‘Catching Air’ Local grad soars as top pro backcountry skier

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

Backcountry professional skier Mike King, of Central Lake. 


Courtesy photo

In an impressive display of the abilities that Mike King demonstrates every time he puts on a pair of skis, King boldly leaps over the road gap leading to Washington's Mt. Baker in the American Northwest, something he has now done several times.


CENTRAL LAKE – During the summer months, Mike King can be found on his family's farm north of Central Lake doing anything from spraying trees and hauling fruit, to pressing cider. 

But, come January, you'll have to look west into the backcountry of the American and Canadian Rockies to find the 2011 Central Lake High School graduate, who spends his winters bashing powder and ‘catching air.’

A professional backcountry skier, King eschews the groomed ski runs of popular Western resorts, preferring to drop off sheer rock cliffs, leap over huge boulders, and negotiate narrow chutes, ducking rocks and thick conifer trees, as well as the occasional roof top or road gap.

The winner of three state high school ski racing championships, the youngest son of Betsy and John King grew up on the hills of Shanty Creek Resorts, where along with his three brothers and sisters he was a member of the Antrim Ski Academy.

It didn't take long for his attention to wander beyond bashing gates. King credits his older brother, Frank, for teaching him to savor catching air.

"Frank would tow me around the farm on our family snowmobile, where I learned how to make back flips off rails that he'd put together," King said. "We were watching ski movies by that time, and we both wanted to hit the type of rails from those movies, but there weren’t any around. Instead, we just started making our own."

The “backcountry” of the King's backyard eventually changed to whatever urban rails the brothers could find between classes at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, as well as at Marquette Mountain and other deep snow areas of the Midwest.

A few years later, King left college behind for the mountains out west, and since has visited and skied the backcountry of just about every state in the American West and a good portion of Canada, as well as the Alps of Europe.

Read the full story in our regular edition of The Review. To subscribe to the paper for just $34 a year, which includes access to our full online e-edition, please go to the subscription page on this website at: http://www.antrimreview.net/subscribe/


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