When he was in his 20s and figuring out what to do next in life, Bill Kerig took a gig delivering yachts down to Florida as a sailor.
“I looked around, and I thought it was just a whole bunch of spring breakers and people hanging out waiting to die. And neither one really interests me,” he says. "I don’t imagine myself ever moving out of the wanting-to-have-adventures phase of life. I’m more interested in the adventure. I don’t see a lot of adventure in Florida—unless you want to wrestle alligators.”
Granted, Kerig has taken risks that have come close. He was a pro mogul skier from 25 to 35, has been a backcountry skiing nut since a young age, and dove into the world of extreme skiing while making his film The Edge of Never. When he told me that his newest hobby was not stand-up paddleboarding, but paddleboarding down class 2 rapids, I somehow wasn’t surprised.
“You kind of develop your aversion to risk earlier in life,” he says. “And mine hasn’t changed all that much.”
Throughout, the Boston native and Salt Lake City father-of-two has been driven by two things: curiosity and the need to tell stories. The traits steered him from a predictable path into Wall Street trading in the 1980s to the slopes of Utah. What followed was a ski career that ended up both in writing and broadcasting (he credits his philosophy professor father with teaching him the value of the written word) and coaching and managing (he negotiated the sponsor contracts and led a team of mogul skiers to competitions around the country). Two years ago, difficulty in getting a documentary made on female ski jumper Lindsay Van led him to create a new crowdfunding platform called RallyMe, for athletes and sports.
“You know when you stop becoming, and you are. And you’re looking back most of the time? You’re old,” he says. “I feel like I’m still becoming. I feel like the jury is still out on me, and my life choices. I made a conscious choice when I was young to not go and do a career thing.”
When he goes to work in Salt Lake City he does so by bike, and works at a standing desk balancing on a balance board. He coaches his 10-year-old son’s hockey team and, when he makes the kids do sprint drills, he joins them. Sure, it’s part of staying in shape, maintaining longevity. But you also get the feeling Kerig’s tenacity won’t let him do anything else.
“I don’t know why anyone would take the deal to hand off your youth, and have not fun during those years so that you could retire early and play golf,” he says. “Why would anybody take that deal?”