Jason Starr skis frozen water at Colorado’s Monarch Mountain…
…and steps into liquid on Lake Champlain.
surfed,” Starr says. “I had an experience that was probably
a lot like other skiers’, standing sideways on the board thinking, ‘I should be skiing this right now.’ As a skier, when you go
down the face of anything, you want to be skiing it. That was
the genesis of the idea to ski waves.”
But it wasn’t until many years later that he’d fully committed
to building a surf ski prototype.
“In 2004, something changed and I just decided that somebody absolutely had to ski waves,” Starr says. “From there on
I committed myself to making it happen one way or another.
It’s been a labor of love the last five or six years.”
Starr says Starr Surf Skis’ first “real breakthrough” came in
2009, when the aforementioned Townsend and Douglas went
to Maui and experimented with a variety of wave skiing set-ups, having excellent results with Starr’s creation.
“Townsend and Douglas had success in Hawaii with that prototype,” Starr says. “Then Chuck was inspired by them, got
in touch with me, and we had another round of developing
the skis to make them better. We partnered with McDermott’s
Shapes of Maine to build the skis Chuck used at Jaws.”
Starr, 35, grew up in the Boston area, learned to ski at At-titash, N.H., and then joined the freestyle program at Loon as
“I primarily focused on moguls, but also competed in aerials,”
says Starr, who made it to the junior nationals level and skied
alongside guys like Jonny Moseley and Evan Dybvig.
“College was essentially the end of my freestyle career — I
competed in a few ski cross and big mountain events, but
that’s it,” Starr says. “I skied every chance I got, though, and
at that point I was really in skiing for the adventurous side of
it. Colorado turned me into a powderhound.”
While at CU’s school of journalism, Starr spent time as an
editorial intern at Skiing magazine when the publication first
relocated from New York to Boulder, and Starr says that his
passion for skiing has informed many of his post-college journalism career moves.
“I worked at the Summit Daily News in Frisco, Colo., after I
graduated from CU,” Starr says. “I was a sports reporter and
STARR SURF SKIS
then a sports editor and I’ve been at it ever since — always in newspapers.
In [those early days] I worked a lot of nighttime hours so that I could ski
— didn’t want to miss any powder days.”
After stints at daily papers in Summit County and Salida, Starr and his
wife, Leah, moved to Vermont in 2007 to give New England life a go. When
he’s not plugging away at business related to Starr Surf Skis, he’s working
for Lynn Publications, which produces several northern Vermont papers.
Starr says that the most important thing in his journalism work is consis-
tency, something he learned a lot about as freestyle skier.
“When you’re skiing moguls, everything is changing, and you have to ad-
just on the fly all the time, yet you have to find a way to be consistent with
your turn,” Starr says. “You have to identify and commit to a few important
things [in your skiing technique to help you accomplish that consistency].
It’s the same being a professional journalist: You have a set of basic tenets
which might allow you to deal with a difficult interview when you’re not get-
ting honest answers, or a story that doesn’t come together like you thought
it would. You can always come back to basics and be consistent. I put my
trust in that to create quality work.”
You won’t find Starr shredding Maui’s Jaws with Chuck Patterson anytime
soon, but you might spot him stand-up paddleboarding or wake-skiing on
the waters of Lake Champlain, or skiing powder at Smugglers Notch. Or
visit starrsurfskis.com to learn more about skiing waves this summer.
SkiRacing.com APRIL 7, 2011 | 64