The first memory I have of Sage Cattabriga-Alosa was out of a series call "Volume Magazine". For anyone that knows, this was an awesome concept, a movie magazine, and all the ones I had were in the days of VHS, So we are talking a long long time ago. In this particular Volume, there was an introduction to who Sage was. I believe they filmed this edition at his home mountain, Targhee, and he tore this place up. Not only was he riding hard all over the mountain but he had such a jibby fun style that I really dug being from the east coast.
Since then, I wouldnt even try to begin to count how many TGR videos this man has starred in, how many skiers he has inspired, or how many powder awards he has won. I've been lucky enough to follow him on a few runs in France and I'll tell everyone, This guy sends, and following him down the mountain is a fun rush. Not only does he push you in skiing but the positive Energy he brings to the table is contagious.
About a month ago he released his side Project "Elemental". Its a fantastic movie that shares his and other athletes talents in Skiing and Moutnain biking, and I'll tell ya, the biking blew me away. I find the narration fantastic as he branches into a bit of philosophy of life mixing in the different elements that make up the essence of life and how it plays into his universe. His words are inspiring and his movie is a great watch, so give the interview a read, and you have to watch the movie. Enjoy
AD: The skiing, as always, was fantastic. From as long as I’ve remembered you have been killing the backcountry ski game, Can you give people an Idea of where you came from in the U.S. and how that shaped you as a skier.
SCA: I grew up trying to be a ski racer at Grand Targhee in WY. At the time it was racing or bumps. Freestyle, freeskiing, park, etc hadn’t even happened yet so racing was what I resonated with, but never got very good. It taught me to turn well, and I had fun learning the fundamentals but the large amount of powder that Targhee gets had hooked me in. Plus the place is a great spot to start jumping off cliffs, as there is perfect bands that start around 15’ and incrementally build up to pretty much as big as you want to go.
AD: You’ve been in the game for so many years and seen so much throughout that time especially the people who have come and gone from the ski world. Who were the guys you looked up to growing up? And who did you surround yourself with that inspired your skiing as you were creating your name, and how has that changed to the guys you ski around now?
SCA: Yeah when I was in high school the original inspiration came from the legends. I was watching Seth, Kent Kreitler, Brant Moles, Mica Black etc. and was amazed by the big mt skiing I was seeing. But meeting Chris Collins, was the biggest inspiration for me. We started skiing together randomly one spring at Mt. Bachelor, and he introduced me, eventually, to Kris Ostness and the Utah Posse which was a collection of filmers, photogs, and other athletes. He really took me under his wing. He suggested moving to Utah to get a lodge job rather than join the free ski tour, which was what I thought I should do. Those first years in Utah was when my skiing really took off, I was in a rad place, with people that were pushing me, and had the ability to ski every day. By the end of the year we where hitting pyramid gap together while TGR filmed it. I feel that influence really transitioned over time and stayed the same too. Everyone I have been inspired by remains in my mind, but the youth and new people making skiing look good continue to add to that pool of inspiration. Eric Pollard and I got to do a trip early on in my career and his flow was pretty intoxicating. Jon Olsson and Henrik Windsted were also two of the more freestyle guys that I started hanging with too, their precision and trickery was pretty rad to be around. As skiing has continued I look to the youth as motivation and inspiration, but it doesn’t come down to just the skiing. Who you are on and off the hill is just as important. Living in Bend, Lucas and I have become good friends and its as much or more about his attitude and character as it is about his ski style.
AD: Which comes to this next question what was it like being out with some more jib heavy boys like Mitchell, Jonah, Nicky, and Lucas and how did you end of recruiting these skiers to the squad for your movie?
SCA: Lucas lives here in Bend and we were already homies, so when it came to shooting the Air segment he was at the top of my list.
I had been watching Mitchell, Jonah, and Nicky for years, and because of Atomic I had the opportunity to get to know those guys at a summer team meeting. I loved their vibes and their skiing was so on point. They all had been shooting last winter but didnt have an outlet or movie that the footage was going to go in and it was actually my editor, Jacob Callahan, that made the connection after the winter was over. I hit them up and they were all stoked to be in the movie. It was kind of crazy how even though everything was shot by a different crew without the initial plan to be in my film, the footage all was shot the same with the same vibe. The skiing that they brought to the table really elevated the movie. I am so grateful that it worked out the way it did.
