Advice on being fearless from someone who lives without fear

Advice on being fearless from someone who lives without fear

CultureAugust 01, 2017 By Ethan Desmond

Imagine yourself hanging 20 feet above ground, upside down, while your hair is gently being pulled by gravity. You're dangling in silence for what feels like an eternity, yet is only seconds to everyone watching. The cold wind gnaws at your face as you forcibly spin right-side-up, pushed forward by the momentum of going over fifteen miles an hour. Warm blood rushes forward. Finally, the ground forces itself at you while your feet align to connect once more with the earth. Adrenaline rapidly takes over every organ in your body. Repeat.

This is what it is like, in essence, to do a backflip on skis. By professional standards, the trick is amateur, but for many, this is an extremely difficult move to pull of. And for most, it's terrifying.

For Karl Munthe, one of the top collegiate skiers in the country — and a man seemingly immune to fear — it's another day in the office. Here he hands down some of his advice on how to overcome frightening situations, whether it be barreling down the steep slope of a mountain trail or waking up every morning to go to work.

So how long have you been skiing for?
Since I was 7 or something? I’m not really sure. I grew up in Norway and everyone skis. Its just been a regular part of my life for so long I kind of forgot.

What is the craziest spill you’ve ever taken?
At nationals 2 years ago, I under rotated a rodeo-five and thought I broke my ankle; it was just bruised really bad though. I also broke my collarbone on a super small rail the other year. That shit hurt.

How did you get that gnarly scar on your leg?
I was on a trampoline as a kid trying to do flips, I fucked up the landing and snapped my bone. It didn’t break skin, which the doctors said made it worse. It swelled up larger than my thigh dude. They had to cut me open and do a skin graph.

You don't wear a helmet when you ski. Why not?
When it’s really warm out it feels nice to ski without a helmet, but when conditions are rough or I’m at a competition I’ll wear a helmet.

What do your parents think about that?
They really hate it. My mom freaks out when she sees footage of me not wearing a helmet.

Tell me what is going through your mind before you try a new trick?
That I better land it. [laughs]

 

SKI FAST EAT ASS @gimmeanegg & @calvinsch #drinkbutter #nsfamous

A video posted by Karl Munthe (@karl.fm) on

Do you get nervous before getting big air?
Yeah, especially if it is a new trick or a trick I’m not comfortable with.

How do you overcome that fear?
Get hammered! I’m just kidding, I usually just yell 'YOLO!' and hope I don’t die. Its worked so far.

What is scarier to you jumps or rails?
I guess it’s a cost benefit analysis: If the chance of me landing exceeds a certain probability and the amount of fun I think it will be to do the trick is above a certain threshold then it will be worth the risk. But jumps are scarier and therefore more fun.

Are you worried about getting any kind of brain injury?
To some degree I am, but similarly, I’m always a little worried when driving. Like if the road is slippery you are going to be extra cautious, and if the conditions are scary when skiing or the trick is scary you kinda do a quick risk analysis and see if the risk you are going to take is worth it.

What are you scared of outside of skiing?
Artificial intelligence obviously, but like I said earlier, driving is extremely scary if you think about it. A car weighs about 2 tons, so the damage a driving car can do is ridiculous. And economic problems can lead to a lot of mental stress. The uncertainty of the future can be scary, especially in the case of 'what to do with my life.' I’m about to graduate and I still don’t know what I want to do for a job.

Do you do anything before a competition to take the nerves off?
I haven’t done a lot of competitions outside of the CU Ski Team, but the comps are really fun. I guess I just treat them like another day skiing. I don’t really care about how well I do or anything like that. There isn’t much pressure to begin with. I just try to have fun.

What is your favorite trick?
Either a cork five or a cork seven.

 

Throwback to spring break in late January @porkfrat #drinkbutter #nsfamous

A video posted by Karl Munthe (@karl.fm) on