On February 9, 2022

Chasing Brooke Geery

Leaderboard Larry attempts to catch up with a ‘fiery little ball of pure atomic energy’

By Larry Levack

Before I get started, here’s a little background on how this story came to fruition.

By John Geery
Brooke sits down for a rare one minute break with Leaderboard Larry.

I met Brooke Geery at Killington’s Skyeship and immediately made it clear that I felt a little bit awkward and somewhat uncomfortable with the fact that she would be conducting an on-slope interview for a story about my life as a skier. As an amateur photojournalist, I have always had complete control when writing a daily blog about my ski adventures in the Green Mountains of Vermont, but that day the tables would be turned.

Therefore, for my sake, I suggested we ease into the day with Geery giving me some insight about her lifelong love affair with the mountains. It wasn’t long before I knew that someone just had to write a feature about this charming young woman and I wanted to be the reporter to get the job done.

I must say that this was not an easy assignment because the gal moves at the speed of light, with catlike reflexes that only a Wild West lasso might hope to corral. In all seriousness, her boarding mastery is breathtaking to watch — a dazzling display of pure artistry in motion; a fiery little ball of pure atomic energy!!

Finally, a word of caution to all you male readers with fragile egos: Should Geery greet you (with her friendly, coy smile of invitation) to “simply“ follow her down the mountain, you had better be up for the task lest you find yourself getting severely smoked — the gal takes no prisoners!!

Q&A with Brooke Geery

Larry Levack (LL):I understand that you were born in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and it was anything, but a “normal” birth. Can you tell our readers what happened on the day you came into this world?

Brooke Geery (BG): My recollection of this fateful night in April of 1981 is a bit foggy, but from what I’ve heard, there was a big snowstorm in the Tetons. Having skied in utero for eight of the past nine months, I knew I needed to get out of that womb for the powder day, so I started pushing — a week early. My parents lived in Driggs, Idaho at the time, and Jackson Hole was the closest hospital, so my dad rallied their front-wheel-drive Honda over the pass, where I was born several hours later. While I never lived in Jackson, nor did I snowboard there until 25 years later, I do feel like it may be one place that’s cooler to say you came into the world than Vermont.

LL: I recently had the pleasure of skiing with your parents at Killington. Not only are they fabulous skiers, but they exude that same infectious enthusiasm about the mountains that I feel when skiing with you. Tell us about your mom and dad [Carol and John Geery] and how they helped nurture and shape you into the woman you are today.

BG: John and Carol are New Yorkers by birth, but Vermonters by choice. They met in college at Plattsburg State, where my dad had recently returned from a stint as a ski bum in Aspen. My mom, a hip chick from Brooklyn, wanted to learn to ski and thought his long hair and motorcycle were groovy. The rest is history. After Plattsburg, they bounced around together while my mom worked on her speech language pathology career, spending five years in Utah, where they eventually won a lottery for Alta season passes. My dad is more the artsy type, and it wasn’t until they relocated back to the East Coast (when I was 3) that he would find his professional footing, shooting Vermont landscapes. His photography can actually be seen in hotels, Hollywood movies and of course, homes around the region. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve walked into someone’s house for the first time to see a John David Geery print on the wall. As for nurturing my mountain passion, with the exception of a year or two right after we returned from out West, a season pass has been my Christmas gift every year, and going to the mountains is our one consistent family bonding activity. These days, my parents are “mostly retired,” with a goal to ski at least 40 days each winter.

LL: I believe that humor is a cure-all for a vast array of ailments. Can you give us just one snowboarding story from your past that still gives you a hardy belly laugh to this day?

BG: This is a nearly impossible question, as laughing and snowboarding are so ubiquitous in my life, it’s hard to pin down one moment. I guess I’ll bring you back to Camp of Champions in its final season on the Whistler/Blackcomb glacier in 2015. My website, Yobeat.com, was at its peak of media dominance, and camp owner, Ken Achenbach, had invited me and my crew up for a session. The snow level was low, and the T-bar was stretched out to its furthest limits. Most rides I would share with another person, and the weight of two people made the ride easy, but when it came to off-loading at the end of the day, it involved negotiating a snow-cat track ridge before riding up the final incline to the chairlift. For whatever reason, I chose to attempt this by myself at one point, hoping the weight of my camera bag and balance skills would be enough to keep me on track. Let’s just say they weren’t, and as soon as I hit that fateful ridge I found myself off balance and literally tangled in the net that divided the liftline from a 15-foot cliff to certain doom, while I watched skiers happily use their two separate legs to make it up without issue. I ended up unstrapping and just walking back up to the top in defeat — it wasn’t very funny at the time — but when I think back about that moment now, all I can do is laugh. To this day, I still fall getting on and off the lift sometimes, and that’s ok — and always funny!

LL: My skiing chops are pretty decent, but I consider myself to be the world’s worst boarder. I tell everyone to run for the hills if they ever see me coming at them on a board because I am dangerous!! I hear you are a competent skier as well as a boarder. How do you manage to do both so well?

BG: I am not sure where you heard I am a “good” skier, but in the few times I’ve donned two planks since switching to snowboarding at age 13, I did alright. I believe that my upbringing — chasing my dad, cousins and crazy uncles down the icy slopes of the East’s mountains all winter, every winter — instilled an innate knowledge of how the mountains work. Honestly, the skills of skiing and snowboarding are kind of second to being able to understand the snow, fall line and other elements that are involved in the sports. Not to downplay the challenge of riding in the East, but after 20-plus years riding big mountains — Mt. Baker, Washington, Mt. Hood, Oregon, Bogus Basin, Idaho — plus lots of short stints in places such as Utah, Montana, California, Switzerland and Argentina, I have no fear when I’m strapped in and sliding. I’ve also spent most of my professional career chasing professional snowboarders with a camera in my hand, which has helped my snow-sliding skills a lot.

LL: Tell us about being employed by Killington resort. I mean, although it is nice to have a steady paycheck, work can often interfere with getting a lot of vertical in during the day. Does your work schedule allow some flexibility for you to get a few runs in each day? How does Killington compare to other resorts that have employed you in the past?

BG: I just started my job at Killington as a copywriter in the marketing department this December. I was honestly a bit hesitant to take a full time job, because I was making the gig-economy dream of freelancing, waitressing and Uber driving work, while racking up days on snow. Thankfully, my parents convinced me to apply. As a member of the marketing team it is, in fact, my job to get out on the snow daily so that I can accurately describe the conditions and scene in places such as The Drift newsletter, as well as occasionally appearing in or assisting with conditions edits and the like. It’s actually the perfect job for me, and I couldn’t be happier. This is the first official “resort” job I’ve ever had — my background is in media.

I spent last winter as the office manager and assistant editor at the Mountain Times (a great gig, but less ideal for going snowboarding) and prior to that I ran the popular snowboarding website Yobeat.com for 21 years. I’ve also written for just about every national magazine that focuses on snowboarding, was Global Digital Marketing Manager for Nike Snowboarding, a researcher for ESPN’s X Games, and held too many other short-lived or freelance gigs to mention here. Actually, one of my first writing jobs ever, at age 16, was penning a blog for an early incarnation of the Killington website, so it really does feel like I’ve come full circle.

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