High Fives Ambassador JT Holmes talks about the B.A.S.I.C.S. program & HIGH FIVES FOUNDATION to examiner.com

Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

J.T. Holmes is a professional skier and extreme adventure sportsman. He has years of professional skiing experience competing world wide. This year J.T. combined three of his favorite sports, speed riding, skiing and base jumping to descend the Eiger Mountain in the Bernese Alps. His journey took about three minutes and60 Minutes was on hand to document his epic adventure. A few of his previous extreme athlete jobs have included participating in action adventure films for Warren Miller Entertainment, filming footage for extreme sports videos, wingsuit flying in movies such as, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, helping stunt teams coordinate speed flying scenes for movies including,Fast & Furious and Godzilla. Back on the ground, J.T. is the Director of B.A.S.I.C.S., Being, Aware, Safe, In, Critical, Situations, a program service through the High Fives Foundation. The B.A.S.I.C.S.program promotes safety and awareness through world class coaching of action sport athletes and create videos that promote critical thinking to winter sport enthusiasts of all ages.


Examiner: Which is interesting in that extreme sports are built around a sense of free form and “Watch me, can you do this?” Yet it can be quite dangerous.

J.T.: That’s just it I’m not into regulating bodies. I’m not into limiting progression and having some kind of body establishing guide-lines and saying, “You can’t do this until you’ve completed a per-requisite skill evaluation.” That’s why I started my program with the High Fives Foundation. The B.A.S.I.C.S. program acronym stands for, Being, Aware, Safe, In, Critical, Situations. Frankly we just want to get people to use their heads at least just a little bit. To understand how much training happens behind the scenes. You can go on the news feeds on the internet and see amazing footage of a quadruple corked flip on ski’s now. Or people flying their wingsuits really low to the ground. In every single sport the bar is rising higher and higher and our mission at B.A.S.I.C.S. is to show people what the pre-requisite skills are. We show an Olympic gold medal freestyle skier doing simple flips into a swimming pool. Or a snowboarder talking about avalanches and helmets. We then go out to schools coast to coast and show the videos. We made one called, “Helmets Are Cool.” The latest video is called, “Choices.” It’s all about making smart decisions. We all unfortunately know it’s very important.

Examiner: What’s the process for you that goes into preparing to descend the Eiger and some of your other big projects?

J.T. Holmes: The Eiger is a great example because the check list was incredibly long and thorough. Even the safety checks on the top of the mountain were critical and extensive. In regards to physical preparation, my sports are gravity sports and they don’t require a lot of physical fitness-strength. It’s not like I am powering the mountain. I do yoga and a lot of hiking, cycling and swimming. I swim in Lake Tahoe in the summer. I will wake up and swim about 1.7 miles, a pier to pier training. I prefer exercising outside so what I choose is specific to the season. I’m the guy that needs to be in nature and when you’re dealing with nature you take the offerings that exist for any given day. Some days that might be a perfect single track trail for mountain biking, or perhaps it’s a group of friends that are going road cycling. I recently got a brand new Santa Cruz Bronsonmountain bike which is just awesome. It’s amazing how balanced it is and the traction I get. It’s really rejuvenated my stoke for mountain biking.

Examiner: I’ve been in that bike shop those bikes are beautiful. Do you go to the gym at all?

J.T.: Typically in the Fall I will do a bit of plyometric stuff but in general it’s more about working on my flexibility which is something I struggle with. I’ve had some injuries over the years. I also grew quite quickly so I’m naturally quite stiff. I combat that with stretching, and yoga. Typically the first thing I do after waking up in the morning are hamstring stretches. I lie down with my feet up against the wall and my gluts up against the wall and stretch my hamstrings. Everything works a lot better once I’ve got loose hamstrings.

Examiner: Do you work with a physical trainer?

J.T.: I do not work with a physical trainer although I should and I may do that going forward. But at the moment I don’t.

Read the full interview HERE


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