One of the newest Folsom Skis team members, Mike Sampson hails from the Live Free state (New Hampshire), but resides full time in Carbondale, CO. While he may be carry larger clout in the mountain bike world, Mike rips harder than most on skis as well. We had a chance to catch up with Mike to chat skis, bikes, and much more…
First off, Mike or Mikey?
Yes. (I prefer Mike, but a ton of people call me Mikey).
Okay, tell us a bit about yourself and your ski background
I grew up in New Hampshire (east coast boi) skiing every weekend, and would travel throughout the east in the winter ski racing from a young age. In high school I went to a ski academy (Waterville Valley Academy) which basically meant that all winter I skied 6 days a week training and ski racing, and in the summer I would usually go to a ski racing camp in New Zealand or Chile for a couple weeks out of the summer. Life pretty much revolved around skiing for most of the year! After high school I started racing mountain bikes professionally in the spring, summer, fall, and stuck to skiing resort and backcountry for fun in the winter.
Instagram (and other highly credible sources) would imply that you’re more known for your biking than your skiing, what’s your status on a bike and how’d you get there?
I am currently a “professional” mountain biker, I put that in quotes because it always feels a little funny saying that… In my mind I just ride and race my bike haha. After high school I moved to CO to go to school and race bikes. For 6-7 years I traveled around the country racing at the highest level in the US. I also got to race a handful of XC mountain bike World Cups, which was a really cool experience because you’re literally racing the best in the World. Now I pick and choose what races and adventures seem like they’re going to be a good time… Fun is key!
How has biking influenced your skiing (if it has at all)?
Biking has definitely expanded my need for adventure, and led to me developing a certain level of experience in the backcountry that compliments skiing well. When I get out into the backcountry I feel at home… You still need to stay vigilant any time you venture into the backcountry, but it certainly helps to have a developed skillset that you can rely on when it comes to making split second decisions.
What brought you from NH to CO, and what’s it like living in the RFV (Roaring Fork Valley) specifically?
College brought me to Colorado… I knew that I had to move somewhere that had amazing biking and skiing.
Touring vs. resort? And why?
If I could only have one… it’d have to be touring to fulfill that sense of adventure. But I’m a big fan of both. I’m way too ADHD to be able to do just one discipline. I like to do ‘em all. Same goes for biking.
Tell us about your experience on both the Primary 104 (Blister Pro) as well as the Rad Dad
The Primary 104 was my first experience with Folsom Skis (and custom skis in general) and I was blown away by how stiff/snappy/supportive they are. This retired ski racer learned backflips on the Primary 104! But the ski I was REALLY excited about was the Rad Dad. On paper it’s basically a GS ski that can party. As a former racer I couldn’t say no. So far it’s been exactly that… a GS ski that can party. You can smash moguls, crud, jumps… whateva. And they RIP groomers too… hip dragging for days.
How about the graphic on your Rad Dads, what’s the story behind that art?
I wanted to pay homage to the east coast with my graphics, and everyone knows that I love maple syrup, so I started making the graphics with my limited artistic abilities. I realized that my art skills weren’t going to cut it, so I had my friend Jane Rossi (who’s an incredible artist) draw up some designs for me. She nailed it. We’ve got a tapped maple tree pouring out maple syrup onto a pile of pancakes on the top end of the ski. At the bottom there’s a NH sugar shack (which is where maple sap is boiled and made into maple syrup), there’s a NH logo on the sugar shack that is straight off of a bottle of NH maple syrup. Jane crushed it.
Plans for the rest of the summer as well as the 21/22 season?
For the rest of the summer I’ll be racing and riding bikes all over. A friend and I are going on a bike packing trip to Guatemala which should be a good time. Winter plans: adventure more, ski as much as possible, and have fun. YEEHAW!
You can (try to) catch Mikey skiing around Aspen next season, or for now, follow along with his adventures via his Instagram here.