JT Holmes grew up in California's Bay Area, but the steep, snow-covered slopes of Squaw Valley have been his real home since he was a kid.
A member of the Squaw Valley freestyle ski team, when Holmes was 15-years-old he met freeskiing legend Shane McConkey. When he learned that McConkey skied professionally for a living, Holmes became determined to do that, too. "Shane always inspired me to look for what's next," Holmes says. "It was really exciting to be a part of freeskiing when the sport was blossoming so rapidly."
By 17, Holmes had sponsors and started appearing in ski movies, with a breakout performance in Matchstick Production's 1998 film, Sixth Sense. He went onto become a top competitor in big-mountain competitions, like the Freeride World Tour, and has appeared in over 15 ski films.
Taking to the air
What was next was BASE jumping. When he was 22, Holmes did his first BASE jump off a bridge in Idaho, quickly gaining more experience in skydiving, BASE jumping and wingsuit flying. By 2003, he and McConkey combined their two loves – skiing and BASE jumping – when they completed their first ski-BASE jump off a cliff in South Lake Tahoe.
The two pioneered the sport until tragedy struck in March 2009, when McConkey was killed in an accident in the Italian Dolomites while the pair were filming. "I contemplated quitting BASE jumping. I knew if Shane could die that I could die," he says. "I didn't jump for a while, mostly because I had no taste for it, no desire."
Eventually, the desire to fly returned and in 2010 Holmes picked up speedriding – flying down mountains with a cross between a high-speed skydiving parachute and a small paraglider on his back, and skis on his feet. “It's fourth dimension skiing," Holmes says. "I'm able to access terrain that I never otherwise would be able to."
When he's not flying down mountains, driving in off-road races, or appearing in TV commercials, Holmes can now be found performing and coordinating stunts for Hollywood film productions.
He's jumped off a skyscraper in Chicago and soared through buildings in a wingsuit for 2011's Transformers 3, which earned him a Taurus World Stunt Award. He's also performed airborne stunts for Hangover 3, Godzilla, Fast and Furious 7, The Amazing Spider Man 2, and more.
"When I coordinate airborne sequences for movies, it's always a huge challenge, but we have the resources to solve it. There's no impossible, there's nothing that can’t be pulled off," Holmes says.Read more