Trust takes you further | Cooper Bathgate
Skiing is fun!
That pretty much sums up this piece in 3 words.
And let’s be honest: Cooper Bathgate wouldn’t have made it to the Freeride World Tour (FWT) 2021 without feeling those words deep in his heart. A feeling that has manifested itself in years of hard work, dedication, and a commitment fueled by a trust in himself, his gear, and those around him, not least his twin-brother Jackson.
Come sun or clouds, pillows or big jumps, contests or buddy sessions, Cooper is all smiles all day when spending it on his skis. He is an emblem of the grommet (young ripper) who never lost his edge as he grew up. Instead, he sharpened those edges year by year, thanks to an unwavering ability to get stoked and go for it – whether it’s dropping into a couloir in the Alps or hitting a huge kicker switch back home in Whistler, BC.
The idea of going further means pushing my limits in all aspects of skiing. Be that in a competition setting or skiing a line that I have never skied in the backcountry.
Enter the major league
The Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) season 2020 got off to a smooth start for Cooper. He won his first four-star-level contest in Revelstoke. From there, it went downhill – he ended 16th at Kicking Horse and 23rd at Taos, before turning it around and landing second place in Crested Butte on March 11. This turned out to be the last contest of the season, and Cooper’s overall standing was solid. On March 19, he was officially named to the circuit’s 2021 roster. He had finally broken into the major league of freeriding.
“I spent three seasons on the FWQ before qualifying for the Freeride World Tour, and each of these seasons, I was painstakingly close to qualifying but didn’t. This made me hungrier until I eventually did make it. In Crested Butte I needed a top 3 to secure a place on the Freeride World Tour. I dug deep, stayed loose, and went in with a positive and confident mindset, and ended up in 2nd,” says Cooper.
The more I push myself, the more trust I have in myself for the next time out.
Trust takes you further
For Cooper, making the FWT was his further. So how does it actually feel when you finally reach your further?
“It feels amazing, it’s a feeling like no other. Just a relief really, once you achieve it you set up for the next one and keep going,” says Cooper.
But how do you motivate yourself to keep on trying to qualify, year after year?
“Goals are what keeps it fun. Otherwise, it gets stagnant. But if you’re constantly pushing to find your limits, then pushing past them – it always keeps it fun and challenging,” he continues.
How do you prepare?
“Doing lots of dryland training and physio to get my body prepared for the winter.”
Is there a secret ingredient?
“Without trust, making it to your further would be unattainable, for me specifically, it’s about trust in my crew. Your lives are in each other’s hands at the best of times. So, without absolute certainty, it would not be possible.”
“Without the gear, none of it would be possible. You need the confidence that you’ll be dry and ready for whatever the mountain will throw your way.”
How do you stay safe?
“By taking every precaution possible and going with my gut feeling. If it’s not 100 percent, it’s a no.”
What’s your next further?
“My specific goal this season is to finish in the top 5 overall on the Freeride World Tour.”
Eyes on the prize
With a new further on the horizon, Cooper is getting his mind and body ready for the FWT, however different the upcoming season may be. And while the rest of us wait for winter, we can spend a moment thinking about why we ski.
Is it the euphoric feeling when stomping a new trick? Or the emotions triggered by the setting sun, as it casts shadows in the pine forest while riding home from a dreamy day in the backcountry?
No matter if it’s the first or the second, a combination of the two, or something completely different, it’s safe to say: Skiing is fun! Just ask Cooper.