Memoirs of a Competitive Skiing College Student

Bevan Waite |

Tucker Vollbrecht’s 2015-16 Season Edit = Rowdy

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be on a college freeride team that travels to 8 freeride world qualifier comps during the season?  Or what it would be like to be continually pushed to your limits by your peers, coaches and competitors to go full-send 100% of the time?   Well wonder no longer as you are about to see the result of all those things in Tucker Vollbrecht’s latest season edit.  His progress in one year is astounding.  We are impressed.

Read about Tucker’s experience training and traveling in cramped quarters with his equally rowdy teammates below.

The crew

“Prying my eyes open at 5 a.m. in complete darkness, I stumbled across ski bags and gear tossed into duffle bags the night before.  I hurried out into an empty hallway, down the stairs, and out the door and was promptly blasted by the frigid winter Gunnison air. It’s the same routine every big mountain competitor repeats for each trip, but when I round the corner to where my team waits the energy immediately changes. Half the Western State Freeride Team is already at the van, jamming skis and bags into every nook and cranny trying preserve precious legroom. Cold and tired, we’re collectively in it together and the mood improves every time a new face comes around the corner.


A few hours into a twenty-something hour drive to Canada we roll into a sketchy gas station in the middle of nowhere. The team swarms the convenience store for snacks. Although traveling together in a small, cramped space can be grueling, it builds friendships and connections like I’ve never experienced.


Up on the mountain the camaraderie is even stronger. The team pre-inspects the venue together, sharing thoughts and ideas on various line choices and encouraging each other with positive vibes. Every athlete is nervous and scared standing in the start of a comp run, but having coaches and teammates by your side is calming and reassuring. Whether you stomp your run or crash, there’s always someone at the bottom giving out high-fives and hugs.


The freeride community is small, the stoke runs deep and everyone is friendly and supportive. Having a team surrounding you makes it that much better. Shared meals, victories, defeats and injuries, we’re in it together, cheering each other on with plenty of laughs, high-fives and hugs.”


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