179: Mike Marolt adventurer, has climbed and skied down multiple 8 Meter Peaks on over 40 expeditions including the crown jewel, Mt Everest
Mike Marolt talks about his dad being in the 1960 Olympics and where Mike’s inspiration came from. “I was really fortunate. I had a dad that was not only a really good dad, but was a world-class athlete. Being in the Marolt household, I was born in ‘64. He was in the Olympics in 1960. So, having a dad that was that close to ski racing; I was exposed to a lot of his contemporaries and a lot of racers.”
On this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, we talk with Mike Marolt about the areas in which his father supported his athletic ambitions. “He went to every baseball game I ever played. But when it came to ski races, he just had nothing to do with the ski races. He would train with us. But he just didn’t want to put that pressure on us. At the time it was frustrating a few times. But I understood. He was always out raining with us. That is where he really pushed us and taught us.”
What You Will Learn:
How has Mike Marolt “I’m still a hardcore on-mountain skiier. I ski three or four days a week. I can walk to the gondola. It is about a five minute walk from my office. So, in the afternoon before the lifts close I will call up Steve and we will head over there and get a bunch of skiing. But what we gravitated towards was the ski mountaineering. The phrase that they coined about that is, ‘Earning your turns.’”
Michael Marolt discusses the book he wrote called Natural Progression: A Lifetime of Skiing the World’s Greatest Ranges. “The reason why I titled the book Natural Progression is it really has never been biting off more than we can chew. All of our parents, my friends, and my dad just stressed being humble in the mountains. Really, you can go out there if you are prepared, and you take the time to train. You can do that stuff safely. But, if you run past your experience level, that is when bad sh*t happens.”
What advice does Mike Marolt have for mountaineers in training? “The name of the game in mountaineering is experience, and you really have to be cognizant of what those mountains are capable of throwing at you. The only way to gain that awareness is by going to them, and just really being humble, and really taking it step-by-step, and just not getting too excited about summits and all of that stuff. Really, just trying to figure out what they can throw at you.
Mike Marolt describes the seriousness of skiing mountains. “You can go to those mountains and get in over your head really quickly. Nothing will stop you except for the natural environment, and unfortunately when you get cut from a college team you just walk away. When you get up and get in over your head in the mountains you can lose your life.”
What is it like for Mike Marolt to be a skiing mountaineer? “You are totally exposed, and you are relying 100% on the automation that you have standing on skis after doing it 100s of days a year for the last 20 years. Skiing is a unique aspect of mountaineering. A lot of people can ski. But not a lot of people are super comfortable skiing on those high peaks because the snow is not groomed and it is pretty rough. It is exciting. But that is why we do it.
Preparing to Ski Everest
What were some of the ways that Mike Marolt got ready for Mt. Everest? “We would literally be on one peak, see another peak, and plan on going back to that peak the next year. Through that process we gained 8000 meter peak experience on Broad Peak, and we went back and got a whole bunch of 6000 meter peak experience in South America. So, by 2000, nobody from North America or South America had skied from an 8000 meter peak, and we didn’t automatically say that is going to be us, we are going.”
During this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, Mike Marolt also defines adventure and setting goals. “You take them on as many times as it takes to understand that you can’t accomplish it…or you accomplish it. But you can’t give up on anything until you give it 110%. Because there is nothing worse than unanswered questions. That has been the story of our career.