Skip to main content

Steamboat Magazine

Deep in the Backcountry with Jacob Smith

03/10/2023 10:08AM ● By Ski Town Media
(Photo: Jacob Smith takes moment to soak in the Colorado sunshine while snowmobiling in the Routt County backcountry. Photography courtesy Vanessa Schultz / Thunderstruck Adventures.) 

Steamboat had a special visitor last week but you might not have seen him because he was hiding in the powder while snowmobiling with Thunderstruck Adventures. Jacob Smith of 60 Minutes fame is a legally blind 16 year old freeride skier who is best known for his run down the Big Couloir in Big Sky, Montana. The narrow, 1,400 foot chute has a 50 degree slope and at age 11, Jake was the first legally blind skier to stand at the top of the 11,000 foot peak and drop down into the chute. Two years later, the video of him skiing the run launched his career into filming ski and snowmobiling movies. "I just like going fast," he says. 

Jake was just 8 years old when he lost most of his vision due to a brain tumor. Halfway through the next winter, he was back on the slopes with his dad guiding him down the mountain. Now, the adventure seeker is trying his hand at snowmobiling. "I like to throw my skis on the back and stop and ski whenever I want to," he says. No matter what, Jake likes to be in the deep powder of the backcountry. And his lack of vision isn't going to stop him. "The way I look at it, I've already had the biggest setback of my life that I could. So there's nothing else that should slow me down."