Name: Tom Grant
Sport: Skiing, alpine climbing, rock climbing
I was born in Arlington Virginia, USA, and moved to East Sussex, England, with my family aged 11. It was shortly after that move that I discovered skiing in the Austrian Alps during a year 8 school trip. I was immediately captivated by it and quickly took to sliding around on two planks. Shortly after that I began climbing on the sandstone outcrops nearby my home in Sussex.
My passion for skiing, climbing and thirst for adventure led me to move to the Alps in 2009. I quickly became obsessed with skiing steeper and steeper slopes and began to integrate mountaineering into my freeride skiing. Even though at first, I had very few partners for hiking up and skiing steep couloirs, I often went out on my own. I have always been driven to become the best skier I can become, and this passion has led me to ski numerous first descents and cutting-edge lines around the world and to have the pleasure of skiing with some of the world’s very best skiers.
After qualifying as an IFMGA mountain guide I have combined my passion for skiing and climbing into guiding and coaching clients in technical terrain.
Get to know Tom
Tell us about your successes so far?
Becoming an IFMGA guide has been a huge milestone in my life and something I’m very proud of. It was an 8 year process of realizing a dream and something now that is the cornerstone of my lifestyle in the mountains.
Skiing the first descent of the Caroline Face on Mt. Cook (New Zealand) in 2017 was the biggest line I’ve ever skied and remains the biggest ski achievement of my career. It was one of the world’s great unskied lines and had previously been attempted by several strong teams.
In 2019 during an expedition to the Central Alaska Range although we didn’t succeed in our main objective, we managed to ski some beautiful descents including the very technical Kalhiltna Queen West Face.
What are you working on? What are your goals for the future?
There are still several big and beautiful lines around the Mont Blanc Massif which have eluded me so far, there are always amazing steep ski challenges to be found close to home for me. Last season I spent more time exploring ski lines over in the Swiss Valais where I have a secret project trying to ski one of the biggest unskied faces in the Alps.
I’ve already had two previous attempts on the face. I’d like to spend more time exploring other mountain ranges too around the world, this winter I’m going to BC Canada for both ski guiding and personal ski projects. I’d also like to continue to explore some more exotic ski mountaineering destinations around the world for both guiding and personal ski projects. Becoming the best skier I can become in every aspect continues to motivate me. I’m also working on developing my guiding business and continuing to become a better climber.
Why do you ski? What do you love about skiing?
Skiing can be many things; I love the freedom and creative expression of it, I feel I can really express myself on skis. Skis can also be a tool for accessing epic adventures and a way to get to some incredibly beautiful and inaccessible places. Skiing is very technically demanding and difficult to master, there is always unlimited scope for progression. It is also a way to access different and intense psychological states.
Which Scarpa shoe is your favourite?
I absolutely love the Maestrale XT for everyday free-riding, touring and when I want to charge on big lines. It's the highest performing touring boot that I have ever used and its light weight means I don't hesitate to take it to remote lines requiring a lot of climbing.
Ribelle Tech 2.0 HD – I’ve been wearing this boot day in and day out during the summer season for guiding and my own climbing and I absolutely love them. They are the perfect blend of light weight comfort and precise performance. They look cool and fit like a glove. I’ve worn them 60 days this summer without any slight discomfort whatsoever!
Tell us about your best day skiing?
It’s hard to quantify what would be a ‘best day’, skiing has meant so many things for me, from the joy of a deep pillow line close to my home, to an extremely intense and dangerous situation far from home, to the satisfaction of guiding a regular client on one of the best ski days of their life. I’ve had some amazing experiences skiing alone, but it’s hard to beat a great day with someone you care about and trust in the mountains.
What do you do away from your sport?
Away from skiing, climbing and guiding, I spend time with my son, socialise with family and friends, go mountain biking and I always train for the mountains when I’m not in the mountains.
Concerns for the environment and money aside, if I could go anywhere in the world it would be to ski the sickest Alaskan spines with an unlimited Heli budget until my legs were so burnt out I could no longer stand. And with every day would be perfect bluebird.