Kyle Smaine

World Champion Freeskier


South Lake Tahoe, CA

Kyle grew up in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. From a young age his obsessive passion for skiing and the outdoors set him on a different path. His love for the skiing wasn't limited to one discipline. After growing up racing he dabbled in ski cross, big air, slopestyle, and eventually specialized in halfpipe skiing. After winning an FIS World Championship title in 2018, a Grand Prix in 2018, and being the first alternate for the 2018 US Olympic team he stepped away from the contest scene.

Kyle followed this competitive period with days in the backcountry, chasing powder, and telling stories about his adventures on social media and YouTube. In the summertime, Kyle spent his time on bikes and behind the wheel of a boat resetting the mind and making the most of what the mountains have to offer.

Tragically on January 29, 2023, Kyle lost his life in an avalanche accident while on a ski trip in Japan. He inspired all of us with his love for skiing and his community and his passion for sharing that joy with others.

The following interview took place in February 2022.

What does living the mountain life mean to you?

Mountain life to me is about being apart of a community and a landscape that is greater than yourself. The mountains offer this incredible playground for us to enjoy but it includes challenges you won't face in the city. Those everyday interactions with nature and the people who choose to build their live around it showcases how important it is to be kind, courteous, and look after your community members.

What's one of the best decisions you've ever made?

Probably committing to my fiancé Jenna, and asking her to marry me. I don't know if I would have had the discipline, drive, and belief in myself to have achieved many of my past accolades without her. I'm looking forward to trying to keep up for the next decade.

Describe what your perfect day in the outdoors looks like.

A perfect day involves good friends, a mission that is just slightly longer than you want to do on a regular basis, good snacks, and a lot of laughter. I just love getting lost in a long day in the mountains where all of life's responsibilities fall away.

What's one reason you love working with Stio?

Stio has built its reputation and community around quality products that enhance our ability to challenge ourselves in the mountains and then look good once we are done with the suffering. I love the people at Stio and the other ambassadors that take that ethos every day and push the boundaries of sport and themselves personally. Being surrounded by that is so motivating to keep finding new adventures in my own backyard.

Do you have any goals or objectives for the coming year?

I have a handful of different things on the docket this year. Definitely to continue making videos for the Youtube channel. To chase some storms. I would really like to get back to Utah and pick off some bucket list tricks on a particular jump out there. I am looking at a really cool hut trip in Austria that will end at Kitzbuhel for the Hahnenkamm. I always have some spring missions that I want to put together if the right weather window lines up.

How do you create balance in your life?

If only I had the answer to this. For me it's a never ending pendulum. Always swinging from too much play and not enough work, back to too much work and not enough play. I always have this drive to chase these goals and missions but often it leaves me on the verge of burnout. So I just offset it but setting the project, or sport, or work responsibility and loosing myself in another pursuit.

Any advice you want to share with people?

Everyone's voice has value and purpose. Believe in yourself and don't let the fear of failure keep you from starting something new.