Parkin Costain just celebrated his birthday complete with eighteen boys pelting each other with paint balls in a wooded battleground, recovering with junk food, and a sleepover where nobody slept. Normal stuff for a boy turning twelve.
As the ski season comes to a close, we asked Parkin to sit down for a rare still moment and tell us what it’s like to create the headlines, “Costain Sweeps Freeskiing Events” and discover if he really is fearless.
WL- So Parkin, what exactly is free skiing?
Parkin- Free skiing is like hitting all the cliffs on East Rim (on Big Mountain). It’s going fast and hitting drops.
WL- How did you do in this season’s competitions?
Parkin- Last year I won the entire Canadian series. This year we went to about ten events. I had some falls so I didn’t do as well. So, I probably got first in every one except three.
WL- We heard you had a pretty big fall at Grand Targhee. What was that like?
Parkin- Yah, that was a big fall. I came in off the top, made it through a tough spot and then went off a fifteen foot drop. My left foot went into the ground and it made me spin around backwards and flip over. I did a backwards tomahawk for thirteen seconds down the hill. The furthest I flew on one of them was thirty-five feet. It didn’t hurt that bad. My leg hit a tree and I had a big bruise. I was freaked out by the trees though. I don’t care about going off a cliff, but I’m scared of hitting trees.
WL- That’s crazy. Good to know you’re scared of something. Why do you think you are so good at freeskiing?
Parkin- Because my dad grew up doing it and he used to take me skiing with him when I was a baby in a backpack. He started me on skis at two, then I started hitting cliffs when I was six and winning competitions when I was eight.
WL- Who most inspires you?
Parkin- Well, as a free skier, Tanner Hall because he’s bringing all the tricks from the terrain park to all mountain. And my Dad. He started out as a snowboarder and when I was born, changed to skiing. He loves powder.
WL- What else do you love to do?
Parkin- Mountain biking downhills. I won the race up on Big Mountain last year. I also like to make stuff like potato cannons.
WL- How did you make that?
Parkin- I looked everything up on YouTube and went to Ace and told my mom I’d pay her back for all the stuff for it and then she bought it all and I never did. That thing was so fun; it was taller than I was. We launched from the parking lot behind The Wave and it went about a quarter mile.
WL- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Parkin- Hopefully winning money at all the national competitions for free skiing. Or world wide.
WL- What advice would you give younger kids who want to do what you do?
Parkin- Follow your dreams and practice. Ski as much as you can. I just ski a lot and it helps me get stronger. My dad takes me on cliffs and teaches me how to position myself so they should find a coach to help them. Pick a line, pushing your limits a little bit. If you land it, you’ll do better than you thought you could. Pick the funnest and strongest line you can think of.
WL- What do you like best about living in Whitefish, Montana?
Parkin- The mountain. My favorite run is Picture Chutes in Hellroaring Basin.
Then Parkin stands to go and I fire one more question at him, “What’s the best part? What do you love most about what you do?” In this moment, there’s a glimpse of the man he will someday be when without hesitation he says, “Overcoming fear and facing a challenge.”
Pete also authored a page in a new book, Fifty Classic Ski Descents in North America.