Next Level Skiing S6, E4 | Feel It All with Drew Petersen

by Wagner Skis / Feb 07, 2024

S6, E4 – Feel It All with Drew Petersen

Drew Petersen skis in the woods
Drew Petersen skinning uphill.

There are a lot of great ski movies out there. But only one ranks as the most important. In a year when U.S. suicides reached record highs and many mountain towns are reporting the highest suicide rates in the country, Drew Peterson’s “Ups + Downs” exposes the professional skier’s anguished struggle with suicidal thoughts.

Mental health is at a critical crossroads in mountain valleys and Peterson’s willingness to step up and reveal his own battles with overwhelming darkness is one of the most consequential moves in the history of ski movies. Skiing is awesome. It can help people learn how to be mindful and present. It can recharge weary souls. But it cannot heal mental illness. Drew’s turn toward therapy and the hard work required to deflect demons is a guiding light for people who can’t escape the darkness. Drew’s upcoming movie details his turn toward 100-mile ultramarathons as he continues his journey.

This is a special Next Level Skiing podcast where Colorado-born Drew shares how skiing is only one tool for rebuilding a life.

If you or anyone you know is in need of immediate help, call 988 to reach trained crisis workers at the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or text HOME to 741741.


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2:00 - The 20-year overnight success story
6:40 - Ski the Wild West
11:00 - Raw expose with “Ups + Downs”
12:30 - The falling rock that “changed the track of my life.”
18:00 - Skiing can’t be the only thing
20:40 - Let skiing just be skiing and find childhood joy
21:40 - The destination fallacy
24:45 - Finding mindfulness and presence on skis
28:05 - Shining the light in a darker corner of mountain culture
33:35 - Ski and enjoy


“The onus behind that was to open a conversation in the ski world and the outdoor world that I felt like was pretty quiet and didn't exist much previously on mental health and also talking about suicidal thoughts and suicidal ideation. And the reality is that our communities are facing a mental health crisis and a suicide epidemic. Especially in the Rocky Mountain west.” - Drew Peterson

“None of this is new for me. And the reality is that so many of us are facing these struggles as lifelong [struggles] as well.” - Drew Peterson

“Every molecule of my being is grateful for that rock and it’s because of the path that it’s sent me on since.” - Drew Peterson

“Skiing gave me direction. It gave me a reason to wake up in the morning when I didn’t have one. But that can’t be the only thing to keep us going.” - Drew Peterson


Ups + Downs

If you or anyone you know is in need of immediate help, call 988 to reach trained crisis workers at the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or text HOME to 741741.


S6, E1: Just Breathe with Kim Grant
S6, E2: Anticipation and Innovation with Dan English
6, E3: Gamifying Skiing with Ted Ligety
S6, E5: Master the Smooth with Scot Schmidt
S6, E6: Reggie Crist is the Stoke Broker
S6, E7: This Is My Purpose with Aaron Blunck

For more listening, check out our full collection of "Next Level Skiing" podcasts here.


Next Level Skiing Recorded by Jason Blevins

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