Greg Hill’s skiometer sometimes reaches values of national debts of all countries combined. In fact, he too raises his ceiling regularly to make sure his addiction is well and alive.
Greg (GregHill.ca) is best known for his vertical obsession in backcountry skiing and for his 2 million climbed then skied feet in exactly one year, in 2010. But he is human; therefore, there must be more to him than just skiing.
If you find some questions in this interview a bit “off” then that is OK because there has been too many same questions Greg had to answer before. (For more traditional answers see a clip from his TV interview below.)
Here goes the random shooting. Enjoy.
Q: How do you view life – a journey, a chance, responsibility, leave a mark…?
Life is about being happy, to simplify and be who you are. For me, happiness comes from challenging myself, being outdoors and having fun with my family and friends.
Q: Do you look back at things or events and wonder?
In a hundred years nothing I do will matter to anyone, so I can do what I want and be happy with that. Failure is fine, I prefer success but you have to fail to figure out how to succeed.
Q: In 2006-7, you attempted to ski 100 days of 10,000 feet days. You fell short. What was the result of that – learning, another journey, dissatisfied…?
It was a step in getting fast enough to try and ski 2 million. To accomplish my 2 mill I needed to be able to pull off lots of 10 thousand plus foot days. So I spent that season honing my endurance so I could do back to back big days and get used to the demands of such challenges.
I also learned about timing – I ended up running out of time that year and heading to England with my wife and daughter. If I had really wanted to I could have cancelled that trip and perhaps made it happen but I was happy with what I had done.
Q: What is your take on raising kids? Freedom, rules, values, education…?
I want my kids to grow up happy and confident in themselves, and to follow their passions. It does not have to be mine but I would really enjoy getting out and summiting some mountains with my kids one day.
Q: You did couple of ski mountaineering races some years ago and you did very well in North America. What do you think of skimo racing?
I really enjoyed my years in the ski mountaineering racing scene, but my main goal was always to explore around the races and ski mountaineer. So they were a great way to go to places I had never been to.
I am a competitive person and I enjoyed the game for awhile but I relied mostly on natural ability. Once I realized that I would need to train really hard to get fitter and that it would take away from my ski mountaineering adventures I pulled out.
So often I would be exploring the mountains around the race right up to the day and then race with a tired body – a psyched mind from what I had done but a tired body. So to further myself I would need to take those great adventures out and focus only on uphill speed with light skis. Which is great but not where my true passion lies.
Q: Do you have a favorite music style or a band? A favorite movie or a book?
Not really a musical guy, I enjoy music but I could drive the whole way to Vancouver and never put a song on. I enjoy reading and read a lot, all sorts.
Q: What did you do in 2011, the year after the 2 mill push?
Years ago, before I was a ski mountaineer I was a passionate rock climber, in 1999 I dislocated my shoulder and changed my path in life. But for over 11 years it had slowly gotten worse and needed some real help. Knowing that I would have no motivation for skiing after my year I organized it so that I could get surgery almost immediately after my feat. So I went under the knife.
Then, in early June I went back to Mt-Rainier, the first mountain I had attempted to climb when I was 18. So 18 years later I returned and skied off the summit, a 10 500 ft run on June 5th. Pretty unbelievable.
I also learned a new sport this summer – mountain biking. It was so great to start something fresh and progress. I bought a bad ass mountain bike and began shredding the mountains around Revelstoke. Having great mentors and fun trails made it really exciting.
And honestly, I toured about 5% of what I had in 2010.
Q: Your favorite booze?
Gin and Tonic.
Q: Do you have a desire to stand on top of mountains? Let’s say, go to Himalaya’s and climb 8000m peak. Or your mountain desires are mainly about skiing powder?
My desires are mainly about skiing nice lines in good snow. Any time I have gone higher the skiing has gotten pretty bad, a big exception to that is Mount Blanc. We managed to ski it in untracked powder conditions and it was amazing.
But I am interested in an 8000m line and what it does psychologically to people. The Himalayas must be amazing and should be a must visit on any ski mountaineers list.
Q: How much (how well) do you document your daily ski outings? Do you document the bigger ones more specially – those that had a bigger meaning for you?
I go through fits and bursts. For years I documented well, always writing the lines down on maps and recording the time and such. But then for 5 years I have run a blog which has been pretty well documented of all my great days.
When a day is boring and uneventful than I probably won’t write as much as a day where I summit a new mountain and shred a great line.
Q: Can you share your favorite 3 places/valleys/runs to ski?
I am not one to have favorites but obviously Revelstoke is my home and favourite ski place, there is so much available to ski around here. Whistler and the Coast Range have been my training grounds for years and I love the Spearhead. Then Las Lenas seemed pretty off the charts when I was there.
Q: What are your ski and mountain plans for years to come?
Lots of unskied lines and mountains await, I have a huge list of great mountains to climb and I hope to get to them all.
I would like to ski all the 3000m (10000 foot) mountains in the Selkirks. I have skied 30 of the 70 so I have lots waiting.
Greg’s TV interview from November 2010
Thank you Greg for letting us to peek inside your mind and sharing your thoughts.
To follow and get to know him even better visit his website GregHill.ca.