Amie Engerbretson: Warren Miller Debut, Powder Award and Our Snow Bunny of the Month

Amie Engerbretson is made her mark on the map in 2015. You may have seen her at your recent local Warren Miller release party for Chasing Shadows or accepting her recent Powder award. Her stunning smile is hard to miss and her killer skiing style leaves you wanting to be chasing her shadow all over her home mountain in Squaw Valley. We were able to catch up with her to chat about her goals for this year’s season during one of her rare down times between teaching barre classes, contributing to non-profits and being an all around badass babe.

SB: You grew up in Tahoe, where do you call home now?AmieEngerbretson_bigsky2014-542

AE: I still luckily call Tahoe home! I currently live in Truckee, CA, however, in the winter I suppose it is safer to say I call my Subaru home. This winter, I was on the road powder chasing a lot and only ended up spending one week of the winter in Tahoe (and putting over 10,000 miles on my car)!

SB: Sounds like you’re pretty happy in Tahoe. What keeps you there rather than the bigger mountains in Europe or South America? Any desire to spend time abroad?

AE: Tahoe is a great place for year-round living. The community vibe there is amazing and when it snows, Squaw is still my favorite place to shred. I love visiting all the exotic mountains of the world and would always consider living abroad if it was the right fit, but I also love coming home. Cali is great too. You have just about any climate you desire within a three hours drive and that is hard to beat!IMG_4785

SB: Who are your sponsors?

AE: K2 Skis, Flylow Gear, Smith Optics, Marker Bindings, Backcountry Access, Discrete Headwear, and Corbeaux.

SB: Tell us about skiing with your dad, Jeff Engerbretson. It’s every bunny’s dream to have a proskier for a dad! Were all family vacations to other mountains? Was Disneyland even an option?

AE: Skiing with my dad is awesome. He is literally my favorite ski partner and so much of the skier I am is because of what I have learned from him. We know each other very well and sometimes we can communicate without even talking. I guess our minds are on the same page. He is great at pushing me. He knows my limits and he knows how much I can push them. I think he really enjoys watching my progression as a skier. Plus, it makes him keep stepping up his game! We didn’t really do family vacations growing up. I grew up in a vacation spot, why leave?

SB: Did you ever feel pressure to live up to your father’s name as a pro-skier, either then or now?

AE: Totally! But I feel it is more of an honor than anything. My dad is an incredible skier and I look up to him more than any other skier. I feel privileged to have learned how to ski from him and to get to ski/work with him now. When someone tells me a ski like my dad, it is the greatest compliment.

SB: Who are some of your favorite lady skiers that help to push you in your skiing career?

AE: Seriously, all of them. There are so many women just killing it in the ski industry these days and it is so inspiring to me to see it growing. Elyse Saugstad has always been a huge inspiration and mentor to me. We are great friends and she is the best female skier in the game. Watching her ski in real life, and in movies, motivates me to constantly step up my game and dream big. I feel very lucky to call so many amazing female skiers friends. I cherish all the girl chats over vino, chairlift rides, and runs I get to share with them. Women are amazing when they band together and I love being a part of that in the industry.

SB: How do you remind yourself to uplift and not compete against fellow women in the sport?

AE: You know this is a hard one. Resources are limited in the ski industry which makes it feel like there are very few “spots” for women. Sometimes, it would be easier to just get jealous or bad mouth someone but I try to remind myself that one woman succeeding ultimately helps all women succeed. That being said, it is a fine line to walk with how you represent yourself as a female athlete. I love to dress up and be sexy but it is very easy to exploit that for professional gains. I try to be very conscious of how I walk that line. There are definitely some women in the industry who have a different take, which is fine for them. I love to ski with girls, I work and travel with a lot of women but I try to surround myself with women who have similar ideals about representation.

SB: What do you do to entertain yourself in the summer? How do you keep yourself in shape?

AE: I love to mountain bike and spend a lot of time on the trail. It is a great way to get outside, see beautiful mountain terrain and it is great cross training for skiing both physically and mentally. I run, hike, paddleboard, and surf whenever I can. I also teach barre workouts at The Bar Effect studio in Truckee. It is an awesome low impact high intensity workout that I love to share with others as much I love to do it. I, of course, also hit the gym! When it come to staying in shape, my philosophy is keep it fun and mix it up!

IMG_4243SB: How did you get involved in the High Fives Foundation?

AE: The High Fives Foundation is an amazing charity in the Tahoe area and I have become good friends with founder, Roy Tuscany, over the years. High Five’s First athlete and employee, Steve Wallace, is my roommate and one of my closest friends. I love helping High Fives and attending as many events as possible. They are a great resource and have helped so many people in our sport. It is nice knowing they are there when the going get’s tough.

SB: When did you start to get into yoga? How do you feel it benefits your skiing career?

AE: I started practicing yoga about 5 years ago and I would still call myself a novice. I credit Sherry McConkey and her athlete focused yoga classes at the High Fives CR Johnson Healing Center for really opening my eyes to the benefits of yoga. Obviously as a skier, I am always tight and tweaked, so stretching is key. I also think the isometric strengthening in yoga is a great additive to all the other strength training I do. I love that pretty much every mountain town has a few great yoga studios so, throughout the winter, yoga is the one thing I really keep up with. It is also great to have a space to breath and clear my mind because I tend to lead a fast paced high adrenaline life and I need some balance!

SB: Do you use skiing as a form of meditation? Any advice for first time meditators? Any favorite mantras?

