Daniel Tisi

Daniel Tisi

Daniel Tisi

Big Mountain Breakthrough

Daniel Tisi

Daniel Tisi first stepped into ski boots at age four. His parents, who had just moved the family here from Virginia, enrolled Daniel and older brother Jackson in ski school at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR). “I loved skiing right away,” says Tisi, who also loves coconut water, hates crabcakes, and is sponsored by Line Skis, Patagonia, Smith Optics, Full Tilt, and JHMR. At eight, he entered his first freeskiing competition. He won. At twelve, in 2011, Tisi caught the wider ski world’s attention by winning Grand Prize and a chance to appear in a Teton Gravity Research film in TGR’s Grom Contest. The annual contest is open to kids seventeen and under who submit edits of themselves skiing. Now fifteen and a high school freshman, Tisi h­as been featured in three TGR films and also movies by Storm Show Studios and Full Room Productions. His GPA has never dipped below 3.7.

Q: Is it inspiring or intimidating to ski for the camera?

A: Skiing and being filmed is always inspiring because of the excitement and adrenaline. I love the rush, and there is nothing better! I always ski for myself, though. I never do something just because there is a camera. I always ask myself, “Would I do this on a regular day with my friends?” I believe in a healthy limit when pushing your abilities.

Q: Was it intimidating to do that huge air into Corbet’s for TGR’s The Dream Factory? TGR itself describes you as “airing it bigger than most grown men ever have.”

A: Yes, I was very scared. I wanted to land near where Max Hammer [an older, local TGR pro skier] did, but had the wrong trajectory. I was thinking a couple things: “Cool, this is huge,” but then I thought, “Oh shoot, I’m going to flat maybe.”

Q: Have you ever pushed your abilities too far? Hurt yourself? What happened?

A: Yes, I learned a big lesson. I was filming [for TGR] at a spot where I’d never aired before. I really wanted to do a double flip; I ended up over-rotating, smashed my head on ice, and concussed myself. I learned I shouldn’t go into a day of skiing expecting to do certain things—just move with the day and adapt to what’s happening.

Q: How many days do you ski a year?

A: At least one hundred.

Q: When you’re not skiing, what do you do?

A: I play soccer and strength train.

Q: Do your teachers have any idea what you do when you’re not in school?

A: Not at first. I went into my first year of filming with TGR in the seventh grade, and I called in sick a lot. They said, “Why are you always sick?” When they found out, they were like, “That’s why you’re gone so long.”

Q: Your brother is two years older than you. Do you guys ski together?

A: He’s a really good skier, and we ski together all the time. He loves the filming side of things and interns for TGR. I get really angry when he gives me advice on a shoot, so we keep our distance then.

Q: Future goals? Skiing and otherwise.

A: During high school, I would love to go to Alaska and shred some spines! I also love the idea of going to British Columbia for pillow skiing. I want to keep my grades up and plan to go to college immediately after high school. I’ll take the winter semester off to ski.

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