Pep Fujas is one of the most versatile freestyle skiers in the world. He took X Games silver in 2003. He’s won “Breakthrough Performer,” “Best Powder” and “Best Trick” at the Powder Video Awards. He’s a regularly featured athlete in Poor Boyz Productions films and in 1997 he founded film production company Nimbus Entertainment with skiers Eric Pollard, Andy Mahre and Chris Benchetler.
Sound awesome? We thought so, too, and were able to chat with him to get the inside scoop on everything, from the time he first hucked himself off of something, all the way to what he’s up to now. Enjoy!
We’d love to learn more about your life story! When and where did you first get involved in skiing? How long was it before you realized you wanted to compete? I began skiing when I was a couple years old with the help of my family and friends in southern Oregon but didn’t start going consistently until I was 6 or 7. Then the mountain became my day care whenever I could find a ride or take the town ski bus. Growing up, I wasn’t into competing. I was more into just shredding the mountain and having fun. I was pretty independent, liked riding with my friends or just charging solo. I think I mostly rode solo, met up with people on the lift and they turned into my shred buddies for the day. My hometown of Mt. Ashland was pretty small and if you went regularly, I probably knew you. My friends Adam and Miranda Briggs were coaching the local high school race team, so every once in a while I’d go train with them or ski with guys that were better then me instead of racing. Eventually my friend Zach Rote convinced me to join the Mount Ashland Racing Association when I was 12. I raced, did pretty well and decided I wanted to pursue skiing. My parents offered to pay for college or boarding school, so I chose a boarding school in Steamboat Springs, Colorado called the Lowell Whiteman School where I could train and compete. I chose moguls and smashed bumps for 4 years.
What was the first thing you hucked yourself off of? Do you remember what went through your mind as you were going off of it? Did you land it? I really don’t have a clue and I’m sure I didn’t land it. I grew up on a farm, had a trampoline and hucked myself of things regularly. I’m pretty sure something like, “This is going to be super awesome if I land it.” was going through my head.
Who did you admire the most growing up, and who do you look up to now? I admired my peers mostly, local hometown rippers. Now I look up to these guys who have made a real mark on skiing and continue to enjoy every day.
What’s been your most memorable moment in skiing so far? I’d say dropping into my first line in Alaska. That was the ultimate!
What’s your training regimen like? Do you try and stay on snow year round, or do you switch to other sports to stay fit in the summer? As soon as the snow starts melting I’ll be out on my bike, or booking a trip to a sandy beach for some surfing and to replenish my vitamin D stores. I also climb, hike, fish and do yoga. In the past I’d go to the gym and go through various workouts, but I prefer to be outdoors doing activities that train your mind as well as your body.
What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had and how did it happen? The worst injuries I’ve had are torn knee ligaments, and all three times I’ve ended up with them, the stories are pretty boring. The first time I was on a scaffolding jump in Zurich, and it was warm and slushy. I landed a little off balance, so I thought I’d revert real quick before the transition at the bottom of the landing ramp. My right leg caught in the slush and I went through the compression on one leg while twisted up. Pop went the weasel.
What are you up to these days? Right now I am up at the K2 Rotor Lodge in Nakusp doing some Heli Skiing with CMH. They put on a Steep Shots and Pillow Drops program where anyone can sign up and come Heli skiing with a K2 Pro. You also receive a free pair of the skis of your choice from K2. It’s a pretty rad program since everyone involved is a fairly proficient rider and thus we can get into some challenging terrain and send it. It’s not actually my week right now, it’s The Mahre’s (Andy Mahre) so I’m “testing” skis. Today is supposed to be double over snorkel out there, so the guides have gone out to check stability. Hopefully we can get out.
How often do you travel, and what does a typical day on the road look like for you? Haha… The better question is, how often don’t I travel. I packed up about three weeks ago and am planning on being on the road until April. When I’m actually on the road I’m listening to music or an audio book. Listening to Steinbeck’s East of Eden right now. Usually, I like to get to where I’m going so I stop only to get gas or in an emergency situation.
Are there any places you’ve been dying to ski, but haven’t had the chance to yet? The Tordrillos, Alaska, but I will be heading up there in April, so that chance is rapidly approaching. I’d really like to ski on the southern tip of South America called the Tierra Del Fuego. I hear it’s majestic!
20 years from now, what do you want to be remembered for? I guess I not too concerned with what I am remembered for in particular. I love being in the mountains, having fun and not taking life too seriously. If I can influence others to do the same, that would be most excellent.
Okay, and a few more quick questions before we go! What is…
- your all-time favorite ski film? Idea by Eric Iberg
- your go-to breakfast before a big day on the slopes? Over easy eggs on toast with avocado, salsa and YUMM sauce with hashbrowns and bacon, or fruit, granola and yogurt.
- your go-to après drink after a long day on the slopes? Anything cold and on tap.
- your favorite run or mountain? Wolverine, Haines, AK.
- your favorite thing to do for fun, outside of skiing? Tie between dirt biking, mountain biking and surfing.
- your biggest guilty indulgence? Movie theatre popcorn with butter… or whatever they put on it.
- the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen from a chairlift? Nothing with any serious shock value comes to mind. In Japan this past year I saw about 5 people walking down a green circle groomer, not even sliding on their snowboards.
- the origin of your name, ‘Pep’? My great grand father was named Pepperrell Wheeler and everyone called him Pep. He was an adventurer, shot the 2nd largest musk ox in the world (not the first), and mapped Labrador with my grandmother amongst a variety of other things. He’s was a badass, so hopefully I can live up to the name some day.
Have any other questions for Pep? Share them in the comments below!