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Forrest Coots


Forrest grew up in the mountains and is the product of a life spent in the outdoors. Born in Klamath Falls, Oregon, he and his family moved to Mount Shasta when he was three. With a ski resort fifteen minutes from his home and parents that worked at the resort, it was natural that Forrest took to skiing at an early age. Forrest's early focus in skiing was geared towards ski racing. During high school, Forrest won two high school state championships and was the 1998 USSA J1 Jr. Olympic Champion in the Slalom.

While on a college spring break road trip, Forrest was introduced to backcountry skiing. This experience opened his eyes and changed the way he would look at the mountains forever. His new outlook on the sport induced a passion for big mountain riding. Recently, Forrest has taken a step back from full time competitive big mountain skiing. Instead he is learning to dance down the mountain effortlessly, exploring the soul of free ride skiing. Like a painter, looking at a white canvas, Forrest looks at the mountains as if they are his personal white canvas. Portraying his viewpoint of what it is to be a pro skier, Forrest believes that it's more about the journey then the overall outcome. "The places and people met along the way make up the story," says Forrest. His search for snow has taken him to all corners of the earth; from the snowcaked deciduous trees of north Island of Japan to the windswept peaks of Patagonia. Forrest is ceaselessly looking for new peaks to ski and climb with an eye for the perfect line down the mountain. While still a hard-charging and committed free skier, Forrest is continually pushing his own limits to achieve his longterm goal of skiing that perfect line. He explores his home slopes of Northern California and Utah. In addition, he annually plumbs the steeps of the Swiss Alps and has gone as far as the Chilean Patagonia in this quest for the perfect line. For him, the journey is more important than the destination—a concept exemplified by his desire to climb before the descent and epitomized by his worldwide wanderings during both winter and summer.

Forrest still does some competing, representing the "classic" style at many of the freeskiing comps. He ranks high with strong and fast skiing skills, rather than aimless hucking. Last winter, Forrest found himself in the cottonwood canyons of the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. It seemed that his bags were always packed and he was always in TSA airport security check.

When summer returns to the Northern Hemisphere, Forrest doesn't put the skis away for the season. Instead, he digs in the quiver and swaps the big mountain sticks for his mountaineering skis. He returns to California to work as a US Forest Service Climber Ranger on the Cascade Volcano, Mt. Shasta. Throughout the spring and summer, Forrest climbs and skis, while educating the 6000 climbers that annually attempt Shasta about the "leave no trace" program. On a daily basis, Forrest informs the climbers of the climbing routes and conditions, safety, and search and rescue operations.

Once the snow melts off the faces of Shasta and the skis and climbing boots have been put away for the season, Forrest is off working as a firefighter on a Forest Service helicopter crew. He flights the blazes that reek havoc on the west during the late summer and early fall. When the fall rains come, Forrest is free to head south on surf missions across the boarder in the wilds of the Baja Peninsula. Soon after, Forrest travels back to Utah as the first snows of winter come. This first snow brings a new winter full of goals and projects. Next season, Forrest will find himself based again in Utah, back shooting photos, filming The constant search for new peaks to climb and ski, melds big mountain skiing and mountaineering into the ultimate way of life, and thus propels Forrest farther into the realm of professional big mountain skiing.

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