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Alta Is For Skiers

Johnny B Podcast
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You hear the expression "living the dream" quite a lot in ski bum circles, and Sage certainly has been doing just that. He owns the classic story of dishwasher turned international skilebrity, not to mention the big mountain trick scene. He's humble, honest, fluid and full of style. Enjoy reading the transcript of Johnny B and Sage's discussion or download/listen to the MP3 podcast.

Johnny B: Hello powder skiers! Welcome to My name is Johnny B. Today I'll be talking with professional freeskier Sage Cattabriga-Alosa. What's going on Sage, how are you doing?

Sage: Doing good.

Johnny B: Good to see you!

Sage: Yeah, good to see you!

Johnny B: Finally back in town, huh?

Sage: Yeah.

Johnny B: Did you have a good winter?

Sage: It was a super good winter.

Johnny B: Man, you're like tracking wild animal. Finally tracked you down though.

Sage: Yeah I know. I think I've tried to meet up with you like 20 times now.

Johnny B: Yeah I know what you're talking about it. I knew eventually we'd catch up. So how was your winter?

Sage: It was good. Sometimes the rumor starts going around that it's not such a good year. And not such a good snow year and this and that. It doesn't really mean that it's a bad year. I got to travel a lot. I got to test snow elsewhere. But the times that I was here (in Alta) were some of the funnest I had all year. And some of the funnest skiing in the Wasatch that I've done since I've lived here. It doesn't necessarily matter that it's pow, it's just that if you like to go skiing it's fun out there.

Johnny B: That's right! We all love skiing powder but there's nothing wrong with just skiing right?

Sage: Yeah yeah.

Johnny B: I don't mind.

Sage: It made me look at the mountain different a little bit. Early season we were finding tranny everywhere. Little mini trannies, finding places where there are jumps where there usually never is.

Johnny B: Terrain that's usually buried.

Sage: Exactly.

Johnny B: Oh yes, there's nothing wrong with that. It's good to hear you say. You know, a lot of people I know just only come skiing when there's deep powder but I come from back east it doesn't matter to me.

Sage: Yes and it's better that way almost. Because this year we had so many like little pow days that people will be like, "Oh three inches that's not good enough." And it will be a sick day. Yes it was icy on the traverses and whatever. But you get the goods and its two feet deep.

Johnny B: The wind put it somewhere and it's smooth somewhere.

Sage: Exactly.

Johnny B: Tell us Sage where did you come from? How did you end up in Alta?

Sage: Well I grew up a skier in Alta, Wyoming. And just up north from here outside of Driggs, Idaho and near Jackson there. Skiing in Alta I always thought I'd go to Montana or Colorado and I ventured off to try to find more powder. And didn't really realize how good it was in Utah. But I was hanging in Oregon and I met up with Chris Collins.

Johnny B: Uh huh. Captain Big.

Sage: Captain Big. And he was like, "You got to check Utah out." And I met with Pete O'Brien and Steve Rosendahl, a bunch of people. A bunch of the original posse here. And so from their recommendations I go "I gotta come check it out." And so I did. I went to the Peruvian Lodge to work the first year.

And I remember my first day of skiing standing on the lift line, "Oh my God that's Dave McReynolds, Dave Richards, no way!" And they say to me, "Hey dude, if you want to get a place in line you better put your skis over here." Because I didn't really know about the whole front row thing.

Johnny B: You didn't know the Rob Rowley hardcore rules yet.

Sage: Yeah they are trying to abolish that now I think. But you know the front row style. I like having my skis facing me at the lift. I was in the row already.

Johnny B: Yes.

Sage: It's cool! It's the first day. It was a pow day that I had here. And I was ripping around with all the Collins boys and McReynolds and all these people.

Johnny B: All the heavies.

Sage: Yes I was gaped.

Johnny B: Yes.

Sage: I'm here skiing. No way.

Johnny B: A little bit awestruck.

Sage: Why did it take me so long to find this? That first year was probably the best. It was the first year that I was able to ski almost every day, living five minutes from the lift. So a lot changed that year. Skiing a lot.

Johnny B: Yes. Boy, it changes all of us. Doesn't it?

