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Skiing with Laird Hamilton

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Winter Travel Guide 1996

Skiing with Laird Hamilton
By Paul Kvinta


Occupation: Big-Wave Kahuna

Favorite Places to Ski: “Wherever they don’t have rules and regulations.” That means heli-skiing in places like the Chugach Mountains near Valdez, Alaska–“Seventy-five feet of base snow. Yeah, some spots are pretty dangerous”–or the Caucasus Mountains near the Black Sea–“A big Russian helicopter just hovers us over, the trap door flies open, and
we fly out the back.”

Favorite Ski Partner: Noted French extreme skier Dominique Pierre. “Without a doubt, he’s the world’s most psychotic skier. I kinda like that. But I’ll go with anyone who’s got a balls-out philosophy.”

Greater Fear–Skiing Wipeouts or Surfing Wipeouts? “Basically, other than when an avalanche buries you, you can’t drown on a mountain. Mountains don’t move. Now waves, man, they move. Every wave is an avalanche.”

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