JT Holmes is a professional skier and ski base jumper, whose insane talent consistently takes him to the edge and back. He’s spent his life pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on the side of a mountain, and redefining the limits of human performance on the snow. In doing, he’s been a pioneer in the sport of ski base jumping. “Wingsuit ski base jumping is kind of a cumbersome, strange thing to do,” JT told Men’s Journal. “It’s like, you’ve got three different toys—skis, wingsuit, parachute. It’s like, make up your mind. But it’s the ultimate way to combine some cool things.”
It’s no surprise that any gig that takes you as high and extreme as JT’s would require a certain degree of fearlessness. For JT, that comes from the emotional part of his brain taking over the cognitive—indeed, it’s difficult to imagine a person in his right mind risking the jumps JT does. One of his most recent feats was to ski and base jump off Mt. Eiger, a 13,020-foot peak in the Bernese Alps, an exploit that had many nervous he could achieve. He did, and it’s pretty crazy to watch.
JT’s apparent fearlessness doesn’t preclude having been confronted with the dangers of his sport. In 2009, JT was present when his best friend and mentor Shane McConkey died jumping off the Italian mountain Sass Pordoi, a 9,685 feet drop.
“I’ve had many close calls that make me contemplate the path,” Holmes says, “but instead of saying ‘I’m never going to try that again’… I try to get as much information as possible and proceed as a more knowledgeable and experienced mountain man.”