Chris Parrish has been at the top of the slalom world for years. At 33, he holds the world record in men’s slalom at 2@43 off and has won nearly every major slalom event in the world. With such a high profile within the sport, the pressure is on every time he hits the water. This past season, Chris has been making some major changes in his game, and has been getting the results to prove it. We spoke to Chris after his win at Pickos Ski School this past weekend where he ran 1.5@43 off in two different rounds to find out what it is that seems to be making it all click.
Tell us about this past season.
I called this season the new beginning for Chris Parrish. I’m 33 now and I had been having my share of problems over the last couple of seasons and felt like there were some people counting me out, so I put my head down and worked really hard to be competitive with all of the top level guys. I got on the right equipment, surrounded myself with the right people and it’s made all the difference in the world. I came into tournaments a lot more fired up this season and a lot more confident in my preparation for each event.
Speaking of equipment, what’s up with AM skis?
Last year I was asked to come out and try some skis. What they are doing is incredible and they put me on some different ski’s that really worked for the way I ski. I was skiing really well on everything we were testing and I actually ran 41 off on my first try of the season on one of the early model AM’s. Andy puts his heart, soul and years of knowledge into everything he does and for the first time since 2005 I really felt like I was clicking with my equipment and it has been a huge confidence booster. We’re working on new things all the time and I’m really happy to be able to be a part of what Andy and AM Skis are doing.
What’s your relationship with Andy Mapple like?
Andy and I have a tremendous amount of respect for each other and we’re really good friends. Anything Andy does works, and any time I have worked with him over the years it has turned into breaking world records, tying world records, and winning major events. He has done so much for me as a person and as an athlete; I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to work with him. It makes all the difference in the world.
This past weekend, you became #1 again in the IWWF standings. What went into that?
I ran 41off 5 times in record events this year and I knew what Nate’s scores were coming into this weekend. I knew that if I wanted to move into the #1 spot I had to get a piece of the 2 ball at 43 and I was able to do that twice.
What are you looking forward to in the off-season?
I’m looking forward to doing a lot of product testing with AM Skis and Nautique, along with staying in the gym and focusing on training and staying healthy.
What does your training schedule look like?
This season will be a little different. I’m going to work really hard with Andy’s trainer in the gym and do a lot of cycling. My biggest goal is to get to a good fighting weight and lean out to be competitive at the top level. I’m doing a lot of things differently now and I have the right people supporting me and helping me get to where I want to be.
What do you like to do in your off time?
I like to hang out with my girlfriend Kahla and my family. We’re moving to Tampa this month and looking forward to a bit of a change. I enjoy coaching so I’ll be doing some of that and visiting friends during the off season.
You get to ski with a lot of people all over the world and you’ve been at the pinnacle of the sport for a long time. What is the most important thing you think someone should focus on when trying to take their skiing to the next level.
I honestly think people get too hung up on their weaknesses and don’t focus enough on their strengths. I see skiers get lost in trying to overcome and overthink aspects of their skiing trying to change too many things at once. Focus on what you’re good at and work on your skiing as a whole instead of beating yourself up over your weaknesses.
What is your perfect setup?
AM Skis test lake behind a Ski Nautique 200 450hp 6.0L. Chad Scott at the wheel, Kayla in the boat sitting next to Andy, and a piece of 3 ball at 43 off. There is no place I’d rather be.
What is your favorite tournament?
The Nautique Moomba Masters. There is no other site in the world with that big of a crowd and that much energy. It’s the closest we get to feeling like we’re in an NFL arena.
What is it like skiing for Nautique?
Our industry has been through some ups and downs and I am so fortunate to have been with Nautique through it all. They are truly committed to being the best and are always pushing the envelope. The Ski Nautique 200 couldn’t have come at a better time and it’s amazing to me how much the creation of that boat made everything fall into place. Skiing behind the first prototype’s I felt as if for the first time I had something that helped me beyond my own ability. That boat revolutionized the ski industry and gave me the tool I needed and the confidence that led to a World Record in 2010. It’s just incredible how far we have come.
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
I would like to thank Nautique Boats, AM Skis, Eagle Sports, my parents, and coaches!