Faction is excited to announce that Sophia Rouches is the latest skier to join our team. The 24-year-old from Fall City, Washington loves steep chutes, fluffy pillow lines, and her 1990 converted campervan ‘The Falcon’- she is also a self-proclaimed wolverine aficionada. Read on to find out more about Sophia, what motivates her in skiing and how she gets her kicks on and off the hill.
TFC: Welcome to the team, Sophia! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
S: Happy to! I’m 24 years old and from Fall City, Washington which is a small town nested in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. I like just about all things skiing, but I spend most of my time in the backcountry, building jumps and skipping down pillows. Come springtime, I like taking my skis for really long walks on some of the many volcanoes we have here in the Pacific Northwest. Outside of skiing, I really like muddy mountain bike rides, picking flowers, and drinking coffee on porches.
TFC: Where did you grow up skiing?
S: I grew up skiing at Alpental. It’s a small, but mighty mountain 50 miles east of Seattle with basically two chairs, one of which is a rickety old double seater that accesses nothing but ‘expert terrain.' The mountain itself is home to some of the steepest inbounds terrain in the lower 48 and easily accessible backcountry packed with tons of pillows, cliffs, and steep chutes. Growing up there I learned how to look for micro landings, ski fast into tight trees, and that it’s totally acceptable to leave your friends when someone higher up in the line is in need of a single to get on the chair. Without a doubt, it’s shaped me into the skier I am today.
TFC: What does a typical day on the mountain look like for you?
S: I usually start the day by checking the snow report at least fifteen times, lacing up the boots and hiking into Chair 5 for the mad dash to the base (if you’ve ever skied Baker you know what I’m talking about). Then it’s powder hour, keep the laps rolling until the snow gets tracked or the legs give out. In the afternoon, things usually mellow out and we venture into the backcountry or build a jump - always closing out the day with après in the lot!
TFC: Where do you call home now?
S: Home is where the mountains meet the ocean, in the beautiful city of Bellingham, WA. I came up here for university and have since found a wild bunch of folks who like to spend time outside and are some of the best backyard BBQ’ers I've ever met.
TFC: Can you tell us something about yourself most people wouldn’t know?
S: I’m a self proclaimed wolverine expert… and no not the X-Men Wolverine, but the illusive 40lb, tenacious, alpine animal. I wrote 20 pages on them in school, and fell in love with their ability to move through the mountains at ease. Some of the best mountaineers around!
What skiers inspire you?
S: Being from the northwest, Ingrid Backstrom was, and still is, one of my biggest inspirations. As a young grom, I remember watching her in Matchstick movies as the only female, shredding lines in AK with such style and grace. I’ve been lucky enough to get some days with her the past couple years and her confidence and expertise in the mountains is something I aspire to. There are so many ladies out there pushing the sport right now, it gets me stoked!
TFC: Stand-out memories from last season?
S: I spent a month in Japan last year, in the Fukushima region which was a huge highlight. Not in terms of skiing (Japan was having an off year with low snow), but the locals we met, and the rich culture we were immersed in was something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. In terms of memorable ski days, I think the best are always at the home mountain with a heavy group of friends, skiing pow and feeding off each other’s high levels of stoke. I can’t help but smile when I think of those days.
TFC: What’s the story behind ‘The Falcon’?
S: Ah! The Falcon is my beloved, double decker, 1990 campervan. She’s rear wheel drive and maxes out at 55mph but has the willpower to make it up some of the gnarliest mountain passes. I’ve spent the last few seasons living in her, we’ve been through a lot together. I’ve been told she smells like grandma's house and has the cutest wood stove you’ve ever seen.
What’s the best thing about van life?... And the worst thing?
S: Oh the ups and downs. The best part is waking up to the sound of avalanche control, rolling out of bed and being at the mountain. I love having a home in the mountains. Worst part has to be the breakdowns... Being built in 1990, she’s not the most reliable home on wheels. I’ve had my fair share of days stranded on the side of the road up to my elbows in gasoline when I should’ve been up at the mountain with the crew. But it keeps things exciting, and at the end of the day I love her.
TFC: What have you got coming up for this season?
S: This season has a lot of uncertainties given the global pandemic we're currently facing, but nonetheless, I’m stoked, and feel incredibly lucky to spend time in the mountains. I’m looking forward to exploring some of the far corners of my backyard here in Cascadia. A few friends are working on film projects that I’m excited to be a part of. I may venture further inland to ski in Colorado, or Montana but we’ll see what conditions do. Main plan is to keep things flexible and follow the snow!
TFC: What does it mean to you to join The Faction Collective and what are you looking forward to?
S: I could not be more stoked to be a part of The Faction Collective! There are so many wildly talented and unique individuals within the Collective that I’m so excited to connect with. It’s a dream to be working with a brand that prioritizes community, sustainability and equity. So much exciting stuff to come!