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NAME: Carter McMillan
NICKNAME: Carter Mak
BIRTHDAY: 29 November 1990
HOME: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
DISCIPLINES: Big Mountain/Backcountry
I grew up skiing in the Canadian Rockies at Lake Louise, and moved into competitive freeskiing at a young age. When I turned 18 I qualified for the Freeskiing World Tour. After 5 years on the Tour I retired with many podium finishes, and held an World Tour top 10 position for my entire competitive career. I then gravitated toward the backcountry, and currently spend much of my winter chasing the steepest deepest powder I can find, and working with photographers, magazines, and backcountry lodges to produce awesome skiing content.
I ski for that special moment of breathless anticipation, when you’re pushing off into an amazing looking line filled with perfect snow and a few big cliff hucks, and you know the next few seconds might just be to some of the most exhilarating moments of your life!
My favourite place to recharge is at some local backcountry hot springs, where I can clear my mind and soak my aches muscles in the waters. That always get me ready for a competition or a big trip.
“There’s nothing better in life than sliding down snow and flying through the air” - Shane McConkey.
Although it’s almost cliche for a skier to quote McConkey, I believe these words ring true to the core of why my friends and I all pursue this sport with such energy and commitment. The type of skiing we do has got to be the coolest feeling on earth!
I made many sacrifices to end up where I am today. Early on, I managed my competitive ski career while completing a Bachelor of Biological Sciences degree at the University of Calgary. Upon attaining my degree, I chose to continue skiing professionally over going back to school to pursue a veterinary medicine degree. This was probably the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’ve had some amazing experiences since that fateful choice, but it was a major sacrifice in my life to chase my dream.
When I’m not skiing you’ll likely find me hiking up a mountain, collecting fossils and crystals, flying my paraglider, mountain biking, river surfing, petting other peoples dogs (see Adam McCraw), or running the service department of an lawn sprinkler company!
Competing on the Freeskiing World Tour taught me many valuable lessons on how to manage stress in a productive way. If I let the stress overwhelm me, then I could lose focus on the important details of a run, which could be dangerous. Before competition run or dropping into a big line, I always mentally visualize myself stomping a perfect entire run from the skier’s perspective, then when I dropped into my line it would feel like I’d done it before. This allowed me to have confidence to hit cliffs that I had never jumped before, or not get lost during a run. Mindful mediation in the start gate would also help me block out the stressors of the noise and excitement happening all around me, and focus on what I needed to do.