Real Good People: Adam Crook
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From The Slopes To The Surf With Adam Crook

After trading in his skis for a surfboard, this former Winter Olympian found out firsthand that there’s no place like home.

Going through the Winter Olympic history of the British Virgin Islands is not an exhaustive exercise. In fact, if you’ve got access to the internet and about five minutes, you can basically get the whole story. What you’ll discover is that Adam Crook, Tortola native, proudly represented his country in halfpipe skiing during the 2014 Games in Sochi, becoming just the second person in the territory’s history to do so. We caught up with Adam nearly a decade after serving as the BVI’s flagbearer in Russia to chat about his retirement from competitive skiing and his return to life on his home island.

But first, the question that everyone asks: “How does someone from a tiny Caribbean island, population roughly 30,000, with literally no snow, end up skiing the halfpipe at the Winter Olympics?” The answer: Wisconsin winters.

“My family relocated from the BVI to the US for schooling reasons when I was around nine,” Adam told us. “We moved to Wisconsin, which is where my mom's from. My parents were like, ‘Well, we might as well take the kids skiing one time and see if they like it so they have something to do in the winter.’ And I basically got addicted straight away.”

Skiing gave Adam a new passion. But learning to cope with freezing temperatures (and a new life in the States) presented different challenges. Take your standard trip back and forth to the mountain, for example. “The thing that was the craziest for us was we were so used to short drives,” Adam recalled. “I remember being in a car for multiple hours one time, I think we were all going nuts.”

Long travel times became something of a necessity as Adam pursued his dream of competitive skiing.

“I had a bunch of friends that skied and a cousin that was really into it as well,” he said. “The hobby grew into even more of a passion. Then I moved to Colorado for high school to pursue the dream of becoming a professional skier.”

The move to the Rockies meant he could train year-round and compete in halfpipe events around the globe. But it all required parental sign-off, which Adam recognizes as being a crucial component to his success: “Basically I wouldn't have been able to do it without my parents; they massively backed my passion.”

Adam’s skiing career featured many highlights, but none greater than the opportunity to represent the British Virgin Islands in the 2014 Winter Olympics. But, life in the extreme sports world is fraught with injuries and stress. After competing in Sochi, Adam hung up his freestyle skis and returned to Tortola to lead a “normal” life.

“I remember it being such a refreshing change, going to a work lifestyle, rather than the traveling and competing and stress of injury,” he told us. “Being able to go through a season without having to worry about blowing a knee, or just always having that looming thought, was really nice.”

When Adam feels the competitive urge rising again, the waters around Tortola provide him with ample opportunity to challenge himself, from surfing to kiteboarding to sailing. Plus, being out on the water is where he’s happiest.

“I prefer being in the water. I still love the snow, but there's just something about the ocean. It’s just perfect. Between sailing, kiting, surfing or free-diving—everything has its own challenge. Just learning everything about the sea and the wind, everything has its own little life lesson. You can be having the worst day ever and you can go surfing and you're not going to leave the water without a smile on your face.”

Between his aquatic hobbies and his day job, Adam certainly has a lot brewing these days. Now, he’s ready to add another bullet point to his resume: coffee roaster. Having finally grown tired of not getting a decent cup of joe on the island, he’s in the early stages of setting up his own shop. “I think I might have found a space and then it's just getting all of the permits and everything done—the machines and the roaster, they're imported. Hopefully we start roasting some really good coffee this year; it's going to be called BVI Coffee Company.”

Great coffee in hand, there’s only one thing Adam needs for an #EDSFTG moment: some time on the water.

“My Every day should feel this good moment is every time I come out of the water after a surf,” he told us. “I just don't think there's any feeling in the world like it. Even if the waves are bad, I leave feeling 10 times better than I did before I went in.”

Just another one of the perks of coming home to paradise.

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