I had a goal and I went for it. I’m a better skier and person because of it.
We caught up with Jackson Hole Orage ambassador Rebecca Gerber to chat about birds, the best après ski in Jackson and sewing.
Orage: Hey Becca, nice to finally catch up. Where are you from?
Becca: A small farm town in Southern Maine.
Orage: Where do you live today?
Becca: Jackson Hole, WY.
Orage: Favorite run at Jackson hole?
Becca: Sorry, can’t tell you that one….
Orage: No one ever does! Argh. What pushed you to move to Jackson Hole
Becca: I actually moved to Jackson for a job as an avian research technician (studying birds) that I was offered after graduating college. It was a seasonal summer position and when it ended I had fallen in love with Jackson and there was no chance I was leaving before I spent at least a winter here. I worked at a ski shop that winter. I told my mom it would just be one season… five years later and I’m still here. At this point, I can’t imagine living somewhere that doesn’t have the possibility to ski (even if it’s a 20ft strip of slush) 12 months of the year.
Orage: What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Becca: Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild. It’s written by Renee Askins
Orage: What music do you listen to for music when skiing?
Becca: Depends what I’m skiing. Backcountry I’ll go without. If I’m boot packing in a stable location I’ll put on A Tribe Called Quest or something crazy like Tiesto to get the blood flowing. If I’m in bounds fooling around, probably A Tribe Called Quest, Odesza, or some 90s dance hits. For the in-bounds on a powder day… all the same stuff, many times nothing, but sometimes I’ll imagine my skiing in slow motion and I’ll throw on Tom Jones. You should try it.
Orage: Where is the best après ski in Jackson?
Becca: Well it was always the VC, but that is no longer. So now….Bodega. They have the best slushies ever…but I would not recommend having more than one.
Orage: You participated in a few events on the world freeride tour. How did that go?
Becca: It was an amazing experience. I didn’t place as well as I had hoped. In fact, I felt as though I skied terribly. It was a huge wake up call and reminder of the mental challenges of skiing. I earned so much respect for the mountains and for all of my fellow competitors. I had the opportunity to meet amazing people and was able to challenge myself in more ways than I thought possible. Big mountain ski comps are the real deal and I have so much admiration and respect for all the athletes that go back year after year. As if the comps weren’t enough of a challenge, training was non-stop, 4 days a week, and left me in tears some days. Even with that, and some humiliating comp runs, I had a goal and I went for it. I’m a better skier and person because of it.
Orage: What was your best day of skiing this season?
Becca: It was about a month ago in the Jackson Hole side country. We had 17″ reported overnight and my friend had gotten us on the early tram. After a couple laps we dropped into Corbets, where I had one of the better tomohawks I’ve had in a long time. No equipment was lost and my body was intact. I was stoked and my adrenaline was at an all time high. We continued on and went out to ski some of the deepest snow I’ve ever skied in my 27 years of skiing. Not much to say about that. We all know what the white room feels like. So, yeah, that was a pretty good day.
Orage: What gear are you riding on?
Becca: Blizzard. I’ve tried so many other skis and Blizzard continues to be the best. They carry you through anything and charge on any day, in any condition. I ski the Cochise on most days and the Bodacious on deep days.
Orage: What’s your favorite drink?
Becca: Coffee….. Or Budweiser.
Orage: I read that your mom plays the mandolin. Do you play any instruments?
Becca: I played piano for 8 years, but it’s better for everyone if we leave the musical talent to my mother.
Orage: What are your go to off-the-hill hobbies?
Becca: Depends on the season, but to name a couple: backpacking, kayaking, playing pool, and sewing. Yeah, I know… I sound like an old woman when I tell people I sew. I make a lot of my own clothing – dresses and button down shirts mostly but I’m always experimenting with new designs. It’s important for my sanity to have an indoor hobby during the winter for the times I can’t ski. It’s also very necessary for me to be able to get creative and it feels good to make something that is entirely unique.
Orage: I spotted a few pictures of birds on your Instagram. What’s up with that?
Becca: I spent numerous seasons researching birds; in Maine and out west. I’ve held, collected data, and released over 2000 birds. Some of my friends call me a crazy bird lady.
Orage: You sign your emails with skier, naturalist and life enthusiast. Please describe what a naturalist is.
Becca: To me, being a naturalist is simply loving nature and being fascinated with even the smallest things that exist. It means asking questions and wanting answers about the behaviors, shapes, and relationships that you observe. Did you know that the direction and speed in which a bee arrives to the hive tells the rest of the bees the exact location of a food source? Being curious is the best way to get somewhere worth going.
Orage: What is your main occupation outside of skiing (job or school)?
Becca: I work at Teton Science Schools. I help manage the ecotourism branch and work in registrations for all Science School programs.
Orage: Thank you so much for your time Becca! Where can people learn more about you?
Becca: Instagram : @becster88
I’m open to everyone: I love visitors so if you’re ever JH give me a shout!!