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True Story: Joey Schusler

With some people, it’s hard to separate their character from the environment that shaped them. Joey Schusler is certainly one of those people. A Colorado native who spent his youth roaming high in the Rocky Mountains on bikes and skis, Joey is a product of the wilderness that forged him, just as a metal casting assumes the form of its mold. 

Though his trajectory as a professional mountain biker started with World Cup downhill racing, Joey’s spirit has never strayed from the high country—and he’s melded his passion for bikes, storytelling and giant mountains into a fulfilling career as an adventure filmmaker and photographer. His evolution as an artist has been defined by the alpine landscapes that inspire him, with the ever-thinning air of elevation unleashing his creative energies. His filmmaking journeys have taken him through the towering heights of the Himalaya and the hand-numbing descents of the Andes, but nowhere is Joey more at home than in his sprawling backyard of the Rockies. 

On any given weekend, he can be found far in the Colorado backcountry, exploring remote pockets of emptiness on his mountain bike, with only the narrowest slivers of singletrack to guide him. For Joey, these slivers are avenues to freedom, and navigating their ruggedness is his redemption. From the root-filled terrain of the forested foothills to the rocky reaches of the alpine, these natural obstacles represent a never-ending succession of opportunities for Joey to interface with the elements that continue to hone him as a human. They are his molds. And this is Joey.

One time in Peru, Joey’s gear bag was stolen with all of his riding clothes inside. With no options, he rode in the same pair of borrowed boxer shorts — for 10 days.

But before you drop in, you’ll want to savor the view that you’ve earned. And to catch your breath.

Out here you’ll likely find yourself pushing through winter’s leftovers — even in July.

A weekend often consists of riding dawn to dusk, with an overnight stop in the backcountry. He’ll take the long way home, just for fun.

Video by Mind Spark Cinema. Photos by Anthony Smith.