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.
AR: 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.