Model and Pro Skier Jess McMillan Tells Us How to Find Love on the Slopes

Jess McMillan

I think that every day should be Valen­tines Day. If you are with some­one that you love and they love you back, why not act like it all the time?

It’s that time of year again, folks: Valen­tine’s day. A time for flow­ers, choco­lates, and chub­by babies with bows and arrows. But we adven­tur­ers are too busy ascend­ing moun­tains and acquir­ing new scars to wor­ry about love, right? Well, not accord­ing to US and World Freeski­ing Cham­pi­on Jess McMillan.

I asked Jess about her expe­ri­ences with love on the slopes:

Alec Ross: Ski­ing is a com­mu­ni­ty, how have you found mak­ing friend­ships through­out yourcareer?
Jess McMil­lian: (laughs) I think ski­ing has made me make the most long last­ing friend­ships ever. When you push your­self to your lim­its and peo­ple around you are like-mind­ed, you can cre­ate some incred­i­ble friendships.

If you can find the per­fect com­pli­men­ta­ry per­son, then I think it’s per­fect­ly possible.

AR: Rela­tion­ships. Do pro­fes­sion­al action sports ath­letes have time for them?
JM: You know, I think pro­fes­sion­al ath­letes tend to be a lit­tle self­ish with our time and our sport. But, that’s not to say romance doesn’t work out. If you can find the per­fect com­pli­men­ta­ry per­son, then I think it’s per­fect­ly pos­si­ble. But the two have to have to sup­port each oth­er, ya know? My hus­band, Eric Sey­mour, has been so sup­port­ive through­out my whole career. I have friends that I share goals and lifestyles with and even shared some of the most incred­i­ble expe­ri­ences with. But with my hus­band, it’s dif­fer­ent. It’s a dai­ly love and sup­port.  I find sup­port from my friends, sure, but not the kind I find in my husband.

AR: Tell me about how you and your hus­band met.
JM: (laughs) We met on a riv­er when I was on an all girls trip to Cal­i­for­nia. We were kayak­ing and he intro­duced him­self. He had a girl­friend at the time, but a cou­ple weeks lat­er I saw him again. It was like a, “Hi, I don’t have a girl­friend any­more” kind of thing. So yea, that was how we first met.

AR: The career of a pro­fes­sion­al ath­lete has it’s ups and downs. Is romance an effec­tive sup­port mech­a­nism through those times?
JM: Yes and No. With your part­ner, some­times it’s absolutely

incred­i­ble. Like if we’re ski­ing togeth­er, I can be total­ly true to myself. I can be exact­ly the per­son I am. Oth­er times, you can lose the touch of pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Some­times I think that  being a pro­fes­sion­al ath­lete brings about those mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions with­in a rela­tion­ship. But you need to com­mu­ni­cate. That’s important.

Some­times, though, I feel like the moun­tains are just about friend­ships. For exam­ple, Eric got frus­trat­ed that I didn’t do as well as I could have — I think I placed third — but when he got frus­trat­ed, I just told him “I won’t bring you along next time.” It’s things like that. It’s nice to know that you have that sup­port, but some­times the sup­port can be bad if it turns into expec­ta­tions. My hus­band knows what I’m capa­ble of, so he cares when I don’t achieve it. But this is all part of blend­ing the pro­fes­sion­al life with the personal.


jm2AR: Any mem­o­rable valentine’s day experiences?
JM: As an win­ter ath­lete, win­ters are so crazy for me. I spend every one of my win­ters at com­pe­ti­tions or in between. But, I think that every day should be Valen­tines Day. If you are with some­one that you love and they love you back, why not act like it all the time? I don’t think that we need a spe­cif­ic day to rec­og­nize that.

AR: We recent­ly did an arti­cle on Ski Dates. Do you think ski dates are a good idea?
JM: I think they are if you want to know real­ly quick­ly if you’re going to get along.  Espe­cial­ly if you’re a die hard ski­er! It’s kind of like the Ital­ian restau­rant first date sto­ry. Every­one knows that Ital­ian food is messy. You pick the messi­est food and be sure to mind your man­ners! Or else you’ll make your date think you are messy. I think that’s kin­da like a ski date. A tri­al by fire, I guess. But whether or not it’ll be a good date, though, I don’t know.

AR: What point­ers would you give to any young ski­er with romance in his eyes?
JM: Chival­ry is not dead! Regard­less of how bad-ass you think you are, girls want to feel sup­port­ed, espe­cial­ly when ski­ing. If you’re real­ly inter­est­ed in a girl, help her out. Be a good guy. There’s no need to prove your­self. Lots of smiles and high fives — they always work.

Check out more of what Jess McMil­lan is up to.