Utah Stories

Life on the Slopes

Making a life from the things you love.


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Photos of Thayne Rich by Sam Watson

Whether he’s on the slopes, filming other skiers or building skis, Thayne Rich’s life revolves around skiing. Thayne makes a living and a life from the sport he loves.

“My parents brought me up skiing. I’ve been skiing since I was two. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City. I started skiing at Snowbird, but once I got too old for the “Ski Free Under 12” pass I moved to Alta,” Thayne says.

Thayne dreamed of pursuing a career in skiing, but didn’t think it was a realistic goal. He attended several semesters of college straight out of high school and took it seriously because “it cost a lot of money.” He had an epiphany that he was only “half-assing” the thing he loved most, skiing, because he was stressing about school, so he dropped out when he couldn’t decide on a major and decided to follow his passion.

Thayne started making ski films and doing  photo shoots. “Even though it paid only a little in the beginning, I realized I could make a living following my passion. I felt that if I followed my passion things would eventually work out.”  

Thayne travels the country and the world making ski films, webisodes and taking ski photos for magazines. He’s been to Canada, Montana and Idaho, among other places. Last year he went to India. He is financed by Strafe Outerwear and 4FRNT Skis along with Good Company, a production company. He says they give him “an allowance” each year and he then goes out and finds the best stories. “I figure out where it is snowing, drive there in my truck and then start filming.”

Of all the places he’s visited, Thayne says he is a homeboy at heart. His favorite spot is– drumroll please–Alta. “I love being home because I know the slopes and the community is pretty stellar. I feel like I know every inch of that place and enjoy the people I grew up skiing with. Just knowing the terrain, getting creative and finding different ways to hit things every year is a lot of fun.”

In summer when the snow melts, Thayne builds skis for 4FRNT. “I got into it when they first sponsored my films and started learning ski-building by hanging out and watching. After you build a couple of thousand, you get the hang of it.” He is now the manager.

Asked about his life, Thayne says, “I’m happy for sure. People say ‘You just go out and have fun every day,’ but it can be exhausting. With all the social media out there you constantly have to improve to separate yourself from the crowd.”extreme skiing2 resized


Story by Connie Lewis

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