AE: Again, I would say I am a novice when it come to meditation but, yes, skiing can absolutely be a time for me to clear my head. I love when you have a quiet chairlift to yourself, I find myself having these great inner dialogues during these times. Sometimes I am just sitting there, watching the beautiful world go by through my goggles and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. It can be a very peaceful and uplifting experience for me. I also find the skin track to be a great place for thoughtfulness. Sometimes when I am skinning, my mind comes up with my most productive ideas, other times it is totally quiet. Either way, it is great.Skier Amie Engerbretson  Location Squaw Valley

SB: How do you find time to spend time in the gym when you are either, skiing, modeling or donating your time to non-profits?

AE: I am actually not a huge gym person. Most of my workouts tend to be stuff I can do anywhere with a little bit of space. I focus on isometric, bodyweight exercises mixed with plyometrics and when I add in some easy traveling accessories like a resistance band, there is a lot I can do anywhere. My body is my greatest tool and I make it a priority, on par with a job, to keep in in shape. I need my body to be in top operating function to have fun doing what I do but also to stay safe.

SB: Tell us about your modeling career. What products are you usually modeling?

AE: My modeling career, if you can call it that, is very sports and outdoor focused. I started modeling as a hobby and still think of it as such. Most of the photoshoots I do revolve around a sport, which is great! I just get to go mountain biking, paddling, running. All things I love to do and get paid to do them! It seems like a no brainer to me. I have an athletic body type, so I do like being able to promote the image of a healthy female body. I don’t try to change myself to be a better model. I stay in shape to be healthy and be able to do all the sports I love and my body reflects that. I also enjoy the photoshoot process in terms of working with photographers. Shooting action sports is always a funny challenge and I like that!

SB: What advice would you give to the girls just getting started in the ski comp circuit?

AE: I think for female skiers starting out on the journey of becoming a professional skier, my first advice would be to ski as much as possible, as often as possible, and to ski with skiers that are better than you. Always listen to advice from the people around you as well. You don’t always have to take it, but if your ears are open, you might catch some great stuff. Also, stay true to yourself and believe in yourself.

Being a skier, especially as a woman, can be very strenuous on your self esteem. There is a lot of inherit judgement when you are a professional athlete so, you need to be confident to your core to manage that. The key is to remember who you are, what you stand for, what you are trying to accomplish and not take the criticism too personally.

Lastly, ski with dudes for sure! Skiing is not a uni-gender sport and skiing with men can really open your eyes to possibilities. At the same time, support the other ladies. It is easy to find yourself wrapped up in the high school-esque catty atmosphere that can arise. I, of course, battle this too but always try to be supportive and rise above it. All this can be easier said than done, but they are things I try to remind myself of.

SB: What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always want to be a proskier/barre instructor/yogi/mountain biker renaissance woman?

AE: I had no idea really. Something in production or marketing but definitely not what I am doing now! I had no idea I would be a pro skier when I graduated high school. It was maybe a pipe dream my whole life but not something I ever thought would be a reality. At one point in my life, I saw myself doing something much more settled and conventional. With all the growing that happens in your early 20’s, I found that the mountains and action sports were at the core of my soul and that I didn’t want to be tied down to anything specific. I am so lucky to have the lifestyle I do-few commitments and tons of adventure. I am grateful for this time in my life. I know it may not always be this way, so I try to take full advantage!IMG_4846

SB: A lot of girls think that the term “proskier” means that you just shred and the paychecks come piling in. Care to set the record straight?

AE: Paychecks? What paychecks? No, I am lucky to get support from my sponsors. They enable me to chase my dreams. That being said, I am in no way making my living from skiing. Beyond that, being a “pro skier” is a lot of work. I would say 99% of those “all time” pow days, I spend more of the day hiking up than skiing down. Shooting is a lot of work, both hiking and patience wise. Beyond that, it is a lot of effort to make sure you are maximizing your exposure. I treat my ski career as a business. When I want to do a trip, I write proposals, draft budgets and measure the ROI for brands. Resources in the industry are tight so, I think being professional really helps.

SB: Why do you consider action shoots to be such a challenge?

Well, skiing, specifically, is a hard beast to capture. So many things have to be perfect. It’s not like we can set up a studio, adjust the lights and get the shot. First, you have to have the perfect snow, the right terrain, great light and then you have to look killer in the perfect place… Oh yeah, plus you only have one shot. Often times, you have to hike a lot, you are up before the sun, freezing cold and there tends to be a lot of waiting around. When you consider all of these challenges, actually getting that perfect shot is crazy rare and thus very rewarding.

bigsky2014-1199SB: What do you see next for yourself? Any projects in the works?

AE: Right now, I am still basking in the overwhelming joy of such a great season. I had a lot of major dreams come true this year, the top being filming in Alaska.  I am just wrapped up in gratitude from that. Unfortunately, I seem to now be a little addicted to the whole Alaska thing. So, I would say a big goal for next year will be to go back. Beyond that, I am trying to film more and more. Skiing wise, I am always trying to push myself with bigger lines, bigger cliffs and tricks(gotta land a backflip)! The other main thing I want to work on is my style in skiing. I am confident in my charging abilities but I love stylish skiers and I want to incorporate more of that in my own skiing.

SB: What do you want to work on improving in the upcoming year(s)?

AE: Everything! My goal is to always find ways to be a better human being. I have plenty of room to improve on in my personal fronts. Be it compassion, patience, peacefulness, altruism, grace. My list can go on. There are endless things I am trying to improve on.

About Whitney Chandler

I am a Colorado native with an unfettering love for the West. I grew up riding, hiking, biking and climbing the Rocky Mountains and am looking forward to exploring what Idaho has to offer since moving here in August of 2014.
I am a recent graduate of Colorado Mountain College with a Bachelor’s in Sustainability Studies. I want to ensure that these mountains are still providing epic seasons for future generations to enjoy. While holding down jobs at Moon’s Kitchen and Java in Hyde Park, I enjoy writing about environmental issues, stories that empower women and poetry.