Five Questions With Mountain Guide Jonathon Spitzer

Our athletes and ambassadors shred gnar and send hard lines, but there’s much more behind the scenes: other careers, balancing family life, creating art, giving back. To dig deeper into the adventure lifestyle, we’ve created Five Questions, an ongoing feature asking OR athletes the hard questions. And sometimes more than just five.

If you could leave aspiring athletes with one important piece of life advice or words of wisdom, what would it be?

We’re all very lucky individuals, to be spending our time recreating in the great outdoors. Never take that for granted. Be yourself; don’t try to do something to impress somebody (unless it’s a cute gal). And most importantly: Have fun. 

What are you looking forward to this year?

I’m engaged, and our wedding is planned for the end of August. I’m excited about our wedding, but probably more excited about not having to plan any more wedding stuff. (Honestly, I don’t do that much planning). I’m also excited about leading an expedition to Ama Dablam in the fall.

How did you get started in your sport?

I grew up in the Northwest, climbing and skiing at a young age. I was very passionate about the outdoors. I went to a small college in Colorado, Western State College, where I received a degree in recreation. I knew I loved being outside, and wanted to share that experience with others. In college, I went through the American Mountain Guide Association certification program. When I received my certification, at the age of 26, I was one of the youngest to do so.

What is your favorite part about being a professional mountain guide?

One of the best things about being a professional mountain guide is the people—climbers, skiers, mountaineers—who choose to spend their vacation time with me. It’s a unique and rewarding relationship. These people work incredibly hard, and then take their time off from work and their daily lives to go on adventures with me around the world. I get to build lasting relationships with clients over the years. Bonus: I get to travel to some amazing places that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

What is your typical day/week schedule?

It depends on the time of year. In winter, I work helicopter skiing at a remote lodge. In summer, I’m alpine guiding and climbing, which usually requires rising early—or an “alpine start.” Spring and fall, I like to spend time with Rachel, my fiancé, either at our house in Salt Lake City, or traveling around the western U.S., climbing. No matter where I am, or what my schedule is like, my day always starts off with a good cup of coffee.

What’s your favorite piece of OR gear?

I’m currently hanging out at a coffee shop in my Radiant Hybrid Hoody [LINK], a great layer for big technical alpine climbs, skiing, and going to your local crag in the spring or fall. My favorite jacket would be the Enchainment [LINK], a hybrid jacket that’s highly water resistant, fights of the wind, and breathes well. Most importantly, it doesn’t restrict my movement when I’m climbing or skiing.