HH: The PhD® Pro campaign is all about socks made for greatness, with socks created to meet very specific needs using athlete insights. In keeping with Smartwool's greatness theme, what’s your favorite moment of greatness in your career?
AC: I think my favorite moments of greatness are when you can give to others things that are important to you, or that you have worked hard to earn. Maybe it’s in the field and it’s your turn to pick a line, but it’s really speaking to someone else, and you give them the best line in the zone... The moments when you transcend self-interest and give to the greater good – whether that be your team, your family, your community – that spirit of generosity is what comes to mind when I think of ‘greatness’. Also, when you overcome a challenge. Last year when we were in Albania, I was still battling some major fear demons, ones that I hadn’t quite yet overcome post-injury. There was this couloir that we were all going to ski - it was in the shade, and was really hard to tell snow quality. The last time I skied anything like that (a couloir that looked pretty easy and straightforward but hard to tell conditions) was when I took that 1,000-foot tomahawk that went viral on the internet.
Sometimes moments of greatness are subtle. I wouldn’t say the line I skied that won Powder’s Line of the Year was necessarily a moment of greatness – I got to the bottom and was like, “that was fun, let’s go back up for another run.” But when I was standing at the top of the shady couloir in Albania, I was absolutely terrified, and it wasn’t necessarily rational. To overcome that fear and commit, even though it seemed to be an easy line, was a personal moment of greatness that took a lot of strength.
HH: All of Smartwool’s PhD® and PhD® Pro socks are made in the USA using ZQ-certified Merino wool, a New Zealand program that ensures the highest-quality fibers while elevating animal welfare, environmental care, and social sustainability. You’ve always been a very environmentally and socially conscious skier, talk to me about how this brand is in alignment with your own beliefs.
AC: We are in a very interesting time politically right now. I think now, more than ever, we need companies to set good ethical examples. Money speaks. We are all consumers – so we need to have products and brands to put our money behind that are thinking bigger than simply how to make more money by cutting corners and externalizing that cost on the environment. It’s a long road, but we have to start somewhere. I feel that Smartwool sees this importance of leading by example and setting new norms, new standards protecting not only the land, but its inhabitants as well.
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