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|Rob Greener training for his upcoming board room meetings.|
The first time I met Rob Greener he was sifting through light Montana powder, looking for his two front teeth. I'd watched him over-rotate a massive front flip and then, moments later, calmly paw through the snow looking for his pearly whites. He was more bummed about not sticking the air than the fact that he now looked like a poorly carved Jack-O-Lantern. That was almost 15 years ago. Since then, Greener and his brothers Nick and Rick have made names for themselves on the Freeskiing World Tour and as fixtures at Snowbird. In addition to his near legend status at the 'Bird, Greener has spearheaded The North Face Junior Freeskiing Tour and was recently named president of the International Freeskiers Association, a governing body for big-mountain competitions that's been around since 1996. Recently I caught up with him about his new responsibilities, up-and-coming juniors and living with fake front teeth.
You were just named president of the IFSA, a position once held by Shane McConkey. What plans do you have in store?
Rob Greener: In the last six weeks we have named a new board of directors and advisory board people. We have succeeded in recruiting several past IFSA presidents to return and sit on the board of directors. Our goals within the next 12 months are to offer enhanced membership benefits, strong tangibles and potentially a secondary athlete health insurance. Our long-term goal is to create a platform that will support the local mountains and event organizers and give them the tools to execute enhanced IFSA-supported freeskiing events.
This year, two competing tours -- the IFSA-supported Subaru Freeskiing World Tour and the European-based Nissan Freeride World Tour -- are collaborating for the first time at a stop at Kirkwood in February. Do you see the two tours ever truly coming together?
Yes, I would love to see that happen. Although the IFSA was not involved in brokering that deal, from our standpoint, nothing makes us happier than promoting freeskiing around the world. At the end of the day, the IFSA supports the Freeskiing World Tour and its decision to join forces at Kirkwood this year with the Freeride Tour. We will be available to assist in making it a great event, and we would welcome greater collaboration in the future.
You've run the Junior Freeskiing Tour for the last several seasons and coached the Alta/Snowbird Freeride Team. Any up-and-comers we should be looking out for?
Overall, we have a strong group of skiers. Off the top of my head, a few junior athletes to keep on your radar are Andrew Pollard, Grant Howard, Tasha Heilweil and Mackenzie Epperson-Valum. The juniors are training hard this year to showcase their skills.
Speaking of Snowbird, your family is a bit of an institution there, with both your brothers winning the US Freeskiing Nationals there. They ever gang up on you and give you a hard time about not bringing home the bacon, yet?
I don't know, I may have to get approval from the board of directors to see if the president can compete in the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour Championships this year and prove myself. I think my best finish is a strong, but not too strong 11th place at Snowbird. However, when it comes to family trash talking time, 11th doesn't cut it.
Oh, and do you still have fake teeth?
Yep, the same pair I had when I knocked them out 14 years ago with you at a Big Mountain downhill in Montana. My wife doesn't seem to mind.