No, you're not the only one bumbling about with your bindings, Rachael Burks assures us. "I always feel ridiculous that I'm a professional skier and I fumble around with getting in and out of the bindings on snowy days," she says. "HAH! So funny to see a pro flailing with Dynafits!"
But obviously, once she's in, she's really in. Because you've probably seen her in Warren Miller's Chasing Shadows, or Pretty Faces. We're super psyched to welcome Rachael to the team of Outdoor Research ambassadors—and we're stoked to get to know her better. Here's our first interview—stay tuned for more.
Where are you from? Salt Lake City.
What's your favorite place? The river.
Eat lots of ...? Cheese, tomato soup and hotdogs.
Fun fact? I'm good at doing hair. Like, envision your old prom "updo's." Yeah—I can make those happen.
How'd you get into big mountain skiing?
I was raised, for the most part, in Utah—lucky enough to have parents think I should pick up skiing. I skied with Mom, Dad and Brother on the weekends a bit as I was growing up. I had never really skied more than that until I decided to take a year off and be a ski bum for a year. Took a year off of college to work at Snowbird and watched one of the Big Mountain Competitions. I decided to try one out the next year and had a blast! I basically started skiing every day in 2002 and haven't really looked back! I'm fortunate enough to have made a career out of it, made some incredible friends, and skied some incredible places. I'm a pretty happy camper.
What's your go-to Outdoor Reserach kit for the mountains?
The Deviator Hoody is the best layer I've ever owned. . . . it's INSANE! Then the Revelation Jacket is my go-to! I keep the Floodlight Jacket not only for emergency purposes, but also just for staying warm on top of a ridge or if the wind picks up and I find myself stationary for a bit. The Cathode Vest is also the bomb!
How about for apres?
I wear the Casia Jacket a lot (it's the softest thing I've ever owned), and I like my super comfy Zenga Hoody too!
What are you focused on this season?
This season my focus is filming for the Shadow Campaign. I also like to always split focus between projects and free-skiing. I feel like it's crucial to balance the two. Thus far I've been able to do a lot of soul shredding and a lot of filming as well.
Any new skills you're working on?
I can always work on being better at getting into my bindings—I always feel ridiculous that I'm a professional skier and I fumble around with getting in and out of the bindings on snowy days! I also made the New Year's Resolution to pee when I have to pee. So many times I have to pee, but I'm having too much fun and say to myself, "Just one more lap," or "I'm too comfortable in my sleeping bag," or "I can make it to the hill before I pee." Well—this year I'm making a point of stopping what I'm doing and actually using the restroom.
On a serious note: I believe snow safety skills need to be a priority and learning as much as I can about snowpack, outdoor emergency, and navigating avalanche terrain are skills that I need to ALWAYS be working on!! On top of that, I try to learn a little something new every day I click into my bindings. I believe you can get better at something every day you're skiing.
Last but not least: What's your dream trip that you just haven't pulled off yet?
I've never skied in Russia and I've always wanted to. I'm working on doing an Arctic Triangle trip with Jessica Baker for next season—that would be ONE FOR THE BOOOOOKS!!!!