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Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Selig's trip to spirituality

By Megan Michelson
ESPN.com

Rebecca Selig in Argentina in August.

Rebecca Selig is a professional freeskier, but she's also a part-time concierge and a part-time waitress/bartender. The Vail, Colo.-resident been competing on the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour for the last four years, and with some impressive results, including a third place at the Red Bull Powder Disorder in Argentina in August and a win at the Jackson Hole Freeskiing World Tour qualifier last winter. But getting to this point has not been without a struggle: Last year, Selig was ordered by the court to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after a long-term battle with alcoholism. She hasn't had a drink since. We talked to her about how getting on the wagon helped her stay in the game.

You got invited to compete at the Red Bull Powder Disorder in August. What was that like?
This was something I dreamed of doing, but I wasn't sure it was in my budget. I thought first, I need to raise some money to go, second, I need to be prepared and third, I want to win. If you get invited to a Red Bull meets FWT competition across the world, you should go. This is why I have two other jobs.

How did that contest go?
The venue was called Eduardo's and it was steep and rocky. Not only was this intimidating, but Ingrid Backstrom was one of the women competing in the field. Oh, and some manmade jumps in the venue, too. I didn't ski how I would have liked to, but I skied my way to the podium. And I stood proudly on that podium and I'll continue to try and win again.

So you basically used all of your own savings to get to that competition?
I had help from sponsors and used what was left in my account. Spending all your money to go and risk a one-run competition seems a bit risky, but when you combine all the energy bouncing off the world's best freeskiers in a new area and staying in different hostels and learning a new culture, that is priceless. I ski to experience life. Only time will tell if I made the right choice. I listen to my intuition and think of how my AA sponsor reminds me to pause.

How long have you been sober?
My last drink was on May 4, 2010 and I need a daily reminder I am only one drink away from that last drunk, so thank you.

Why did you give up drinking and how has it changed your skiing?
Today my choices are simple. Whiskey or God. After many years of consuming, celebrating and destroying aspects of my life, I realized that the AA meetings were helping me to help others and I felt at home. Today my life is filled with support, love and commitment.

What are your thoughts on the level of women's skiing in big-mountain competitions?
At the second stop of the FWT in Chile, more girls tried tricks off the jumps than usual and we continued progressing the sport of big-mountain freeskiing. Two girls are throwing big backflips into their lines now. I think it's safe to say there are no longer phrases used like, 'That girl is skiing a men's line.'