In recognition of all the amazing dads out there who sacrificed their powder days to help us learn how to ski, to the ones who cheered us on as we took our first wobbly pedal strokes, to the dads who fearlessly climbed alongside us and literally taught us the ropes and how to tie them safely.

Below we caught up with some of our ambassadors to hear about the remarkable dads in their lives.


MARK ABMA - Ski

Can you share any memorable experiences or adventures with your dad that inspired your passion for the outdoors?

My Dad always encouraged me to spend as much time as possible outside. I was pretty independent so I climbed trees, built forts and eventually started skiing in the backcountry in my early-mid teens. He always gave me a lot of trust and allowed me to develop my own instincts.  

Were there any particular skills, techniques, advice, or strategies your dad taught you that have been essential to your success as an athlete?

He always told me,” if you’re not crashing, you’re not trying.” This taught me a lot about perseverance and going for it.

How did your dad's support and encouragement play a role in your achievements as an athlete?  

My Dad was always really proud of my athletic skills and with that he was a huge part of my support network. He’s an incredibly positive man and he gave me a lot of his positive energy in all that I did. 

How did your dad teach you the importance of perseverance, resilience, and determination in your athletic career?  

My Dad was a welder and installed heating systems for greenhouses. It was a very physically demanding job and I worked on the job site with him for most of my childhood and early adult life. I saw his work ethic and that was engrained into my DNA.  I do my best to maintain that work ethic through my daily life. Still to this day he’s an incredibly hard working and resilient man. 

How did your dad balance being a supportive parent with pushing you to excel in your athletic pursuits?  

My Dad pushed me through loving encouragement. I don’t have any recollection of anything that felt like I was being pushed to do something I didn’t want to do. He trusted my ambitions and encouraged/nourished my natural passions.

Did your dad help you establish connections or networking opportunities within the outdoor industry?  

My Dad wasn’t involved in the outdoor industry at all, but he did allow the coach of the Hemlock Freestyle Club to live at our cabin. That coach (Jeff Fairbairn) was a huge part of pushing me as a young teen and then getting me onto the BC Freestyle team. That was an integral part of me getting plugged into the freestyle world. 

Were there any specific challenges or setbacks you faced as an athlete, and how did your dad help you overcome them? 

Coming up as young skier required finance to travel and train. My Dad would put me to work all summer on the greenhouse site as a welder and welder's helper, and in turn he helped pay my way until I could take care of myself.  

Looking back, what would you say is the most significant impact your dad had on your career as an athlete in the outdoor industry?

My Dad taught me how to work hard and maintain a positive attitude. He’s also a big dreamer and that has been a very integral part of creating the life that I live. 

Mark Abma skiing in Sun Peaks, BCMark Abma skiing in Sun Peaks, BC
Mark Abma in Sun Peaks, BC.

BETH RODDEN - Climb

Can you share any memorable experiences or adventures with your dad that inspired your passion for the outdoors?

My dad is the reason I got into climbing and the outdoors. When my brother and I were really young, we would go backpacking or camping as a family a few times each summer in the Sierras. I never loved hiking, but I always loved the mountains. On a few of those trips, my dad would set up a top rope on a roadside crag or wall and we'd scramble around. It was the first thing that I was inherently better at than my older brother. We went a couple more times during my childhood, but it wasn't until my dad took me to the local climbing gym that it really stuck. And after that, he and my mom were my biggest supporters.

Were there any particular skills, techniques, advice, or strategies your dad taught you that have been essential to your success as an athlete? 

I feel like my dad has always been good at trying to get me to see the big picture, but he's also always there to support me when I'm in the thick of it. I think I learned from both my parents the importance of trying my best so I could look back and know that I gave it my all. 

How did your dad's support and encouragement play a role in your achievements as an athlete? 

He or my mom would accompany me to every climbing competition I ever went to, or they would drive me to bigger gyms to train on the weekends before I got my license.  

How did your dad teach you the importance of perseverance, resilience, and determination in your athletic career?  

I feel like this was just a lesson in life, not just in climbing. My parents are both very thoughtful people, both worked hard at what they did (no matter what it was) and tried their best. It was an easy example to emulate.

How did your dad balance being a supportive parent with pushing you to excel in your athletic pursuits?  

My dad never pushed me, ever. I saw that with too many of my peers, and it never ended well, it almost always ended with my friend (the kid) quitting climbing.

Did your dad help you establish connections or networking opportunities within the outdoor industry?  

