrangell-St Elias National Park. This trip was relatively early in my ski mountaineering career. This is one place that I would love to return to!
Not only do I love every aspect of skimo racing (technical climbs, cutting seconds off of my transitions, and big descents) but I love having the fitness and fast and lift mentality for big mountain adventures.
I stay pretty busy and love it. I enjoy trying to balance all aspects of my life: skimo racing, ski patrolling on Aspen Mtn, coaching cycling, my real estate career, and seeking out new mountain adventures!
Take care of your feet! if your footwear isn’t comfortable, not only can you not have a good day in the mountains, but you will cause permanent damage.
This is a tough one, as I NEVER skip breakfast. It’s a tough call between almond croissants in France and Bonnie’s oatmeal pancakes on Aspen Mtn.