AD: Just out of curiosity, why not some of those other guys that you typically ski with?
SCA: I had intentions of having some of my normal crew of friends, and some ripping ladies to shoot with for the movie. But the project was so low budget, and was just on the side as I was still filming with TGR for several trips so it just never worked out to link up with everyones busy schedule.
AD: The Biking is absolutely insane in there man! How long have you been Biking now?
SCA: Thanks! Ive been into biking for a long time too, I really got into it when I got my first used full suspension bike in the early 2000’s. I started learning to jump, and DH, and shortly after I started traveling to Whistler to ride the bike park in the summer. I had actually ridden bikes in whistler for eight years before I ever really skied there!
AD: How do you compare it with skiing and where do you see its greatest strength in preparing you for the ski season?
SCA: There are so many similarities to skiing in the dynamics of how you move on the bike. Just turn your wrists 90 degrees and your hands are on the handlebars. Angulation, looking ahead, reading terrain, pumping transitions. One big difference is air, catching air on skis is so easy and you can go so big, on a bike it took me a while to get comfortable catching air. Shooting for the film I hit the biggest jump of my life, a 40 foot dirt to dirt double out at the Black Sage course. Which is an event and jump line built by Kyle Jameson and Carson Storch, two pro Mt bikers who live in bend that I have become friends with. Jumping is cool, but those guys are on such another level. Just trail riding is where I find the biggest similarities to skiing, especially back country skiing. A lot of the trails I look for are long climbs, ( skinning to the top) followed by turning around and ripping back to the bottom. its hard work pedaling, or hiking for a hour or more, for a few minutes of joy on the decent but I find the time pushing yourself physically on the climbs is great training and provides a similar perspective to how I spend time in the mountains in winter.
AD: You have to have some pretty good crashes getting on terrain like that, whats the gnarliest spill you’ve taken on the Bike
SCA: Dirt is not snow… its generally much harder, I try and not crash at all. I like to push myself just to the level where I am learning, progressing, but still keeping things in check. But its happened, Ive had a few concussions, usually trying to jump, and I smashed my shoulder up a few years ago. scabs, cuts bruises, and close call are the norm.
AD: Is the any other off season sports that keep you occupied during the summer?
SCA: Sport wise, biking is pretty much my thing, and now that Ive got a family, (twin 2 yr olds) I am pretty busy with life. But I’ve always been into tinkering, art, and hobbies, I like building things, digging in the dirt, and doing wood and and rock work. Quite by accident I recently got into scale RC crawling…. don’t ask ;) its a freeking rabbit hole.
AD: Which element do you see yourself fitting under the most and why? And you cant say all of them, thats the cheating way out of answering this question!
SCA: Hahah, well thats the whole thing, at any given moment I find myself somewhere along the cycle and sometimes simultaneously in multiple elements. For instance two seasons ago I tore my Achilles. it was a big "Earth" phase, I had to let go, let go of my plans for that season, goals, and just ground out and heal. At the same time we had just had our kids and that experience of life was all about "Air” it was excitement and inspiration of life, new life. Its a constant flow, even in each day ideas are flowing, fire is ignited, you take time to look inward and reflect during a hike, and let go of things when weather, conditions or your body isn’t aligned with your ideas.
AD: I love all the words being spoken throughout the movie to describe what the different elements mean to you. Is this something you wrote yourself to go with this idea of “Elemental”.
A huge part of the message was passed to me by my Wife Annie. She had the initial idea to align with the elements. With her help I wrote the copy, and it took several iterations before condensing it something simple, and to the point. This message isn’t a new concept. It came down through history and cultures and is something that has roots in early pagan rituals of connecting the earth with our human consciousness.
AD: Lastly, What do you think drives you to keep going hard and wanting to do movies like this after all these years in skiing? Something to say to the guys who watched it and worship skiing as a lifestyle as well?
SCA: After a lot of year of just focusing on showing what I can do on skis with TGR I definitely was ready for a shift. Now the process of producing, directing, and story telling in the movie making process was a whole new creative endeavor, and that really excited me to take on a bigger role. Also showcasing the skills of others in this film and future projects is really motivating and exciting. There are a lot of talented people out there and working together and being inspired by that collective energy keeps me fired up and excited for new opportunities.