Inspirational Stories

7 Summits at the age of 17

Medina Ilyassova390 views
7 summits at the age of 17

You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them!

Climbing 7 Summits is considered to be one of the toughest physical and mental challenges adventurers can ever take. Less than 500 people around the globe climbed all of them, and a lot of people died trying to do it. In today’s interview, we are talking to an official Red Bull athlete and one of the top freestyle skiers in the World- John Collinson, also known for reaching all 7 summits at the age of 17.

ub-cool: Dear John, please tell us more about yourself? What is the story behind your skiing passion?

J.C.: I grew up at Snowbird Ski Resort, my dad was a ski patrolman, and my mom homeschooled my sister Angel and I. Living at the resort made it so that we were out on the hill every day in the winter, learning about the mountains and how to stay safe. Being among the mountains my whole life just inspired me to pursue a life where I can be outside all the time, and I feel really lucky to be where I am at today!

John and Angel Collinson in Alaska filming for TGR Tight Loose
John and Angel Collinson in Alaska filming for TGR Tight Loose

ub-cool: You are known to be the youngest person who has ever climbed all 7 summits (if I’m not wrong you did it before you were 17). Who inspired/encouraged/supported you that time? How did this idea come to you at such a young age? 

J.C.: I was the youngest person to complete the 7 Summits at the time, the record has since been broken, but I climbed them all in one year when I was 17, which is a pretty cool thing as well! Growing up, in the summers we would live out of a van camping, climbing and hiking. This inspired me to climb Everest at a young age, then when I was 16, I started to climb and run with Willie Benegas- a Snowbird ski patroller and professional mountaineer. He had been to Everest many times, so we came up with the plan to go attempt it. We climbed Aconcagua in south America first to see how I would do at altitude, and once that went well, we set off for Everest. Between Willie, my dad and I, we figured if Everest went well, why not try for the 7 Summits? You have to dream big! All the inspiration and support came from my family, and the Benegas brothers – Willie and Damian, who mentored me throughout the whole process.

ub-cool: Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?

J.C.: I have a couple sayings I like to live by, they are “Dream Big”, and “Have the best day every day”. That way there is always something to drive towards, and a reminder that life is really good, so appreciate it. I always love to improve on myself, and I’m lucky to be surrounded by great people that set good examples for me, and characters that I can strive to be like. Life is all about learning and improving, so I hope to always be improving myself for the rest of my life.

Official Red Bull Athlete
Official Red Bull Athlete

ub-cool: Do you know the word “fear”? If yes – how do you overcome it to achieve your goals? And what advice you can give our readers to help them to overcome their personal fears and challenges to achieve what they want?

J.C.: Yes, fear is very relevant on any scale – personal, professional, athletically; there is fear in all of those aspects of life. For me, I deal with fear athletically by breaking down why I am afraid, is it a safety concern? Will pushing past that fear push my boundaries and help me to achieve my goals? Every situation is different, so it’s hard to say, but in many situations, a quick evaluation of knowing yourself, and what you want will help to push past that fear.

ub-cool: You are the face of Red Bull, it’s a dream for any athlete to become a representative of such a great brand. Does it bring any obligations and responsibilities? 

Johnny Collinson in the Neocola for TGR's Tight Loose
Johnny Collinson in the Neocola for TGR’s Tight Loose

J.C.: Yes, representing any brand comes with obligations, but I am aligned with companies that help me achieve my dreams and goals, so my obligations and responsibilities to Red Bull lie within the realm of representing them in a positive way (just as they do to me) and using their products and support to create and showcase my lifestyle to others, in hopes of inspiring them to tackle some of their dreams!

ub-cool: What do you do when you are not skiing?

J.C.: When I am not skiing, I love to climb and run mostly. I love the feeling of being high in the mountains, looking at everything around me. I also just got a motorcycle, so that has been a big hobby now, haha! Mostly anything outside and adventurous is fun. as well as training; I do enjoy my time in the gym getting stronger to tackle my goals!

You can follow John’s on facebook, instagram and youtube


Medina Ilyassova
Medina is ub-cool co-founder, mother of 2 and a serial adventurer the rest of the time. She who believes that "Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real"!

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