MOUNTAIN LIFE - Blue Mountains | Winter 2019

76 ML BLUE WINTER 2019 ML: So you have your own style out there; no goggles, bib pants and a skateboard helmet. What’s that all about? SM: It all stems out of my dad. It was always, “do what felt good to you and if you can commit to that, you can pave your own path.” In high school I just wanted to look a certain way and I wanted to express my artistic side and I wanted my experience to be 100 percent my own. So I borrowed my grandma’s sewing machine and cut sweaters in half and sewed them together and took all these different articles and pieced them all together. So I had some pretty gnarly kits. With dream catchers and feathers and the whole thing. ML: What is Sterik’s? SM: We’ve gone from this classic club format, to being like a lifestyle brand and developing this mentorship program where these kids are graduating to our pro team. Which is all of our buddies from the Badlands [Terrain Park] back in the day. It’s all about the Blue Mountain OG’s. That Badlands culture when you’re a kid. You know, a sunny day on March Break. That kind of energy, that’s just something I want to hold on to. Our coaching is not a dictatorship style, we’re not the guys that are like, “this is the jump you want to hit.” We hold the kids to their own inspiration and their own ideas, in hopes that their search for their inner skill set, or their differences from their peers will give them confidence. If they can do that, they can find success by digging deep. It doesn’t have to be laid out. It’s all those connections along the way; all our buddies we grew up with at the Badlands are operations managers at the hills now, or they’re reps at companies. We get the kids together and say, “take a good look because that buddy standing next to you, you’re gonna give each other opportunities in the future.” So it’s that real family-type approach versus a training camp where we’re all trying to push each other and beat each other. It’s just a different approach. ML: So you’re running the Freeride Showdown too, right? Tell us about that. SM: We have four of those: at Horseshoe, Craigleith, Mansfield and Blue Mountain. The program and the events are all-ages, there are different categories. But they’re all designed to support any level. There’s no first place, second place. There is a pro class for cash, but a lot of it is purely impression based. It’s a full day, just a big jam session. It’s just like a festival. But the big prize of the day is a vote category. It’s kind of like the community decides who’s on top. This is our third year of doing it. ML: What does your dad think of freestyle skiing now? SM: He loves it. It took him a while. But for Christmas gifts, we would start buying him freeride skis with tip rocker. And we got him in Full Tilt boots. Now you couldn’t pay him to wear race boots. And he’s got a full freestyle kit. It’s interesting we got kind of morphed by the system, into a different kind of focus. Then we kind of broke through and we’ve ended up right where we started: ripping the trees and the bumps with our dad. It’s the only thing we can do together as a family. It’s the tried and true family experience. Blasting in Mount Hood. ERICK MORTVEIT