Name: Benjamin Schmitt
DOB: August 23, 1985
Hometown: Spokane, WA
Current Location: South Lake Tahoe, Ca
My skiing background started at age 6 in the north woods of Washington and Idaho. It is something I will always remember, one of my first distinctive memories. Immediately falling in love with the sensation and excitement that it gave me. That funny tingly feeling! You know what I mean? To the point where you start telling people that’s what you’re going to be when you “grow up.” My parents acknowledged the understanding that I possessed with my skis and the passion that came along with it.
The Spokane Ski Racing Association is where my skills ultimately began to develop. I won a basement full of trophies, went to JO’s, traveled/trained with world-class competitors, blah blah blah, and developed a strong skiing style that inherently comes with a racing background. I appreciate every moment as I look back on it, but eventually my interest with skiing, and the way I wanted to be perceived as a skier had changed drastically. I started focusing my attention toward the big-mountain and park aspects that willingly seem to go together in this era of skiing.
I gathered inspiration from above, family, friends, videos, magazines, and decided it was time to turn my dream into a reality. I moved to Tahoe after graduating high school, got a job at the local ski shop to hook up with kids that shared similar interests, and met the contacts that have brought me to where I am today. I was fortunate enough to compete in events that led to me getting noticed by the companies that support my approach to skiing and the forward movement that consumes it.
The last couple seasons I was blessed with opportunities to travel the world to ski unfamiliar aspects and mountains. Theses experiences have not only changed my outlook on life, but have opened many doors as to where my fun will be focused in the years to come.
I want to thank everyone who has been involved in anyway over the years, as I have grown as a person and skier. The people in my life who stay committed to keeping a clear conscious; the individuals that practice what it truly means to enjoy life and the people that we share it with.
Ok finally after getting that background formality bullshit out of the way lets get down to who Ben Schmitt really is. Ben is probably one of the most motivated, meticulous, and calculated human beings in the game of life. I’ve known Ben since we were 15 and it’s amazing to see how far he’s come up. He’s probably one of the most dependable and loyal people I know. He has a fresh look on skiing and sees things from a different view that takes that stale taste out of your mouth. What I see is no hype. Ben is just pure style and creativity. He pretty much does whatever he wants he’s not one to jump off the cliff with all the other lemmings. In a nutshell he is a very unique individual as a whole aside from just skiing. If you know Ben, and you’re reading this, you’re probably smiling.
~ Joel Cline
When Describing a lad like Gentle Ben I feel compelled to bring up the fact that when you grow up 2 feet shorter than everyone else your age, you really develop some sort of attitude, and defense mechanisms, but Gentle Ben I would say developed offense mechanisms. He would be in your face faster than anybody if push came to shove; he was never scared of anything, and in many ways that began to transition into his skiing. What started as maybe weekend activities up on the racecourse, gentle Ben began quickly wearing baggy pants because, well they were all baggy anyways. And went from basically being one of those guys you see around cutting it up, to one of the skilled skiers on the mountain. He then moved down to Tahoe, started to grow a little bit, both upward and outward with muscle, pretty soon the little man could weight his skis, flex his boots, and he entered a totally different environment. Started to delving into backcountry pow skiing and showing that a nose butter and a tail butter both of jumps and cliffs are something that the young man can and will do. Why? Because a low center of gravity has always been his stock and trade, and Folks, please believes that when you see Gentle Ben around, you will recognize the style, the eloquence, and the overall capability of a man that was born to cut snow. Party on!
~ Luke Van Valin
I’ve been riding and stealing from Ben for years. I like to do things nobody else can do. So does he. Benny’s skiing is so far outside the box; it’ll make you jealous! He’s got a killer style; he’s super smooth and effortless to watch, but some of his edge work and butters are crazy technical. Ben is one of the most creative riders I know. Be it buttering into the cleanest cork 5 going, nollie nose pressing a rail, or killing a pillow line like the best of them, Ben is one of the smoothest, cleanest, and most fun riders to watch in the game. He’s also got a killer attitude and an intense love for skiing, which makes him one of the most fun guys to ride with too! I was lucky enough to go to Japan last year with Ben, and sat back while he worked his magic. He ripped the pillow lines like you’ve never seen anyone else. Hand-drag 3’s on the POW pillows? For real? Every time I watch him ski I’m blown away. I’ll ski park with him for a while, and be blown away the next time I see him rip POW. We’ll ski POW for a while and I’m blown away the next time I watch him ride park. He’s got the style most kids would die for. For a few reasons, I wish I could bottle him up and force feed it to the rest of our sport. His creativity, skills, style, attitude, and approach to it all make him one of my favorite skiers to watch or ride with.
~ Mike Wilson