American Fischer ambassador Brody Leven has come a long way since he started skiing at a small ski hill in Ohio. Now based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Brody has become an experienced and passionate year-round adventurer, but he still puts skiing first (specifically backcountry skiing). We caught up with the athlete about why he wanted to join the team and see what the future holds.
Why did you choose to join Fischer?
In 2020 I climbed and skied the Notch Couloir on the north face of Long’s Peak in Colorado with snowboarder Josh Jesperson. I used the Transalp 90 and noted the weight for skinning the long approach, how it stayed out of my way for the technical climbing and the way it skied confidently and held an edge on the very steep and exposed line. That’s what really convinced me to continue to ski Fischer, particularly in the high-risk terrain which I travel the world to find and in which I test myself. But only once I returned home—where I obviously don’t ski that terrain on a daily basis—and started my regular schedule of daily ski touring, I really began to notice that I was happy on the same skis each day. That’s what hooked me on the product since I really just see skis as a tool. But that’s only why I use the gear.
Why I actually wanted to become a part of Fischer is because Fischer is doing important work to get more people outdoors, like through the Fischer Grant program, and setting important examples, like using repurposed castor oil in boot manufacturing. The climate crisis is hitting us as skiers and I’m proud to see individuals, athletes, and brands like Fischer stepping up to lead on climate. Fischer and its team is steeped in real alpine history. I grew up in Ohio. The contrast couldn’t be starker. At the same time, their evolved touring collection speaks to a shared desire for elective hardship. And for those of us privileged to have less inherent hardship than others, the individual pursuit to cope with voluntary struggle unites us. Fischer makes the products some of us need in order to search for that struggle. But not every skier wants to struggle while on skis, and Fischer makes products for all of us to have meaningful experiences outside.
What was the best part of growing up skiing in Ohio?
My rural hometown didn’t have sidewalks, a central hangout zone, or a place in town for kids to congregate. The nearby ski hill filled that void. If my mom dropped me off after school, I knew that, on any given day, I’d run into some friends. And to do that outside of school was valuable and affirming—skiing would always be where I find community. But hopefully, skiing wouldn’t always involve that much rain.
How did you go from a park skier in Ohio to a skier who doesn’t ride lifts anymore?
Honestly, it’s probably just a phase. I love chairlifts, I love lapping the ski resort, I love running into friends in the liftline. I’m just currently excited to learn and practice what it takes to ski mountains that don’t have lifts whizzing me to the top. It’s almost an intellectual exercise, figuring out and learning the skill set necessary to safely get up and down these mountains. Plus, it’s a great way to see more of the world. And by seeing it, we grow to care about protecting it.
Where is the craziest place you’ve traveled for skiing?
All of the places I’ve been fortunate to visit are someone’s home. As crazy as they seem to me, simply due to my unfamiliarity with the culture or because of the climbing and skiing I do there, the places themselves aren’t inherently crazy. The least expected place I’ve skied, though, is probably Uganda in 2017 with Kasha Rigby, Mary McIntyre, and Robin Hill. Our third camp was burned down by rebels, likely from the nearby border with the DRC. That was definitely crazy, even for the locals we'd hired as porters.
What is POW and why are you so passionately involved with that organization?
Protect Our Winters (POW—get it!?) is a non-profit organization with which I’ve volunteered heavily since 2013. POW mobilizes “the outdoor state” —the 50 million Americans participating in outdoor recreation—to protect the places and lifestyles they love from climate change. I want to see, and will do everything I realistically can to encourage, the use of technologies and behaviors that will bring us to carbon neutrality. We have a lot of worthwhile places to protect.
Which Fischer products are you most excited to ski on this season?
Never have I ever: used a pair of superlight rando race skis. I have one specific project in mind this year that would have me using them, and I’m excited to see how much one's success depends on fitness and how much depends on ultralight skinny skis!
Has there been a person or a group of people that have been an important part of your evolution as a pro skier?
The after-school ski program at my home ski hill is the only reason I was able to get into skiing. It was cheap, it was every Friday after school, and it included the lift ticket, lesson, and rental equipment I needed to be able to participate. So although I was never a ski racer, I was fortunate enough to learn how to ski “properly,” even in Ohio, and to build a foundation there. More recently, I owe my life to snow safety professionals for the constant evolution of education and communication that provide us the opportunity to be safer in the mountains. I’m all about specialization, and those folks are bringing the recent influx of backcountry skiers into the sport in a safe way. And, of course, Fischer Sports, whose partnership is what stoked the fire for sharing the message of protecting people, planet, and powder. Or ice and grass, if you’re from Ohio. ;-)