Sign In:

×

Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

×
×

Presenting: FWT Rider and the Newest Member of the Atomic Team, Griffin Dunne

During a busy competition season, Atomic's Griffin Dunne manages to still squeeze in a ton of this. Andreas Hasselbeck photo. 

In big mountain skiing, competing on the Freeride World Tour carries about the same weight as dropping into a race run on the Hahnenkamm Downhill. To Jackson local Griffin Dunne, stepping up to compete on the highest international level came with its own set of challenges, especially after a disastrous ’16-’17 season that ended in numerous crashes in competition. He did not finish the season with enough points to re-qualify for the FWT, but is determined to come back with a vengeance this year. A recent switch to the Atomic team has him stoked to push the limits more than ever.

Dunne did not grow up in big mountains, instead learning to ski race and subsequently huck himself off cliffs in Vermont. He soon caught the same bug that motivates the best in the world to test themselves not just against one another, but against the mountains themselves.

TGR caught up with Dunne for a ski on an early-season pow day in our collective backyard, Teton Pass, and we chatted about everything from traveling, competition, and a new web series that is in the works.

The Road Back - Opener from Andreas on Vimeo.

You grew up skiing competitively back on the East Coast, what was the real start of your big-mountain career?

The fledgling stages of my big mountain career were competing on STEFT (Ski The East Freeride Tour) where I grew up in Vermont. Throughout the following couple of years I dabbled with the big mountain scene, traveling from Vermont to compete in Colorado, British Columbia, and Chile. At the time, competing on these big mountain venues was WAY above my ability level and I was crashing in all of my comps, man did that hurt. I knew I had the athletic ability to compete at that level, I just needed the skills and the training to do it safely. To me, that meant I was going to need to be skiing every day in big mountains in order to do well, which prompted my move to Jackson.

Vying for that top spot against the best skiers in the world puts you in some pretty incredible places. Dominique Daher photo.

How did that morph into a spot on the FWT?

In 2015 I committed to a full season of qualifier events. I was one of three to qualify throughout the North America region. That winter, I drove over ten thousand miles going from event to event living out of my Toyota Tacoma with my girlfriend and our dog. Living the dream!

Outside of competition, what’s your dream day on skis?

My dream day on skis would be spent at a cat operation in Interior BC. Lapping huge pillow lines, anybody?

Tell me a little about your favorite place to ride in Jackson!

We have such incredible sidecountry access at Jackson. My favorite lap would be a true classic, out of the south gates into the Rock Springs drainage. After a 20-minute boot back from the top of the tram to the top of Cody Peak, you can ski over four thousand vertical feet and end up back in bounds with minimal physical effort, which means more laps! Oh yeah, and the terrain is some of the best in the world!

Stoked to be riding for a new team this year, Dunne has been making the most of the conditions at home in Jackson. Max Ritter photo.

Competitions and your career in general have brought you all over the world, what are your impressions of skiing and experiencing ski culture in places Austria or South America?

I have the best parents in the world. They gave me the travel bug at a young age. By the time I graduated from high school, and I use the word “graduated” lightly, I had already been to Europe and South America a handful of times. I am very appreciative that skiing continues to force me to travel and see new parts of the world. The après scene in Austria is second to none! Can’t wait to get back to the hazelnut schnapps. I will be also be competing in Slovakia this season, so that’s cool. Eastern Europe is a trip!

Living in Jackson, bikes seem to be a big part of your life as well. Seeing your competitive side from skiing, have you ever considered racing bikes?

I love biking, but I am truly still a novice. I have only had three summers on a bike now. I’m still trying to figure out how to keep up with my roommates, who happen to be some of the fastest enduro racers in the country. I do have a competitive personality so If I gain some speed in the next couple of years racing enduro would not be out of the question.

A series of frustrating crashes may have left Dunne feeling like this, but he is back with a vengeance, determined to re-qualify for the FWT this season. Dominique Daher photo.

After crashing out of the series last year, Dunne did not have enough points to qualify for this year’s event. Now in the process of re-qualifying, he plans on telling the story of what it takes in a three-part web video series.

What’s going on with your new web series?

I met Andreas Hasselback, who’s shooting it for me, four or five years ago in a hostel in Revelstoke. We’ve kept in contact since! He actually put me up in Austria most of last winter when I was over there competing. Andreas is an aspiring cinematographer who will be volunteering a lot of time for the project.

We’re calling it The Road Back. Andreas and I are taking this project on together, telling the story of what takes to get back on the Tour. It will the first time either of us have tried to produce content like this. Its a big undertaking but I am stoked to see what we can come up with. It will be a three part web-series document the re-qualification process. It will be difficult, emotional, and a shit load of fun. Who knows what will happen? I could get qualification wrapped up in three competitions and go home happen, but I could also compete six times and not re-qualify. There will be partying also… That’s the really the good content!

Play
READ THE STORY
In Between Chemo & a Double Mastectomy, This Woman Went Skiing…A Lot
Up Next Ski

In Between Chemo & a Double Mastectomy, This Woman Went Skiing…A Lot

In Between Chemo & a Double Mastectomy, This Woman Went Skiing…A Lot

A single drop of blood fell to the snow, making a hollow plop. Halfway up hiking a backcountry run, Dina Mishev stared down at the lone drop of red on white. More blood pooled to the point of her nose. Dina watched as another drop fell, joining the first one on the snow. The blood stared back at her, a reminder of all the reasons why she couldn’t let herself stop climbing. Fresh from her second round of chemo a few days prior, Mishev was actively ignoring the pain, nausea and exhaustion

Play
READ THE STORY
Reflecting Back on One of Chamonix’s Best Seasons Ever
Up Next Ski

Reflecting Back on One of Chamonix’s Best Seasons Ever

Reflecting Back on One of Chamonix’s Best Seasons Ever

Ah, the land of croissants and red wine. Chamonix, France is to extreme skiing as Yosemite is to rock climbing, or Pipeline is to surfing. In a nutshell, the legendary mountains surrounding Mont Blanc have drawn the attention of the world’s best skiers and snowboarders looking to ride the biggest lines of their lives. Each year, a veritable pilgrimage of riders convenes in this magical valley in the French Alps to put their alpine skills to the test. So far, the 2017-18 season turned out

Play
READ THE STORY
36 Days Later, the Red Bull Der Lange Weg Team Finishes Their Ski Traverse
Up Next Ski

36 Days Later, the Red Bull Der Lange Weg Team Finishes Their Ski Traverse

36 Days Later, the Red Bull Der Lange Weg Team Finishes Their Ski Traverse

For the last month, a team of the world’s best ski mountaineers has been out achieving the impossible: a ski traverse of the Alps. The long way. On March 17, the team of seven skiers left Reichenau an der Rax, a small town near Vienna, and started walking towards Nice, France. The team was made up of Bernhard Hug, Philipp Reiter, David Wallman, and Jackson’s own Mark and Janelle Smiley. Their route crossed dozens of major peaks like Austria’s 3798m Großglockner along the way, covering 1070