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Angel Collinson’s 5 pointers for turning big dreams into reality

When the skiing athlete from the USA had an idea for positive change, she switched up her career to make it happen.
Written by Trish Medalen
3 min readPublished on
Angel Collinson chose a skiing career because she loved the connection with nature. She won the Freeskiing World Tour twice and became an award-winning star in ski movies. But while she was living the life, she was also sensing a hard truth.
“For a decade I’ve been skiing in Alaska and watching the way that the glaciers are changing up there, the way that winter is changing before our eyes,” she describes. “It really was just like… something needs to change in the world, and in my life, in a big way, and I don’t know what that is.”
Skier Angel Collinson on the water in Alaska
Skier Angel Collinson on the water in Alaska
Then Collinson had the idea to take a completely new tack. She would restore a second-hand yacht and sail the world’s oceans – living carbon neutral, meeting and learning from sustainability activists, and using her platform to tell their stories and amplify their voice.
It was a big dream: the skier knew nothing about sailing and risked losing sponsors as well. But, says Collinson, “We all know when we’re on the right track, and we know when we’re off the right track.” So she trusted her instincts. Fast-forward, and she recently experienced the exhilaration of finishing her first Atlantic crossing.
It's so important to dream really big
The personal journey and mission that Collinson shares in her Red Bull Basement Session can serve as inspiration for anyone who wants to take their chance and pursue their own big idea. Here are five key takeaways:

1) Don’t be afraid to think outside your area of expertise

In describing her dream, Collinson says, “It was so far from any of the things that I was good at or knew how to do, and so far from my other life. There was a long period where I didn’t know how I was going to make it all work. But I’m honestly excited.”

2) Trust yourself

Collinson relates, “Sometimes people don’t understand what I am dreaming up or why it’s going to be awesome, but when they see it, they’re like, 'Oh yeah, more of that!'”
Big mountain skier Angel Collinson in Chile, 2017
Big mountain skier Angel Collinson in Chile, 2017

3) Follow your heart

“It is the most empowering thing ever to be on this boat and be able to go anywhere in the world that the ocean touches, just with the power of the wind,” Collinson enthuses. “I’m storytelling about positive things that inspire change, and I’m also pursuing my heart. I feel more invigorated and full of passion.”

4) Big accomplishments can start with small actions

“It’s like sometimes I had to do a little thing, and put that out there. It might end up turning into this big thing, but it doesn’t have to start there,” Collinson says.

5) Take the initiative

“We can’t always wait for people to make our big ideas happen,” Collinson emphasises. “This process has helped me realise I can do big things – and a lot of people can do big things if they feel that they can. I think it’s so important to dream really big in the way that feels just right for you.”
If you're looking for insights to inspire your own projects, you can explore more firsthand stories like Angel Collinson's in the Red Bull Basement Sessions.
Want to dream big and jumpstart your ideas for positive change? The application deadline for Red Bull Basement is Sunday, October 24, 2021.