We are proud to announce the addition of Michigan’s most “cherry” power free skier Mike King to Lib Tech Ski! Mike is an all terrain Ripper who’s wanderlust annually migrates him from mid western orchard to far western peaks via on again off again adventure mobile adventures. Hungry for experiences (video parts, powder, friends, break downs, fixes, pillows, parks and the ski bum life in general) Mike leaves room in his stomach (and heart) for cherries and his work at his family’s King Orchard farm. Any free time is spent surfing the Great Lakes and rallying for clean water and a greater appreciation for the natural world that so effects both hemispheres of his life; cherry farmer and snow farmer. Hard work and optimism are centuries old traits in American agriculturists and Mike carries this traditional mentality forward in to his full send, huge smile approach to skiing. Seems like just the right kind of insanity for the modern free skier. Grounded and taking off, this is Mike King.
Where are you from?
Central Lake, Michigan
What High School did you go to? What was the mascot?
Central Lake Trojans.
Were you a “cool” kid, or “nerdy” kid, a “jock”, a “prep”, a “greaser”, a “sosh”, a “stoner”, a “rocker”, in band, or “other”?
I went to a small high school so we didn’t have any clicks or anything. All kids with any athletic ability played sports so I’d say I was a bit of a jock but more a skater / skier kid. And there weren’t that many of us around.
Any other sports or hobbies growing up?
I played football and baseball, also skated, surfed and ski raced. Pretty much anything active and competitive.
Where did you grow up skiing?
Schuss mountain in Bellaire Michigan, with a whopping 450ft vertical.
You work on your family’s Orchard. Did you grow up doing that?
Yeah, grew up on the Orchard and still live there today, mainly just during harvest season in preparation for the winter. Can always remember working and helping out as a kid but didn’t really start full-time until I was 13 or so.
Any parallels between Orchard life and ski life?
Yes so many parallels between Orchard life and ski life! One would be you just the theme of making the best of what you have. Whether that is bad snow/ injuries/mishaps or hail/ storms that mess up your fruit, you just have to make the best out of whatever is thrown at you. Also it’s so impactful to trust the process, ya can’t hurry anything and it will all work out in the end. Lastly would be the importance of busting ass. Harvest season is limited and we have a limited amount of time to get the fruit off the trees and in skiing were always racing time to stack shots before the snow melts. You might be tired and run down, but you have to keep going because the season will be over before you know it…
What are your top five cherry related food items?
King Orch Cherry concentrate
King Orch Cherry salsa
Mama Deuces Cherry pie
King Orch Chocolate covered cherries
King Orch Dried cherries
What ski flicks were you in to coming up? What or who inspires you in the ski world?
In my early teenage years I was obsessed with the Level 1 and Poorboys movies. Refresh and Yeah Dude are two of my favorites. I was into a lot of street and park skiing so I looked up to Mike Hornbeck, Tanner Hall, Sammy Carlson, Henrik Hartaut, Tom Wallisch, Ahmet Dadali, JP Auclair. I loved watching pow and big mountain but being a kid from Michigan who had never skied real pow made it hard to relate to.
What’s your pole to no pole policy? When is it pole time and when is it not, asking for a friend.
Haha I’m pretty liberal with the poles no poles policy. I think it’s much more fun to not have poles but its so hard to ski and keep composure without them. It allows so much freedom to have your hands flow and grab anything you want. It’s a lot easier to ditch them when riding park but in the pow and lines it’s crazy tough. My thumbs are already a bit wonky and can’t handle any more surgeries so anytime I can get away without using them I will.
You’ve been known to surf the Great Lakes, how are the waves in Michigan?
Yes! Love surfing the Great Lakes! Its very special because it doesn’t provide that often and for it to be good everything has to line up. It reminds me a lot of backcountry skiing where we watch these storms sometimes a week out. Everything affects the quality of the waves, from temperatures of water to air, wind direction and strength, fetch, water depths and shape of the coastline or type of beach. We do lots of exploring to find where the best waves for each wind direction and every storm is different. When it goes its amazing, I have surfed some of the most beautiful crystal clear pealing waves, sometimes up to 20 or 30 second rides. But often times its less than what we hope for, but I’m always stoked to just get out there. There are no bad days on the Great Lakes, especially with a fun, adventurous community. My girl’s family owns Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak, the Lib Tech supplier of the lakes, and has created a really strong community in the area, always down to embrace the elements.
What does clean water, clean air and environmental policy mean to you personally to King Orchards and to your love for the mountains and skiing?
It means everything to me. My livelihood relies on the state of the land. Everything I do wouldn’t be possible without the flow of the seasons, and a healthy natural environment. That’s why I love working with Lib Tech and their eco friendly manufacturing methods at Mervin. I’m sick and tired of the Earth being treated merely as a commodity. It’s time to make a change; to rise up, and push our lawmakers to prioritize the environment.
Is there an adventure mobile in your life? What’s his/her name?
Sure do, I drive a 2004 GMC Sierra with a sled in back towing a 6′ x 12′ converted cargo trailer. It’s not a house but its home! The rig allows me to drop the trailer in valleys and head down the sketchy trail heads with just the truck and sled.
What’s your plan this winter, who you going out with what are you chasing?
Heading to the northwest in search of deep snow and good times. I’ve got some big things going on with 686, also planning on linking up with Lucas Wachs and doing some fun stuff for Lib as well. We’re chasing nothing but the dream!