|Jared after coming off Denali 2012|
Jared is a true legend in the Wasatch mountains. His inner drive to push the sport of fast and light in the serious relief of these mountains inspires even the greatest of men and women back country travelers. He is often a man of few words with a contagious smile and eyes that reflect as a mirror the many incredible things he has beheld. He is soft spoken and laughs when under pressure. Jared is not just one of the greatest ski mountaineering pioneers in our neck of the woods but has influenced people world wide with his talent and passion to further the cause of traveling lighter is not only smarter but more fun. A father of four beautiful kids and married to a most supportive wife, he is the recipient of much love and encouragement at home and is surrounded by people that really understand him. Jared was reminded of his love for life, family and friends in April 2012 when he was swept off South Superior by an avalanche which literally rag dolled down the rocks and snow for 400 vertical feet. Although injured physically, Jared was extremely lucky and highly fortunate to have survived such an epic. This moment in his life will forever act as a reminder to him and his family of the risks associated with skiing in the back country.
His interest in the mountains, the beauty and adventure they hold started at a young age while living in Gunnison, Utah. Each summer, Jared would work on his grandfather's farm which specialized in growing mountain grasses used to help minimize flood impacts which can occur due to wildfires. After work, he'd get on his Coyote RD mountain bike and pretend he was racing all over his town. While his father was a Boy Scout Master, he would bring along his inquisitive little boy while going to scout camps. One event in particular made an impact on this kid's life. The Klondike Derby, where scouts build a winter sled and sleep in Springbar tents with sub zero temperatures for one hell filled hour after the next, opened his eyes to the world of white. At the conclusion of the event, each boy had the chance to ski down what seemed like an enormous hill and Jared was one of them. His intrigue for wilderness survival and looking at skiing magazines captured his imagination. He soon became a gear sponge and focused on getting the latest and greatest gear at a very young age. Jared went on to say "I remember seeing in one of the magazines this perfectly straight skin track and being amazed at how a person did that." One of his first special memories of ski touring was when he was 13 or 14 years of age, using a pair of steel edged Fisher skis, Chouinard bindings (3 pin) and no skins, and climbed with a pack 3,000 vertical in a duck walk fashion to a cabin. His track wasn't straight at all. How many 13 year olds do you know that would do this? His pursuit of matching his abilities to the innovation of gear each year has produced a man that knows exactly what to use and when to use it.
|Jared coming off Summit of Grand Teton setting a fastest know time round trip|
Jared's accomplishments in the mountains span not only distance but also time. In 2011, Jared would reach a goal he held for many years. A goal that requires safe snow conditions, skill, endurance, mountain expertise and dose of risk taking. He, Jason Dorais and Andy Dorais would set the fastest known time up and down the Grand Teton in the winter and on skis. In just 5 hours and 17 minutes they round tripped this spectacular mountain. His accomplishments go to Alaska, where just this past June he and his brother Aaron successfully reached the summit of Mt. McKinley and then skied it. Those of you reading this will likely have a feel for the seriousness of this success. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment though is the inspiration he has shared with so many. Jared tells me, "I struggle at times with my blog and wonder why I do it. I must say though that there is a special part of me that really gets satisfaction out of sharing those things I love with people around me." Jared has mentored and inspired many, the likes of which are pushing the sport with great exuberance. Light and fast can be used to describe Jared, but so can patient and loving as he works each and every day at raising his family and inspiring them to reach their goals and foster a love for the mountains and nature.
Some day you too might be skinning up a slope and see something out of the corner of your eye coming near you. He might be wearing tight lycra pants, with a light weight pack, skinny skis and tiny boots. He will likely ask how you are and then quietly say, "mind if I pass?" A bit of advice, let him by.
By Chad Ambrose