Emmett Seely first strapped on some snow skis and hit the slopes when he was 7 years old.
By the age of 10, he was a member of the Sugar Bowl Ski team and chasing thrills only the bravest skiers dare to attempt.
“To scare yourself is fun,” Seely said.
Now, Seely is a 16-year-old sophomore at Nevada Union and regularly places in the top 10 in big mountain ski events.
The extreme sport of big mountain skiing involves descending large, steep mountain faces at high speeds.
Most recently, Seely finished the 2012-13 season with a third-place finish in the Junior Freeride World Championships at Snowbird, Utah.
Competing against nearly 60 other big mountain skiers from around the world, Seely was judged on his fluidity down the mountain, the line he takes, his technique and style.
“I try to get high scores on everything,” he said. “My friends say I have a lot of style.”
Seely finished with a score of 158.67, just two points behind the second-place finisher, Christian Kinnison. Sam Schwartz won the event with a score of 163.
In addition to finishing third, Seely was chosen for the Freemountain Award, the second time he’s received the award this season.
“They pick an athlete that they like their skiing and how they pick lines and that kind of thing,” he said. “If you win it one time, you get a free pair of skies and a boots, and if you win it a second time, you get a full sponsorship.”
With the latest honor came a full sponsorship with Blizzard skis and Technica Boots.
The key to being a successful big mountain skier is picking the right line and not letting fear get the best of you, Seely said.
“You have two days to inspect (the course) before you go,” he said. “You get to know your line pretty well, and while you’re skiing down, it’s just remembering where you are and where you need to go next.”
As for staring down the mountain before dropping in: “At the top, you just try to relax and not really think about it,” he said. “Then you drop in, and while you’re skiing, you just try to have fun and remember where you’re going.”
Big mountain skiing is Seely’s passion, and he will continue to indulge it as long as possible, he said.
With college still a few years off, Seely already has plans to match up his passion with his education.
“I definitely want to go somewhere I can ski,” he said.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.