On March 16, 2011, Sean Pettit won his second Red Bull Cold Rush in a row. At the ripe old age of 18, Pettit has been dominating the freeskiing world for the past two years, so we caught up with him in Silverton, Colorado the day after his victory to see if we could get any trade secrets out of him...
Sean Pettit, you just won your second Red Bull Cold Rush in a row…
How’s that feel?
It’s huge… Huge for me. You know, I had an injury in February. I broke a bone in my thumb, tore a ligament off with the bone. I was gonna have to get surgery, then I didn’t have to get surgery, which was sweet. But the downside is I have to wear this cast thing for the rest of the season. It doesn’t seem to slow me down too much, though. I just try to forget about it and I didn’t really notice it. But yeah, it was real sweet to win this one again. It’s big for me. It’s all thanks to those guys, though - all the athletes are the ones who decided.
I’m not going to hit something small first if there’s something big right in front of my face.
You’ve been to the last three Cold Rushes. It’s not in British Columbia, your neck of the woods, anymore. How do you feel about Silverton?
Yeah, it’s different. I obviously love skiing BC and I’ve actually never done much backcountry skiing in Colorado, so I was kind of coming in with a bit of doubt. But as soon as we showed up that completely changed. I saw the mountain and saw the potential and I knew it was going to be super sick this year. It turned out to be just absolutely amazing. The terrain ended up being a lot bigger than last year, so that was a cool way to step it up.
You came into everything super hot right off the bat at this year’s Cold Rush. While some competitors tended to play it safe on the first round, you just plain sent it. Is there a method to your madness?
I just figure there’s no warm-up run for me. You know, nothing’s going to change, so you might as well just go for it right away. That’s what I do when I’m out filming, too. I’m not going to hit something small first if there’s something big right in front of my face. I’ll just go right to that and get it over with, get it done. I like taking speed into things and just having enough airtime to do different tricks. I just feel like more airtime feels cooler and looks cooler.
Does going faster make it easier to land big airs?
No, not necessarily. The more air you have the more impact you’ll have. For some things though, like that lower “Castle” jump on the second day, there was a bit of a knuckle or roller you had to clear. That makes it harder if you go slower, because you’re gonna hit harder since it’s flatter. A lot of people were bouncing on that landing, but where I and a few other people were landing was the nicer part, because it was steeper. The snow was really good in that zone too, so that was a fun jump.
Besides winning, of course, what were some of the highlights for this year’s Cold Rush for you?
Alex Prochazka just sending it like I’ve never seen anyone send it before. Treadway had a sick backie and a crazy line the first day. Sage obviously always has the cleanest lines and always lands his stuff, so he was killing it big time. And Dane hucking that huge cliff too, busting that 7, that was impressive. Everybody - Durtschi, Fabio and all those guys were killing it.
Tell me a little bit more about Alex Prochazka. He’s a pro mountain biker, he’s your buddy; how did he end up here?
I’ve been friends with Alex for a really long time, ever since I lived in Whistler. We’ve been ski buddies for almost our whole lives and he’s been a professional mountain biker his whole life the same way I’ve been a professional skier. But he loves to ski in the winter, and he’s really good.
He’s sponsored by Oakley for biking and he was with those guys in February in Chamonix and they saw he’s a super good skier. A couple days before Cold Rush, the team manager from Oakley told Alex he was going and he was like, “Sweet!” He was super pumped to come down here and it’s awesome to have one of your best friends down here with you. It makes it that much more fun.
Nice. How’s the rest of your season look from here?
Right after Cold Rush I’ll head back to Whistler. I’m going to film there for about a week with the Cineflex camera that was here at Cold Rush. Then Richard Permin and I are going to go to Chatter Creek and probably meet up with Mark Abma. We’ll be there for two weeks with the heli, sleds, cat - the whole deal, it’ll be awesome. I’ve never been there, but the place has great potential, so it’ll be fun. Then back to Whistler probably to finish up the season because Alaska isn’t looking so good for conditions right now.
Great, thanks Sean. Best of luck with the remainder of the season…
For more from Sean Pettit, follow him on Twitter.
- Check out all the Cold Rush photos
- Cast your vote for the best skier of each day at Cold Rush
- Pettit wins Red Bull Linecatcher 2011