Harrison (Hap) Farber is a professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine and director of pulmonary hypertension at Boston Medical Center. He is a lifelong athlete who has competed in ultra-marathons and in 2004 was part of the Trek USA relay from San Francisco to Boston that raised $300,000 for Children Charities.
Farber learned to ski at the age of 40 at Stratton Mountain, and talked the instructor into taking him to the top on the first day. Since then, his passion for the sport has led him to heli-skiing in Chile, adventure in Chamonix, France, and weekend pilgrimages around New England.
His passion for winter and adventure is contagious. He met us for an interview just prior to heading to Colorado for some early season turns.
What are you riding on these days?
What is your favorite ski area in New England?
I love Sugarbush for their trees, Wildcat for their vertical, Jay Peak for its snow and Mad River for its culture.
How days a year do you ski?
50 plus days
Where do you ski outside the USA?
Chamonix and Chile
What is your funniest memory of skiing?
Learned to ski in my 40s. [I was] teaching a course for BU at Stratton Mountain of all places, so I decided to take a learn to ski lesson. It was me and all kids. By the second day, the kids were frozen and tired, so in the afternoon I talked the instructor to taking me to the top. I survived and have been hooked ever since.
What trip or trips changed your view on skiing?
Many years ago I discovered Jackson Hole and dropped into Corbits, it was a complete game-changer. I have been trying to ski steeps better ever since. Then I went heli-skiing in Chile in August, and it expanded my vision of what was possible in the mountains and now I’m addicted to big mountain skiing.
Whom do you ski with?
My buddy Mike Barry suffered with me when I was a terrible skier. He would bring me anywhere and he has been there since the beginning and we do 30-40 days a year. He’ll drop anything to go skiing so when it snows, we go.
Does skiing and your professional life ever intersect?
Yes, there is a fund raiser at Wildcat in New Hampshire where you can ski 100,000 vertical feet in a day to raise money for Make a Wish. As a doctor, I have seen that charity make a huge difference in children’s lives.
Do you have any fitness suggestions?
Yes, get out there and run, bike, do anything you can do to build up the legs and the quads that will support lateral movements.
Do you have any suggestion for technique break through?
Listen to your instructors. Over the years, they have told me to keep looking down the hill and never look at the front of your skis, and keep your hands in front of you all the time. And, get good boots that fit so the boots become part of your feet and an extension of your legs.