Matt Saraceno, best skier at Rail Jam

THE CATALYST: When and where did you start skiing?

SARACENO: I started skiing when I was nine years old at Okemo Resort in central Vermont.

What is your favorite thing to ski, such as park, backcountry, cliffs, etc., and why?

My favorite thing to ski is East Coast trees; that’s what I’m most used to. Whenever we get snowstorms at home, there is always great terrain. It’s definitely a completely different type of skiing than out here. Generally, the trees are a lot tighter. You get pretty steep pitches that can compare to steeps out here, just shorter in duration. The East Coast is definitely capable of getting a lot of snow, which is a misconception people have.

What is your favorite part about skiing in the East? The West?

It’s the combination of having that type of tree skiing when there is snow, but also having a pretty significant terrain park community when there isn’t any snow. I would say that throughout New England it is definitely a pretty cohesive community. If you are a regular ratter at a given mountain in New England, you’ll start to get to know others that ride at different mountains and build a network of people that you know. It’s pretty tight-knit, for sure.

I also love the snow, just the abundance of fresh snow. We do get good snow at home, but it’s not nearly as often. Plus, the terrain differences as well. Here, you have wide-open terrain that is alright to get going fast as opposed to making tight turns even when you’re on open trail in the East Coast.

What is your favorite mountain to ski in the U.S. and why?

The coolest mountain I’ve ever been to is Mad River Glen in Vermont just because it was hand cut back in the day, all the trails follow the contours of the mountain, and they don’t have any snow making. If those things were at a mountain on their own, they might be regarded as gimmicky but taken all together, it’s a good experience.

How many times have you done Rail Jam?

I’ve competed in Rail Jam every year, so three years. I used to compete a lot in freestyle skiing at home, but I fell away from that as high school progressed. I’ll compete in rail jams wherever I’m skiing if they are public. It’s a good way to get a little bit of competition in without having to train for or have to put too much work into it.

What do you like about CC Rail Jam specifically?

Here, it’s definitely just skiing with everybody else at this school who are into park. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come up much because people go to different mountains, or you can just even get separated. It’s really good to have everybody in one place and have our own night during the year.

What is your favorite trick and why?

I really like doing 180s, just really big, really slow, really funky looking 180s. That’s definitely my go-to. I just like adding a little bit of creativity to it because it is obviously a super simple trick, but I like doing a shifty or an interesting grab. It’s a trick that is so low consequence that it is really easy to elaborate on.

Who do you admire in the professional ski world?

I look up to a bunch of different people for different reasons. Right now, I look up to some of the crews that are skiing in the freestyle realm that are melding freestyle skiing with backcountry and traditional on-mountain park skiing. It’s starting to remind me of skateboarding a little more because that world is more congruent, more legitimate. It’s a stronger community. There are people out in the forefront of the skiing scene doing the same sorts of things and living the same sorts of lifestyles as the skateboarding crews I grew up watching. It’s a cool thing to see, that it’s slowly moving away from being dominated by cooperate ski teams.

When did you start skateboarding?

I started skateboarding before I started skiing, I was probably seven or eight when I first picked it up. I live three and a half hours from the mountains in Vermont from where I live in Massachusetts, so I was not able to get up there and ski all the time. So, I would skateboard every day after school and on the weekends when I was home. That was definitely a good thing that encompassed pretty much my home life. All my friends were skateboarders, and that’s what we would do every day. After coming to college, I’ve fallen away from it more, which sucks.

What are your go-to songs on your ski playlist?

Music is a very important part of my time skiing. When I go skiing, I look forward to putting my headphones in and just vibing to music all day. I have a couple of dance hall mixes, this artist named Kya Bamba. Also, I love listening to a lot of hip-hop while skiing. Generally, if I’m listening to lyrical music like hip-hop, it has to be flow-oriented with a good overall sound to it.

Liz Forster

Liz Forster

Liz was the 2014-2015 Editor-In-Chief at the Catalyst. She has written for the Catalyst since her freshman year. In her free time, she likes to ski, bake, and read memoirs.

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