Skier Profile: The Legendary Sammy Carlson

Jesse | BackcountryBackcountry | BrainsBrains
Sammy C
Sammy C boosting off pillows in Revelstoke, British Columbia! Image: Instagram

Sammy Carlson is a 32-year-old professional skier from Portland, Oregon with some of the best style the sport has ever witnessed. Growing up near Mt. Hood, Sammy began his skiing career at a young age with his family and local riders. Not only was Sammy the first skier to land a switch triple rodeo 1260, but he also landed the “world’s first-ever triple cork“. Carlson has an extensive history of riding in the park, but he is now known for his tremendous pillow-riding and surfing abilities in the backcountry.

Sammy Carlson has an affluent collection of X-Games medals from the 17 competitions in which he has competed. He is a four-time X-Games gold medalist, two-time silver medalist, and two-time bronze medalist. In both 2007 and 2009, Carlson won the silver medal for the men’s skiing SlopeStyle competitions, going head to head with Candide Thovex. Then, in 2010 and 2011, Carlson took home the bronze medals for the men’s SlopeStyle and men’s ski Big Air competitions. Finally, at the 2011 men’s SlopeStyle event, Sammy took home his first X-Games gold medal, earning himself a winning score of 93.33. Additionally, on top of all the medals he took home from Aspen, CO, Sammy won gold in 2013 and 2014 for his X-Games Real Ski video parts filmed in the backcountry.

**WATCH: Sammy C’s Gold Medal Real Ski Video

During the Big Air finals at the 2012 X-Games, Sammy attempted a triple cork 1620 but ended up coming down with a torn MCL in his right knee. Because it was only partially torn, Carlson did not need to receive surgery. Instantly, he began to work on his recovery and coming back as a stronger skier. As cited in his documentary, The Sammy C Project, Carlson’s injury allowed him to realize that skiing is more about being with nature than anything else. Throughout the process of his recovery, Sammy worked thoroughly on fundamental movements and technicalities within skiing. Sammy began to focus on becoming a backcountry skier and shifted away from intense competition. In the time since Sammy has become one of the world’s most influential backcountry skiers and can still be spotted at his local Mt. Hood from time to time.

SAmmy Ski
Sammy throwing down! Image: Instagram

“The further I get away from competitions the more I like to stay away and enjoy doing my own thing”.

Alaska, British Columbia, and Japan are some of Sammy’s favorite spots to get in the backcountry. He enjoys skiing steep terrain, deep powder, massive pillows, and pioneering new tricks that no one else would have ever thought of. The floaty tricks that he can pull off in the air combined with his surfy style on the snow make for a pleasure to watch. There are endless videos of Sammy riding in the backcountry, and watching these is truly the only way to explain his unique style. The way that this legend boosts and bounces off of ginormous pillow sections is jaw-dropping and simply unbelievable to the point that the viewer doesn’t even know how to react.

Even Sammy’s filmers must be amazed at some of the tricks he achieves and the terrain that he rides. Among his several films, Carlson has worked with Poor Boyz Productions, Teton Gravity Research, and other producers such as Todd Jones, Greg Epstein, and Casper Mazzotti. His most famous film is The Sammy C Project (2015) which features a segment of him jumping from a 24-story ramp. He is also featured in the movies Out of Bounds Mountain Adventure, Ruin and Rose, and Under the Influence. Other notable films of his can be found for free on YouTube and include Resilience, Over Time, and Rejoice. Watching Sammy Carlson ski is poetic justice. His story is inspiring, his skiing is incredible, and his love for the sport is genuine.

Sammy flying
A bird? A plane? Superman? Nope. Just Sammy C! Image: Instagram

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