Interview with Melissa

What: An in-person interview between Ambassador Melissa Baake and Co-Founder Lily Hogan.
Where: Park City, Utah
Why: Because Melissa is cool as hell and you want to hear what she has to say.
Q: In three sentences, how would you describe yourself?

A: Very energetic. I love to adventure. And live and capture the moment. Even at work… it’s an adventure at work.

Q: What are you most passionate about? 

Melissa: “Do I have to name just one?”

Lily: “Absolutely not”

M: “Definitely snowboarding and photography. I love everything outdoors but with those two I feel like I just want to push myself to the limit, until I can’t go anymore.”

Q: How did you get into photography? 

“I took this one trip with my friend Sam. We went to Bryce camera. He brought a camera, and none of us knew how to use it, he had gotten it from his dad or Grampa… It happened to be a dark sky, no moon. There were all these photographers with their tripods and equipment in this little bowl and we were like WOW let’s go get it!! So we set up the camera and the tripod and we’re trying to get these pictures and they’re just not coming out at all.

So I went and asked this guy, I was like … I don’t mean to bug you, I know you’re concentrating, but how did you get that image. He just took my camera and changed all the settings. And then we pressed the button. Me and Sam were just waiting because it’s a long exposure so it takes like 20 seconds. And an image popped up on the screen and Sam and I just look at each other like WOW NO WAY. And ever since then… I  was like, I’m obsessed. I bought a camera the week after and I got into night photography and then action sports photography. I’ve been planning my adventures around the photos I can take… I’m like lets go here because there’s this monument and Utah has got all this stuff!

“How old were you when that happened”

 “That was probably three years ago”

 “So recent!”

 “Yea! It’s pretty crazy how fast it’s happened, I have an addictive personality…”

 Q: Have you faced any barriers to being in the outdoors? 

“Competition for sure. I’m very competitive and sometimes that gets me to the dark side of my mind. But you have to know, this is all just a lesson. You have to live it and learn it and if you fail you’ve got to know that you just have to try harder.”

 Q: How did you get into snowboarding?

“I started that just seven and a half years ago. At first I wasn’t really into it. I moved here to Utah to be with my dad, I moved from Los Angeles. At first I thought Utah was lame, I was like there’s nothing to do here! I was so dumb as a kid, you know.

He took me to the canyons, we got off the lift and I was doing pretty well, and I only fell on my butt once or twice. I got really mad at myself, I wanted to do it without falling. Then I met some really cool people and I just wanted to keep getting better. To push myself. And I was like wow dude it only goes up from here.”

 “So you didn’t grow up doing it?”

 “No, no. I wish I did, I think I’d be less scared to land on my head if I had.” 

Q: If you could dream up one piece of gear that doesn’t exist or hasn’t been make right, what would it be?

 “I have to think about that one. My biggest fear is suffocating. So something that will blow up on impact if you’re stuck in an avalanche, something that just knows without having to be pulled or deployed manually.”

 Q: Where is your favorite place you’ve ever been? 

 “I’ve never left this country, which is really bad, and I should… Utah is my favorite place. Park City is my favorite place. If I had to leave it would be Lake Tahoe. The only thing that’s stopping me is how many people are there on the weekends.”

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