Dav is a badass. Having skied 67 out of the 69 14ers in the lower 48, winning the 2001 Freeskiing World Championship along and winning the 1996 World Extreme Championships Chris Davenport has cemented himself as one of the sports icons. We caught up with freeskier/mountaineer and got his thoughts on music, his go-to backcountry snack and the wildest thing he’s seen at a ski movie premier.
Like we said, Chris Davenport is a legend. So click here to subscribe to his Spotify Pro Playlist or scroll below to play his playlist while you read our interview with him.
Chris Skiing the Centennial 13ers
[EU] Let’s start off easy, list of your sponsors?
[CD] Red Bull, Aspen/Snowmass, GoPro, Kastle Skis, Smith Optics, Vapur Bottles, Clif Bar, Backcountry.com, Scarpa Boots, Spyder, Black Diamond, SOLE Footbeds and Trimble Outdoors.
[EU] It is premier season. You’ve been to your fair share of them as an athlete. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever seen while at a ski movie premier?
[CD] Well back in the 90’s the movie premiers were pretty rowdy- I definitely saw a few gals come up to the stage or at the bar that were interested in “nocturnal relations”.
[CD] I actually specialize in bizarre lines- the weirder the better- but maybe the coolest weird line was down the side of a concrete dam in Switzerland. That was pretty cool.
[EU] What is the biggest logistical nightmare you’ve encountered in skiing a line in the lower 48?
[CD] Well a few years back I was trying to ski all the 14,000′ peaks in Colorado in a year, the “14ers”. One of them, Culebra Peak, lies entirely on private land, and is basically closed. So I had to negotiate with the ranch owner, who lived in Texas, and then pay $400 to get access for me and my friends to ski the mountain.
[CD] I love music in the backcountry when I’m skinning in the forests- especially in the pre-dawn hours. When I get into the alpine I will keep it playing if there is no avalanche danger, like in the late spring when the snowpack in frozen up hard. But if there are any snow or weather concerns I turn the music off and focus on good decision making.
[CD] I tend to not eat too much on my days out- mainly Clif Shot Bloks and a gel or two. For big days I will make a kind veggie sandwich with pickles and avocado and cheddar cheese and whatever else I can find.
[EU] Apres. Beer, wine, water?
[CD] I love a nice cold beer after a big day in the mountains. And when we are down in Portillo every year in August sometimes a bottle of white wine will go down nicely at lunch outside.
[EU] Place you have yet to ski but would love to?
[CD] I haven’t skied in Greenland yet. I’ve got a client who wants to go heli ski there this spring and I’m trying to find a big boat that we can land the heli on and live on for ten days.
[EU] Favorite athlete to watch on the big-screen?
[CD] I love watching Sean Pettit, Candide Thovex, and Jeremy Jones.
[CD] Hmmm, a nice cheese fondue in a Swiss refuge on a stormy day is hard to beat. Since I’m a vegetarian I think the food in Eastern Europe is pretty rotten. But I’m just spoiled.
[EU] Most memorable 14’er you’ve ski?
[CD] This is a tough one as I’ve skied 67 out of 69 14ers in the lower 48 states. I think Mt. Rainier in Washington is consistently incredible and last year I skied it in a day- over 9000 vertical of amazing terrain and views. But I would also put my first descent of the East Face of Capitol Peak in Colorado with Neal Beidleman right up there. That was way out there in terms of danger and commitment and it still hasn’t been repeated.
[EU] In 2001, you participated in one of Red Bull’s first Freeski event’s (The Red Bull Snow Thrill of Alaska) which has since kind-of become the Red Bull Cold Rush. Can you comment on the Snow Thrill of Alaska given its stacked line-up of participates and cool photography format? Also, you won the event which is pretty damn rad!
[CD] At the time I was competing full time on the World Tour, and was of course a Red Bull athlete, so it was the perfect event for me. Plus I love Alaska so much. That week it dumped every day and we just had so much fun freeskiing with all the competitors on Alyeska Resort. It was honestly one of the most fun contests I’ve ever done, and to win it was even better. That was my second world title, something I’m very proud of to this day.
[CD] I think the park fad of huge XXL clothes on little groms is f****** stupid. Your pants around your knees does nothing for you or the sport of skiing.
[EU] You work closely with Scarpa in developing great ski touring boots. What’s the biggest pleasure you get out of helping them design products that help ‘hacks like us’ get up and down mountains easier?
[CD] I love product of any kind. I’m a total gear geek- bikes, skis, boots, climbing gear ect… I’m always tinkering trying to make stuff better. And it’s a rare opportunity to get to build a product from the ground up. Working with Scarpa on the Freedom series was amazing because they really listened to my inputs and recommendations and I think we have delivered in many ways the perfect freeride boot.
Chris Davenport Backcountry Gear
[EU] Current ski set-up (ski, binding, boot)? Both in bounds and out.
[CD] Resort Skiing- Scarpa Freedom SL boot with Kastle FX 104 184 ski and Kastle K18Ti binding. This setup is like driving a Porsche. Backcountry- Scarpa Maestrale or Alien, with a Kastle TX 97 ski or the TX 77 with the Alien boots for my crazy light and fast setup.
[EU] Plans for the upcoming season?
[CD] It’s jam packed with fun adventures. I’m heading back to Antarctica with the “Ski Cruise” in November to start things off. I’ve got a bunch of TV and announcing work, and quite a few guided trips to heli ski and tour with clients. I’m also filming again with Warren Miller and hopefully MSP Films, and looking to finish climbing and skiing the 100 highest peaks in Colorado- the “Centennial Peaks Project” www.centennialskiers.com I think I’ll go back to Denali for my 4th trip in June as well.
To follow Chris’s adventures, make sure to follow his…
Youtube Channel- http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCexXqRgT2GtMBwbi5NTAb_w