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An Interview with Landon Gardner

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In our next installment of “ChopSaver Users are Just Plain Cool,” this time we really mean it with World Class Skier Landon Gardner. A former member of the United States Ski Team, Landon gives us his take on skiing and motivation.

landon-gardnerAnd be sure to check out some amazing “point of view” video on Landon’s YouTube Channel

DG – When did you start skiing?

Landon – When I was 3 years old.

DG – You are a former member of the US Ski Team. What was your specialty and what was that experience like?

Landon – I spent my time on the US Team as a Freestyle Mogul Skier- it’s a combination of bumps, jumps, speed and technique. My 8 eight years on the Team were awesome, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel all over the world and see and experience new things.

DG – Many of us only watch skiing every 4 years and there so many events. Can you do a simple break down of what they are and the differences between Downhill, Super G, Freestyle, etc.

Landon – Downhill and Super G are exclusively Alpine racing events, there is no judge, you are racing against the clock- a somewhat simple formula (except for the fact that everyone on the hill is reaaaaaaaaaalllly fast!). The events are differentiated by where the gates are placed on the hill (and sometimes length too). Downhill, historically is an all-out speed event over a long distance and time where Super G may tend to be a tighter and shorter course. In Freestyle your score is determined by 3 factors- turns/technique (50% of your score), jumps/aerial maneuvers (25% of your score), speed (25% of your score). The challenge is to execute and ski well but you must also push the envelope in regards to the degree of difficulty of your jumps, as this is also factors into your total score. I think that is why Freestyle Moguls is such an exciting event- at the highest level it is a serious balance between some very cool things- technique, jumps, and speed.

DG – What is your favorite venue or city for competition?

Landon – Nothing matches the spectator numbers for a World Cup Mogul event like that of Deer Valley (Utah). This is an awesome venue to compete at, the course preparation and conditions are impeccable and I happened to live in the area during my time on the Team so it was right in my backyard. Additionally, I have very fond memories of Switzerland, Italy and France- visiting these places in winter is a really cool experience, there are all these mountain ski villages scattered all over the hill sides with ski lifts connecting most of them, this provides a somewhat contrasting skiing experience to that of North America.

DG – How would you describe perfect ski conditions?

Landon -SOFT! There is no better feeling than flying down a mountain that has been recently covered with FEEET of new snow!

DG – How does a skier stay in shape outside of actual skiing?

Landon – There are so many activities that can contribute to preparing you for skiing, either in-season or pre-season:

  • Balance exercises
  • Plyometrics
  • Core work
  • Weight lifting
  • Hiking
  • Biking

DG – What are you doing now and have there been any challenges during the transition out of regular competition?

Landon – I currently go to school at the University of Montana and I look to finish up my undergraduate work in Management Information Systems by December 2014. I am the Head Coach of the Missoula Freestyle Ski Team. I work part-time at our family business, Western States Trailer & Auto, where I am the Information Systems Manager. I also work part-time at a local Missoula tech startup, Submittable, where I am a Customer Experience Specialist. School and work has really helped with the transition out of competition. Finishing school has really kept me focused on achieving short and long term goals, something that has always played an integral part of my life.

DG – How has your athletic life affected and influenced your current activities?

Landon – I like to think that I keep a pretty tight focus on the things in my life that I want to accomplish (outside of athletics) – a direct result of my competition and training background. These skills are interchangeable throughout sport, school and my professional life.