An interview with Ama on her recent success at the Jim Jack Cowboy Up at Stevens Pass Mountain Resort. Photo credit Northwest Freeride Programs.
Ama, Congrats on winning the overall title at the JJ cowboy up! Can you tell us a little about the contest day?
I woke up with the biggest smile on my face; I was just super stoked on life. When I got up to the mountain I was so filled with this happy energy, I was bouncing in circles in the breakfast line, running everywhere I went. The whole time I had probably the biggest, goofiest smile on my face and best part was, there wasn’t any specific reason for it, I was just stoked.
And it was like that all day.
What were you feeling up there on the ridge before dropping in?
Well I had gotten up there, and I didn’t know any of the competitors, so I put my skis down and walked up to the high point. It was so beautiful that day, you could see everything. I stood up there, I looked out at all the mountains, and I remembered Jim Chris and Johnny. I remembered their smiles, and I was so thankful for them. Thankful that I had known them, and that their happy spirit had reached so many people. It was really cool because it was one of those times where thinking of them only filled me with more stoke and happiness. I took a couple of deep breaths and walked back down to wait in line. I had my ear buds in and was just dancing with the music until the girl before me went. Everything happened perfectly, my favorite song came on and a few seconds after, I heard someone behind me say something like “Looks like it’s getting a little crusty” So I was like, “Yeah…better start pole whacking, huh?” So from then until I heard the OK over the radio from the judges I was pole whacking. It must’ve been at least a solid 45 seconds. I heard the “dropping in 3, 2, 1” and I was so filled with stoke that I let out a big holler as I made my first turn.
JJ was a huge part of the Stevens Pass scene; tell us a little about the spirit of JJ and how it shaped your skiing?
This is a hard one for me to answer. Jim was a friend from my childhood. He was one of those guys that “knew me when I was just ‘this big'”. JJ was always happy; he had such a child’s spirit. Always hooting and hollering, always having fun. I’ve found that’s the best way to ski… If you find yourself uncontrollably shouting with joy halfway down your run, you know you’re doing it right.
You come from a snow loving family, tell us what’s that’s like. What’s a day at the pass with the family like? Do you ski together or are they getting a little slow for you?
I love my family so much, they’re rad. We used to ski together a lot, but the past few years have been so busy it’s hard to find a time that we can all go ski. On weekends, Zac goes to race team all day, Mom, Dad and Myself go to work (unless its Saturday, my play day) so by the time Mom and Dad get off work they’re tired and want to go home. (I’m not usually done skiing, so sometimes I take the bus home later.) Every once in a while we go night skiing together, or Zac and I will take a day off of school to have a family ski day. Last year Mom was pretty much my ski buddy though, we skied together almost every day we were at the mountain. I love being able to say that I enjoy skiing with my family, and they don’t really fall too far behind…unless we start hiking
Stevens Pass must be a second home to you, what’s a perfect SP day?
You could say Stevens is my second home, but it’s really just my home, there’s no “second” about it. It’s where I grew up, and it’s where I belong. A perfect SP day? Gosh, really just any day that the snow is good and the avy danger isn’t too high so I can go hike. It’s hard to go wrong with a day in the mountains!
Are you going to keep competing?
Skiing, skiing and more skiing! I’m definitely going to keep competing, my next comp is at Crystal on the 16th, I haven’t figured out how I’m getting there, but I’m going for sure. I’m hoping to get 1 or 2 more in by the end of the season, and I’m shooting for the JFT next year.
Any plans to get sponsored?
Well, I guess we’ll see! My plan is to just keep skiing and keep JJ’s spirit close. If someone wants to give me gear for it, I’d be stoked.