THE FREESKIER – PARKIN COSTAIN
March 4, 2020
At age nine, Parkin Costain stood in a lift line in Montana waiting to shred another lap with his dad Peter, a former pro mountain biker. That’s when somebody asked Parkin that question: “Hey Parkin, what do you want to do when you grow up?” The query startled Parkin. He’d been skiing since before he was two-years old. As a toddler in a backpack he was known to unleash a “wheee!” whenever his dad unweighted a powder turn. He’d never thought of anything else. But Parkin quickly composed himself and had his answer. “I’m just going to keep skiing,” he said.
And that’s what he did. By age 11, Parkin was traveling from his home in Whitefish, Montana, to compete in International Free Skiing Association big mountain contests at Big Sky. At 15, his prior season’s highlight reel won him the famous and famously competitive Teton Gravity Research Grom Contest. And by 17, another contest put enough cash in his pocket to buy a plane ticket to Alaska, some heli-skiing time, and a laptop computer to edit the footage from the trip. Now, at age 20, Parkin is a sought-after film skier who skis for Black Diamond Equipment, Marker (helmets and bindings), and SEABA (a heli-ski outfit in Alaska). He’s also the youngest ambassador Moonlight has ever hired to represent the brand. He’s decidedly up to the task; a trait his parents connect to the freedom he had to explore the mountains as a kid: “He’s been a thoughtful methodical kid his whole life,” Peter told TGR after that outfit made a film about the clan dubbed Free Range: The Costains. “He picks apart situations and is rarely at a loss as to what to do.”
Next up for Parkin? This winter, when he’s not traveling to contests and film shoots, you’ll find him out ripping around Big Sky and Moonlight with a crew of big mountain athletes. You might also see him with a work crew. In summer, Parkin swings a pulaski for his dad’s mountain bike trail construction company, Terraflow Trail Systems, that’s etched in many of the flow trails on Big Sky. “They’re older guys, but in the winter we shred together,” says Parkin. “I feel like I’m part of the Big Sky community when I’m around them. It’s also good training. If you can ski the Headwaters and Big Couloir, you can ski anything the world has to offer.” —M.P.