Chris Benchetler

Free Skiing

Chris's earliest skiing memory seems to have clearly defined his future. He remembers tumbling down Monument (a run from the top of Mammoth Mountain) in a red one-piece and crying when he reached the bottom. His dad made him get up and ski it again.

Today, the story reads a bit differently as Chris now has his own Atomic ski, "The Bent Chetler," and has been known to take pictures for Powder holding a camera in his teeth! Chris says, "I try to share how I see skiing in such a way that it motivates people, young and old, to look at our sport and the terrain with a fresh new perspective. I want to inspire them to slash, do a 360, or try a butter, and break away from the norm."

Born 11/13/86 and raised in the little town of Bishop, CA, forty minutes south of Mammoth, Chris's parents took him took him skiing from a very young age, but his first lessons didn't signal a love connection. "I was more interested in being the little kid in the lodge drinking hot cocoa and watching cartoons," he admits. But 
along the way Chris did fall in love, and started skiing every weekend he could. He joined the race team, and progressively got more and more involved. Soon, he was taking time off school, traveling and racing.

When Chris entered High School, he discovered the freeride scene. With the full support of his parents, who allowed him to miss school (as long as he still did his work) to follow his passion, he began jumping and training as much as possible. During this time he met Pep Fujas, who introduced him to K2 and helped him get his first sponsor.

 Chris started competing. But once he met the film crew Poorboyz Productions, and realized he could ski powder for a living, he bailed on the contest scene and started chasing his true love: deep snow.

Chris has been filming with PBP ever since, and tries to push himself to produce a film segment every fall. He's also featured in films with his own collaboration in Nimbus Independent (with friends Eric Pollard and Pep), TGR, Warren Miller, and MSP. Chris was one of Skiing Magazine's 2010 Skiers of The Year.

When the earbuds are in? It' the same music that skiers have been shredding to for decades: Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.

After a long day on the mountain? He'll be watching a comedy, preferably something with Will Ferrell.


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