Eagle County local is soaring through life
September 14, 2011
VAIL, Colorado – Rebecca Selig is chasing her dreams, and that’s better than her demons chasing her.
The Vail local is taking dead aim at this year’s Subaru Freeskiing World Tour title. That means she wants to be the world’s best at throwing herself off huge mountains on skis, in pursuit of a world title. As she does, she’s skiing away from the alcohol that almost wrecked her life.
“I like to think I’m dancing out there. I’m creating art,” Selig said during her lunch break as a concierge at St. James in Beaver Creek.
Her life is a dichotomy.
When we caught up with her, she had just got off the phone with HBO’s “Real Sports.” They want to do some filming.
She had a few minutes to chat, then had to get back to work.
The Subaru Freeskiing World Tour is starting to attract some attention. And why not? In some of the world’s most breath-taking places, competitors perform life-threatening feats generally contemplated only by those who’ve completely lost their will to live.
Sometimes they don’t live.
A couple competitors died last spring, one from Aspen.
When they headed out the next day to ski, people asked pithy questions, such as, “What is wrong with you people? People are dying and you’re going out skiing?”
“We’re still going to ski. We just won’t ski where there’s no snow,” Selig said. “We live to ski, we ski to live. The people who died would want us out there.”
And so she’s out there chasing her dreams, sending emails to sponsors and trying to put together a travel budget.
Jobs keep getting in the way, but she’s glad to have them. The folks at the St. James have been great, she said.
“I have good support here,” she said.
Right now, she’s fourth on the tour. It’s her fourth season. She finished third at the Red Bull Powder Disorder in Argentina in August and won at the Jackson Hole Freeskiing World Tour qualifier last winter.
“I didn’t ski how I would have liked (in South America), but I skied my way to the podium,” Selig said. “I can win this thing.”
She needs to get to Revelstoke, Canada. The tour stops there in January, but cruising across international borders has become a problem for Selig.
Selig had what we’ll call a series of youthful indiscretions combining alcohol and automobiles’ and she became a regular in Judge Katharine Sullivan’s court.
Judge Sullivan isn’t known to roll out the welcome mat for return guests to her courtroom, especially those whose appearances involve bouts with alcohol.
Sullivan ordered Selig into a treatment program that changed her life.
When she was sentenced, Selig was furious, as many are.
“I was so mad I wanted to ask her if she wanted to be my (Alcoholics Anonymous) partner,” Selig said.
Sullivan was non-plussed, in keeping with a judge who deals with alcohol’s destructive power all day every day.
Of course Sullivan won that battle, but Selig’s also winning hers. Her last drink was on May 4, 2010.
“I go to AA meetings, I go to church on Sunday nights, I work and I ski,” Selig said. “It’s part of me, part of my life. It directed me to God.”
Then she says something that only big mountain freeskiers can fully embrace.
“I have to stay grounded,” she said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.