Lounging with Locals: Nadia Samer
“Gnarlia” is the type of girl that can only be found in the Sea2Sky. Born on the island and with a place in Whistler, she was pretty much born on skis and raised in the wild. There are helpless girls – and then there is Nadia: Combine a DIY-and-get-it-done attitude with a broiling passion for skiing and snowmobiling, she is that friend that, when my truck broke down, didn’t hesitate to hustle my sled backwards as a third one onto her double deck so I wouldn’t miss a Pow Day. She just does what needs to be done – even if that involves dragging her dad up Whistler and getting him to shoot her hit Air Jordan. Yep, that’s right.
Only 24 years old, she has quite legendary reputation: known as the girl with the bleeding bottom (from getting avalanched over a cliff onto rocks on the Hurley and then pinning it home past some snowboard crews), or the one that ghost-rid her sled “almost” into a photographer (“There’s no way the sled would have gotten even close”), to the girl that gets VERY upset when people roop into an area that she is shooting on – there always seems to be some kind of story to accompany the encounter.
Fact is: Nadia works hard out there, on every end possible: Multitasking film and photo cameras, her skis and snowmobile, being Operations Level 1 Avalanche Safety certified, … the list goes on…
Stoked to spend another season riding and shooting with Nadia – never a dull moment out there with this chick around!
1. How long have you been in Whistler full time and what do you love most about it?
I moved to Whistler at 15 to pursue ski-racing, Whistler had the best training facilities and programs available. I’m Island born and raised, not sure too many people have ever heard of “Campbell River” haha. I guess I’ve never really looked back, Whistler has everything I want. Since then I have raced Ski Cross at the international level, competed in Big Mountain Extreme competitions, and dabbled in Snowmobiling.
2. What kinds of things are you writing about for WIA?
I’ve tried to focus on unconventional stories and features for Whistler is awesome. Event coverage and top athlete standard profiles are done and by every outlet. I wanted to capture a more relate-able, real side of Whistler. The young families who are also professional athletes, the shop owners and employees. Patrollers and ski guides, the people who make Whistler what it is.
3. You’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, what scares you?
The thought of not being able to push my limits and do what I love scares me the most. I love scaring myself, the thought of being stuck in a wheelchair unable to move neck down or working a desk job the rest of my life is more terrifying than any cliff huck to me.
4. Where do you spend the most time? On your sled, on your skis, or behind the camera lens?
It really depends on what’s going on at the time, I spent a lot of time sledding, and sled-skiing in the backcountry as the access here is unparalleled. I do however ski resort a lot too as I’ve been skiing on Blackcomb since I was 2. We’re pretty spoiled here. My camera almost always comes with me as you never really know what the day will bring.
5. Any big goals for the winter?
This winter I’m filming with HighMark films for “Fourcast 3″, a snowmobile movie and also filming for “Pretty Faces”, an all female ski Movie produced by Lynsey Dyer. I’d like to put together two segments that I can be proud of by the end of the winter. It takes a lot for that to come together, you need ideal snow and weather conditions, your body & machine in top shape, and the filmer and the athlete have to both nail the line. It’s a lot of work, and there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that most people never see. Mostly hours of wrenching, physio and emails coordinating shoots… the not-so-glorious side of being an athlete.
6. When the snow’s gone, what keeps you busy?
When the snow melts, I’m a student at Simon Fraser University May through December majoring in Health Science and Minoring in International Studies – conflict and crisis resolution. I keep taking 5+ courses and then regretting it by the time mid-terms come along, but hey… it keeps me extremely busy and I love a challenge. I also enjoy downhill biking, soccer, crossfit and fishing when there is no snow around.
7. Shout outs?
I’d like to give a big shout out to my father for putting me on skis, and being extremely supportive of my goals through all the ups and downs. Thank you Jeff Schmuck for all your help and support over the years, along with all the photographers I’ve worked with who helped inspire me to pick up a camera myself. Thank you Jorli Ricker for supporting female snowmobiling and including two female athletes in his productions. I’d like to give a big shout out to Atomic for sticking with me through my ski racing, ski cross careers and continuing to support me with my big mountain skiing. I’d also like to thank all my other sponsors: Sessions Outerwear, Electric Visual, Reusch, WIDSIX, HMK USA, RSI Racing, Cheetah Factory Racing, LimeNine, C&A Pro Skis, and GoPro. Chris and everyone at Whistler Blackcomb have also been phenomenal to me over the years as well.