BOZEMAN – Very few people can say they are the best in the country at what they do. But one skier tucked away in the Bridger Mountains has that right.

Sidney Simard is currently the No. 1 free-ride skier in the country, and that title comes with years of experience on the mountain.

“I’ve been skiing pretty much since I was 1 years old: My parents put me on skis before I could walk. I’ve been skiing almost all my life,” Simard said.

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Free-ride is a competition where riders ski down the face of a mountain and get judged on their performance. It is not a timed event. Riders are judged on things like fluidity, style and energy. Simard just came back from Argentina, where he won a Free-Ride World Tour qualifying event.

Free-ride skiing has allowed him to travel all over the world to places like Europe, Chile and Andora, and he has taken each experience with him.

“I’ve met some really cool people,” Simard said. “It’s awesome to meet people from all over the world and their perspectives on skiing and how they ski.”

But he can’t go alone. Since he’s only 19 years old, his parents go with him. But during competitions his mom can’t watch.

“I get nervous. I can’t video. I’ll have the video camera and suddenly I’ll be in the sky. … I just can’t do it. I get nervous and don’t want him to get hurt,” said Simard’s mother, Michelle.

And for his dad, he can watch. In fact, he coaches his son.

“We have a really good relationship. He’s showed me everything I know how to do. He’s a really good teacher and he’s been there for me my whole life,” said Sidney Simard.

In order to keep his ranking during the summer, one might think Simard would be training non-stop. His regimen, then, may surprise you.

“I climb a lot and do a lot of hiking, hike a lot of peaks. I’m active with work doing landscaping so that helps,” Simard said.

In the winter Simard skis at Bridger Bowl Ski Area all in hopes to achieve his main goal.

“The peak would be the Free-Ride World Tour probably. But I’m just excited to be able to compete,” he said.

And he can get closer to that goal as his next competition is in January.

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