Jumping off 220ft cliffs skiing and mastering fear while doing it

Julian Carr


It will never not be scary and fear will always be a part of it

Julian Carr is an extreme ski athlete. At a young age he realized something magical: Fresh, soft powder snow acts like a foam pit or a lot of pillows allowing for big jumps and soft landings. And that's what he did. He jumped off huge cliffs.

He won countless awards, won a gold medal at the X-Games and eventually went on to hold a world record for jumping off a cliff that is 220ft (about 70m). But the path to get there was long, hard, painful and mostly, very very scary. But he learned that fear actually helped him and he needs to master his own fear in order to achieve his goals and survive the jumps.

Julian Carr
Julian Carr
Julian Carr
Julian Carr

The comfort zone stopped at 40ft

Of course Julian didn't just jump of the highest cliff he could find. The better part of his life however he has been pushing his limits to go higher and higher.

My comfort zone was 40ft. For a long time I didn't go bigger than that

At that time, Julian's idol was Jamie Pierre - the only person to constantly jump 100ft+. With Julian not feeling comfortable beyond 40ft he realized that even though he is not comfortable, apparently there is a way it can be done

Jamie cracked the code. And if he has done it, I can do it too

When I see the videos, I can't belive I actually did that

Julian Carr World Record Cliff Jump 220 feet invert

The difference between 40ft, 80ft (25m), and then eventually 200ft+ is for Julian mainly measured in seconds. And that is the time he is in the air longer. The longer he is in the air, the longer he needs to keep his composure. And at the end that is what matters the most.

I need to be compltetely relaxed when I hit the snow. And another 50ft just means another half a second I need to focus longer

For his big jumps, Julian is in the air for several seconds

Julian Carr midair jumping off a cliff
Julian Carr midair jumping off a cliff

Why he doesn't die

Fresh powder is so soft that Julian can actually land flat on his back and walk away uninjured.

For me jumping in water is more risky than jumping into powder

While for a jump into water, you hit the surface straight from the top and need to be as pointy as possible. When jumping off a cliff you have the soft snow, but also the forward velocity - like a landing plane - and the downward angle of the slope all in your favor. The one thing going against you is that you can never be 100% sure if there might not be a rock or something below the snow.

Even though it is calculated, all stars needs to align to have the right conditions to jump. The right snow, the right cliff and of course the right mindset on that day

While being a bit more reckless during his early days, this resulted in a heavy injury, when he wasn't actually ready to jump, but did it anyways.

I always was a 99% kind of guy. Since that accident I am a 100% kind of guy.

The main reason why Julian survives his incredible jumps, is that he only jumps if everything is 100% - especially his mind.

Julian and his wife Danielle
Julian and his wife Danielle

It will never not be scary

When Julian first stepped out of his comfort zone and started to tackle the 100ft (circa 30m) cliffs it often took him hours to hang out at the bottom of the cliff and the top and evaluate.
He then realized that he was scared. Very scared.

I was lying in the the snow, just looking at the sky and then I realised that I will always be scared. This will never not be scary.

If Julian wanted to do this, wanted to jump the biggest cliff, it was not about not being afraid, but about mastering his fear and having his fear work for him.

Now his fear is important for him to make the right decisions. When Julian sees a cliff, often he only has hours to decide if he can jump or not. Because the next day the conditions might have changed in such a way that it becomes impossible.

Before I jump it is almost like I ask nature for permission. Only if the air, the cliff, the snow allow it, I get into the right mindest and focus needed to stay up in the air for these curcial seconds.

Julian Carr
Julian Carr

The 220ft were almost accidental

Julian never planned on breaking a record or jumping to reach a certain height on the day he jumped off the 220ft (see video above).

I knew it was a tall cliff, but only when I was in the air I saw how far away the ground was, was when I realized that this cliff is much taller than expected.

And it was only after he landed that they measured the height and realized it was around 220ft. And the fact that Julian jumped off inverted (doing a flip) gained him a world record!

Julian Carr
Julian Carr

Pro skier and founder

When Julian is not jumping cliffs - mostly in summer - he loves hiking and running. And being the creative and ambitious human he is, it didn't take him long to establish a unique mountain running series: The Cirque Series. He organizes mountain runs that include beautiful terrain, a real physical challenge, and just the right amount of Aprés Ski - a good party!

Julian running during the Cirque Series
Julian running during the Cirque Series

Julian Carr has been a guest on our Podcast "Art of Adventuring"

We talked about how he got into extreme skiing, why he jumps off cliffs and how he realized he can master his own fear

About Julian

Julian Carr Skiing

Julian has been featured in several films, developing a reputation not only for big airs, but for all around skiing. He won a X-Games gold medal - the Olympics for extreme sports - and holds two world records. He lives in the USA, spends most of his time skiing and is also the founder of a mountain running series, the Cirque Series.

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