My name is Jack Mitchell, I am originally from Santa Fe, NM. I grew up and lived in Santa Fe until my junior year of high school, when I was given the opportunity to attend a ski racing academy in Lake Placid, NY called Northwood.
I am an alpine ski racer and have been since I was ten years old. At Northwood I skied 6 days a week and went to school in the evenings, skiing well over 100 days over the season. After I graduated in 2019 I took a gap year in order to keep pursuing my ski racing dreams. I skied with the New York Ski Federation where I skied 6-7 days a week training in Lake Placid and raced all over the country and some parts of Canada. Due to the pandemic I took a second gap year to both keep racing and work for NYSEF. Even during covid I was able to get 38 race starts in and spend over 100 days on snow. I plan on attending university in the fall of 2021 to start working towards a degree in emergency medicine.
My love for emergency medicine started when I began volunteering with Atalaya Search and Rescue, a Mountain Rescue Association certified team based out of Santa Fe, NM. I joined the team when I was 14 years old which made me one of the youngest SAR members ever in the country. For my first couple of real life missions, my mom had to drive me to meet my teammates. Since then I have been on over 40 missions ranging from lost people to complicated technical rescues. I have recently started working in swift water rescue which has been an amazing way to combine my technical rescue and rafting skills. I serve on the board of Rocky Mountain Region SAR as both a member and an officer (Secretary). Search and Rescue is a very large part of who I am and I plan to do it for as long as a physically can.
When I am not on the river or helping others I am in the mountains. I am an avid mountaineer and rock climber with many. big mountains on my bucket list including, of course, Denali.
What if your favorite river and why?
I love the Taos Box of the Rio Grande. You are 800 feet deep down in the gorge with sheer vertical cliff walls rising up from the river, running tricky class 3-4 rapids. 20 miles from civilization and no connection with the outside world. The Box is like a breath of fresh air for me, it allows me to step back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, unplug and truly enjoy the beautiful place I live in.
What’s your favorite river-related story:
I got to work with the Taos County Sheriffs Office and guide them down the box with one of my closets friends and fellow river guide Logan. It was a tough day as the water was low and we where in a big heavy boat that put all of my skills to the test. But I got to be on the river with one of my best friends and became good friends with the sheriffs deputies we were with. This trip opened up many opportunities for me in the swift water rescue world that I am truly grateful for.
What are your other hobbies, interest, or passions and why are they important to you?
Search and Rescue is a part of who I am, it allows me to combine my love for the outdoors and passion for helping others into one, plus I like hanging off of cliffs and riding in helicopters. I have always been fascinated with mountaineering and looking from a far at a supper tough and technical mountain and pondering how I would find my way up it. As I have gotten older, I am lucky to say that I have turned those thoughts into realities and now have mountain goals that I never thought I could have achieved.