Martha Burley is an enigma. The Australian-born free ride competitor originally moved to Canada after college to ride snowboards in half-pipes. Since then she has completely changed gears and found harmony dropping knees and skiing uphill. We were able to get a few moments with the SCARPA athlete to figure out a little about what makes her tick.
How does an Australian wind up being a podium-finishing free-heeled, Freeride competitor living in Fernie, BC? I tried to learn to ski in Australia when I was in college. I had no clue what to do, so I just threw myself down the mountain and hoped for the best. There were a few bruises along the way but overall I managed to come out in one piece. From there, I got into snowboarding and went to Canada because I heard they had good half pipes, and that’s what I really wanted to ride.
Instead, I found deep powder, which was okay too, and somehow found the place with the best snow in Canada: Fernie! [That is where] I tried telemarking—I thought it might be faster to get around in the deep snow (and it looked like a lot of fun)—and the cycle started again: throw yourself down the mountain and see what happens, try not to fall too much, and try and work out how to turn both ways in control. When you are at the top of a mountain and the powder turns to ice or rock you need to know instinctively what to do. The best thing about telemarking is you can’t be lazy; it’s a continuous learning experience.