By: John Clary Davies
Lost, alone and burnt out on ski racing, Olympian Wendy Fisher quit the U.S. Ski Team and dropped out of college. She loaded her car and headed to Crested Butte, where Kim Reichhelm had offered a couch. Two weeks later, with the encouragement of new friends, she entered the 1996 U.S. Extremes competition on the local hill. Placing third, she then went on to win consecutive World Extreme Skiing Championships in Valdez, Alaska, and the South American Extreme Skiing Championship in Las LeÃƒÂ±as, Argentina, in 1997, the year she started filming with Matchstick Productions. In 1998, Fisher won the overall International Extreme Freesking World Cup title.
The Tahoe native is now a skiing ambassador at Crested Butte and a mother of two, ages 4 and 6. In a recent interview, Fisher reflected on her long career in ski racing and freeskiing with Powder.com.
I was on the Squaw Valley ski team at age 6, and that was the same team as Shane McConkey. My earliest memory of him was when he got a bamboo pole stuck in his cheek.
I went to high school at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont. I loved it–70 kids living in the middle of nowhere in the boondocks of Vermont. It was pretty hardcore. I found out later that the headmaster told my parents not to send me there, that I was never going to survive four years, because I was from the west coast and Westerners weren’t as tough as Easterners, and because I was too small.
My Olympics experience was bittersweet. The speed on the last day of the last training run, the course really got faster and a ton of girls ate shit on this jump–the Waterfall or something like that. I go into one air and turn and go into the last air and flew about 140 feet. I got knocked out. It was a crazy, ugly crash, tumbling down the hill. I had 215s on and my skis didn’t come off. I came out of that with a broken thumb, a bruised rib, a concussion, a really bruised anklebone, and hurt both my MCLs. And that was my Olympics.
It was the highlight crash. I had a live interview after that with Greg Gumble, because there was a lot of controversy. I probably got more TV time than the girls who did decent, because Americans are into carnage.
Head to Powder.com for the rest of the interview.