PCHS alum Hogan-Holley loves water in all its forms
Harrison Hogan-Holley has just gotten back from a 13-day ski trip to Japan, where the powder was deep and the lifts don’t close, and he’s all smiles. "Awesome," he says, as he watches the movie clones walk up and down Main Street. The first time out of country, he worked with professional photographer Eric Sales. Harrison’s job was the stuff of dreams: he was there to "shred the gnar!" and look good doing it. He’s sponsored by Soul Poles, and skis custom skis from local ski-manufacturer RAMP. Chances are you’ll see him in the ski magazines, doing backflips and punching through powder pillows — all with a big smile.
As a teen he trained as a mogul skier for five years on the Park City Freestyle Team, with coaches Todd Schirmann and Mick Berry. "It was all about moguls," he says, "all about finding the right line. We did take breaks for powder days though." He’s also proud of his first place at PCMR’s informal Chinese Downhill a few years back, too. After chugging a beer at the top of Jupiter, the mass start race (there are no rules) ends at the Corner Store only after chugging another. His shirt says "Winner," everyone else’s says: "Loser."
After high school he headed to the University of Nevada at Reno, where he majored in civil engineering and minored in skiing Tahoe. But he was looking for a bit more freedom. While in college local skier David Wintzer invited him, with just a few days’ notice, to head to Telluride for the 2007-08 Free Skiing World Tour event. Sounded like a plan, and he was on his way — and still did well in his classes.
"I immediately fell in love with the competition, people and overall feel of the tour and have been competing ever since," he says. Now the only time he looks back is probably when he’s doing a flip; that’s what you get for taking Adventure PE at Park City High School.
But this adventurer also has a larger plan. Though he chose UNR, partly because it was ranked as No. 2 in top skiing campuses by a ski magazine, he was serious about his career. With his engineering degree he now helps do land planning and developments at Alliance Engineering back home on Main Street. "I did some surveying in high school, and liked it," he says.
Then, another sport beckoned. In 2010, he pulled a private rafting permit in the Grand Canyon and he and his girlfriend, Kira Krepela, discovered how much fun snow is when it melts in a big way. "I came back with a geology paper," he says, showing off the photos of his tiny rubber raft cresting a muddy, standing wave in the Rapid 209, right before he flipped. The kid’s always upside down.
"It’s a great way to get away from reality," he says of the Colorado River. And of course he went back the next summer. For fun and training he takes his SUP down the Provo and Weber Rivers locally, and he may just serve you a beer a few days a week at Edgar’s Lounge at Snow Park.
Harrison sees water, liquid and frozen, as his next professional step, as he girds for grad school this fall to study hydrology. As everyone knows around Summit County, water means everything, and he has every intention of getting wet along the way, and going with the flow.
"I want to stay local," he says. "There’s no better place."
Keep a close eye on him; he’s headed for a podium and a bright future.
You can follow Harrison’s exploits at his site, Big Mountains and Small Towns (Bigmtnhhh.blogspot.com)
Author Edward Massey will present a reading and book signing of his new historic novel “Fugitive Sheriff” at the Kamas Valley Branch on Friday.