Sage: Skied a lot that year.

Johnny B: So you worked at the Peruvian?

Sage: Yeah, the Peruvian was a good place.

Johnny B: We all know you did dishes at the Peruvian. What do you have to say to all the dishwashers that want to follow you into the world of professional free skiing?


Sage: Well, I'd say my philosophy was just work hard and ski hard. And whatever happens, happens.

Johnny B: Have you ever heard the legendary stories of John Wade skiing all day. And then staying up and doing dishes all night.

Sage: Definitely! There's so many legendary dish dog stories. And the dish pit it seems like there's always hardcore skiers come out of there. People who are just there to ski aren't working as a chef trying to work on their chef skills.

Johnny B: Yes.

Sage: Or in the dining room trying to become a better waiter.

Johnny B: You're not trying to become a better dishwasher. You're trying to become a better skier.

Sage: You're just there to get a job done so you can ski.

Johnny B: I hear you there. Who taught you how to ski? And what was your fondest childhood memory of skiing taking it back?

Sage: Well I grew up at Targhee. I was on the ski team right away. I went to school and our school had a program that brought us skiing once a week. And so that was the original.

When I first started going out on skis, my mom took me out and the school is taking me out. And then I was on the ski team by 5th grade or so. And so the coach at the ski team really taught me the fundamentals of skiing. But Targhee wasn't a really good race hill because we get so much pow similar to Alta, Utah and Alta, Wyoming. It's same thing. Gets dumped on a lot.

After a while, after learning the fundamentals of skiing, it was really fun to get racing. It was like am I really going to slip this four inches of powder off the soft groomer so that I can race gaits or am I going to go ski around. My favorite memory is just once I started. I had that knowledge of ski fundamentals. And then it was just cruising around, skiing powder, jumping off stuff. And there was lots of good stuff to jump off at Targhee.

Johnny B: So you took your little technical skills and just started buttering all the powder.

Sage: Yeah, it was more like I was just going skiing. But it was like I knew how because of that race. I didn't realize it then, I was like "this stupid racing stuff, I'm over it" but looking back not too long after, "Oh boy I'm glad I did that."

Johnny B: Turns out it's a good background for you.

Sage: Yeah yeah some fondest memory in Targhee is just pointing it through the crud, through the pow. Going fast.

Johnny B: Just Sage unleashed as a young child. Which leads me to my next question regarding powder skiing. What do you love the most about powder skiing Sage?


Sage: Yeah um, Pow. I love everything about powder skiing. The way the snow flies up and hits you in the chest and the arms and the face when you're in a turn. Or mostly the way it feels silent. And it feels like your floating underneath you feet. When you're on the hard pack you have that cool grip and connection where your edges are grabbing a hold of the snow.

Johnny B: Engaged.

Sage: Engaged exactly. But in powder you're like not touching anything. And just that feeling of floating. It's like you never forget it but when you haven't skied pow in a little while and you all of a sudden get in some, whether its an inch of pow or 10 feet of pow, you're feeling like, "Oh yeah!" This is what it's like. Just that soft, quiet.

Johnny B: Such great feeling. I tell everybody that it doesn't matter what kind of snow it is as long as it's not making noise.

Sage: Right. Exactly. That silent.

Johnny B: All right. Tell us Sage, what does Alta mean to you? What has it meant to you all this time?

Sage: I'd say Alta to me pretty much synonymous with the feeling of home. And maybe because I was lucky I grew up in Alta, Wyoming. And that was home for me for a while. Transition to Alta, Utah and Alta Ski Area just feels like home.

And I lived up there for a few years and so that's really comforting. Now even though I don't live right in Alta I still feel like that's my home resort.

Johnny B: It is.

Sage: That's where I go. When it's pow day, I'm getting to Alta.

Johnny B: That's where you'll be.

Sage: It's one of my favorite little nooks and cranny, pow, stashes, jumps and pits are.

Johnny B: Well there it is folks. This is Johnny B for with special guest Sage Cattabriga-Alosa. Sage I really appreciate it. Good to see you again!

Sage: Good to see you! Thanks a lot.

Johnny B: Thank you. Take care brother.

Sage: Yeah.

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