The Former Governor of New Mexico May Be The Most Unique Presidential Candidate in The Field. We Hereby Endorse His Campaign Trail.
Last week, I joined Gary Johnson, the 58-year-old former governor of New Mexico and aspiring Republican presidential nominee, for a run down Tuckerman Ravine, on Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Johnson, who formally announced his White House bid on Thursday, April 21, wanted to ski Tuck’s as a way to “unwind” from two stressful days campaigning in New Hampshire, and to provide a chance for media to see him in his element, which might often be described as “lethal mountains.”
Whatever you think of Johnson as a politician (fiscally conservative, socially tolerant Libertarian who supports legalizing marijuana and same-sex unions), there’s no disputing his badassness as an outdoor athlete. He summited Everest in 2003, has completed several Ironman triathlons, and has won his age group at the grueling Breck Epic mountain bike stage race. He loves to ski, and he rips expert terrain like a pro. I’ve tried to keep up with Johnson on his home turf at Taos, NM, and it’s not easy. “I was kind of a ski bum ski instructor when I was younger,” he told me on our way to Mount Washington. “I’ve been trying to convince myself that there’s something better in life than skiing, but I can assure you, after years of looking, there isn’t.”
Johnson takes skiing as seriously as he does everything else he’s applied himself to—running state affairs, building a construction company, climbing Everest—and the day we visited Tuck’s was serious business. I was the only “media” to make the full climb with him (the only other two to make the run were Mike Babcock, a lawyer and Johnson campaign volunteer from Manhattan, and Ryan Hunter, a friend and competitive freeskier from Park City), and all I can say is I was glad I brought my ice ax: the headwall was damn steep and frozen solid.