With groundbreaking film parts that shattered skiing’s glass ceiling and a list of accolades ranging from world tour titles to magazine awards never before won by a woman, you’d think skiing is all consuming for Angel Collinson. In fact, if you ask the 28-year-old about her true passion, she’ll most likely discuss skiing as a “why” rather than a “what”; that skiing helps her dig deep, discover her limits, hone in on her awareness, make peace with fear and practice mindfulness.
Not many ski bums can claim a childhood in employee housing at one of the most iconic ski areas in the world. Angel, her brother Johnny, her patroller/snow safety director father and homeschooling mother grew up at the base of Snowbird in Utah’s famed Little Cottonwood Canyon. In the winter, she and her brother shared a 5-by-12-foot closet with bunkbeds and in summer, the family lived out of a 1979 blue Ford Econoline while they backpacked in mountain ranges around the west. Ski racing provided a social life, and an opportunity to travel internationally. When the talented racer was 18, she narrowly missed the cut for the U.S. Ski Team. Angel had already earned a full academic scholarship at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and intended to pursue a double major in environmental studies and philosophy, but then she started winning big mountain competitions. In 2010, her rookie season on the circuit, she won the Freeskiing World Tour, then again took home the overall title in 2011, while completing her freshman year of college. The following year she came in second on both the American Freeskiing World Tour and the European Freeride World Tour, earning a reputation for consistency in steep terrain, creative line choices and high speed, aggressive skiing—just the kind of style filmmakers look for in a big mountain skier. In 2013, she traveled to Alaska to film her first TGR segment. The following year, Collinson scored the opening scene of TGR’s Almost Ablaze—a first for a female skier. She followed it up by skiing in the coveted closing segment of the 2015 film, Paradise Waits, another first for her gender. She continues to star in ski films, skiing for both TGR and Matchstick Productions, combining a hard-charging skiing style with a calm, calculated approach to the mountains.
Now living in Girdwood, Alaska, Angel is exploring the Chugach, applying her reluctant notoriety to environmental causes and striving to live her true self.