Jamie Pierre, Scot Schmidt, me, and Chad at our Season Kick-Off Party
BIG SKY boasts its status as home to its fair share of ski legends: when Warren Miller and Scot Schmidt make a mountain their home, you know the skiing is good. But glitz isn’t our thing, and you’re more likely to unwittingly sit beside a movie star hidden behind his neck-warmer on the lift than rub elbows with a strutting celebrity sporting the latest in designer wear around the Mountain Village. This is Montana, after all, where the sky is big, the skiing is sick, and the locals and famous alike stay focused on their turns.
So when ski pro Jamie Pierre showed up this weekend, I expected nothing less. After all, his fame is by way of skiing. But this guy had to have an ego, right? You can’t huck and ski away from the world’s largest cliff jump (255 feet – think 2 1/2 Summit Hotels high!) without some sizeable cojones and a heaping dose of overconfidence. Pierre had agreed to sign autographs at our Season Kick-Off Party, and I braced myself to meet who would surely be a laid back, if slightly cocky, extreme ski bum celebrity.
But as I was meeting Pierre for the first time, he was meeting fellow ski legend Scot Schmidt, also there to sign autographs for the Kick-Off Party. Pierre walked in, the epitome of cool with green ski pants, a red skull cap, and a soul patch, and spent the next few hours talking and signing skis, helmets, and posters for gushing fans. But when Scot Schmidt extended his hand to Pierre that morning, Pierre couldn’t help himself. “Dude,” he said, “I gotta tell you. You are, like, my hero.”
Later that evening, after Pierre and Schmidt had gone their separate ways, I walked past Pierre and his family in the Huntley Lodge, snapping a photo of what looked like a blank wall in a quiet corner of the hotel. When I asked what he was doing, Pierre stepped away, revealing the true subject of his photo: a large sign advertising a Jamie Pierre and Scot Schmidt autograph session, now leaning against a wall waiting to be put away for the night.
“You have no idea how cool this is to me,” Pierre said. “To have my name up there next to Scot Schmidt’s. To even be put in the same category with him. This is a big moment for me.”
The next morning Pierre had plans to ski the Big with Chris Kamman, but called in to say he couldn’t make it – he’d decided to ski elsewhere for the day. Kamman suspected he’d accepted an invite from Schmidt, and who could blame him? When your idol calls you to join him, you go – no questions asked.
So Pierre ended his weekend in Big Sky, a stream of cold smoke and awed amateur skiers in his wake. He’d ripped up the mountain in true Big Sky celebrity form, skiing with locals, talking gear and sweet lines with fans, and taking advantage of world-class terrain and powder. But despite his hardcore credentials and bad ass abilities, it’s clear that come après, Pierre is just like any Big Sky local, whether housekeeper, bar tender, or resort General Manager: a skier trying to live his passion, finding inspiration in others doing the same. Ego not included.
Pierre and Schmidt go together like skis and powder - the sign Pierre was so excited to see