No, not really. But my parents helped me understand how to look people in the eye, how to write a resume, the value of honesty and kindness, etc. They didn't know anyone in the industry.  

Were there any specific challenges or setbacks you faced as an athlete, and how did your dad help you overcome them?  

I've had a lot of injuries over the years and a pretty public divorce. My parents were always there as a soft landing during those difficult times.  

Looking back, what would you say is the most significant impact your dad had on your career as an athlete in the outdoor industry? 

Introducing me to climbing and always being on my team, but never pushing me or living out any of his dreams on me. He let me own climbing as mine, and that ownership let me cultivate a relationship how I wanted, not someone else's, which I think is very important. He was always there to give advice when I asked, but never unsolicited. 

A young Beth Rodden climbs while her dad belays.A young Beth Rodden climbs while her dad belays.
A young Beth Rodden climbs while her dad belays.

GRAHAM ZIMMERMAN - Mountaineer

Can you share any memorable experiences or adventures with your dad that inspired your passion for the outdoors?  

Dad took me on my first climb with a colleague at work when I was 15 years old. We climbed the South Spur of Mt Adams. I found it exceptionally challenging, but clearly, I liked something about it. He is also responsible for setting me up with my first mentor in the climbing world, a fellow named Kaj Bune. Kaj was with Outdoor Research and now is with Exped USA. He remains an essential mentor to this day.

Were there any particular skills, techniques, advice, or strategies your dad taught you that have been essential to your success as an athlete?

My dad is from the flat lands of Kansas - he doesn't have a background in climbing and still does not climb. He does have a background as an athlete and understands what it takes to perform - while he maybe did not understand climbing, he does understand loving and pushing your body - which he passed on to me. 

Were there any specific challenges or setbacks you faced as an athlete, and how did your dad help you overcome them?

While Dad has always encouraged me to ensure that I am making ends meet, he has never gotten in the way of my climbing. My career has been unconventional, with time spent working as a SAR tech, a Geophysics PM, a business owner, and, of course, a pro climber - Dad has always been encouraging. When I have gotten injured, he has always been willing to show up and make sure I have what I need to recover.   

Graham Zimmerman climbing in 2018 (left) and Graham with his dad on top of Mt. Adams in 2002 (right).Graham Zimmerman climbing in 2018 (left) and Graham with his dad on top of Mt. Adams in 2002 (right).
Graham Zimmerman climbing in 2018 (left) and Graham with his dad on top of Mt. Adams in 2002 (right).

ZOE ATKIN - Ski

How has your dad inspired or influenced your career?

My dad is the reason I have my ski career. He taught me to ski between his legs when I was 2, skiing the bunny hill hunched over for hours. Every weekend at ski school, he’d meet me for lunch, and we’d eat our packed sandwiches as I told him about my day, the fun trails and jumps that I’d hit that day. As I got older, he taught me the importance of resilience and hard work, of overcoming fear. But he also emphasized the importance of being well-rounded, of excelling in academics too. This balance has allowed me to stay sane, to appreciate the grind of each aspect of my life. I’m where I am today because of my dad. 

A young Zoe Atkin skiing with her dad.A young Zoe Atkin skiing with her dad.
A young Zoe Atkin skiing with her dad.

IAN PROVO - Ski

How has your dad inspired or influenced your career?

This is the first fathers day without my dear old pop. He died on his 70th birthday just a few months ago. It goes without saying that his influence on my life and career was, and always will be immense - I wouldn't be here without him. But it was in the year of 1998 that he had the vision to move from Connecticut to Park City, Utah. My brothers and I, youngsters at the time, shared the same vision - one of big mountains and wild west adventures. So I followed him, and eventually my brothers and mom did too. And then twenty five years of powder days and river trips and Grateful Dead jams goes by in a flash! I'll be forever thankful to my old man for having that vision, taking the risk, and providing me with a foundation to build a passionate life doing the things I love. Thanks Pop!  

Ian Provo with his dad on the river.Ian Provo with his dad on the river.
Ian Provo with his dad on the river.

Were there any specific challenges or setbacks you faced as an athlete, and how did your dad help you overcome them?  

I've had a lot of injuries over the years and a pretty public divorce. My parents were always there as a soft landing during those difficult times.  

Looking back, what would you say is the most significant impact your dad had on your career as an athlete in the outdoor industry? 

Introducing me to climbing and always being on my team, but never pushing me or living out any of his dreams on me. He let me own climbing as mine, and that ownership let me cultivate a relationship how I wanted, not someone else's, which I think is very important. He was always there to give advice when I asked, but never unsolicited. 

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