Last-minute flights, dealing with injuries and meeting up at an international event is just part of the daily routine when you're a pro athlete in a relationship. For this edition of Better Half, we caught up with two pros bridging the Dew Tour gap – Winter Dew Tour freeskier Mirjam Jaeger, who hails from Switzerland, and Dew Tour vert skater Adam Taylor, a Florida-native living in San Diego.
How did you guys meet?
Adam: We met in Zurich, Switzerland at the Freestyle.ch comp. That's like the only comp that has skateboard vert and freeski, and I was competing.
Mirjam: It has no girls, but I was actually judging the freeski comp. It was in 2008.
How did you make the connection?
Adam: A year later we connected randomly on Facebook and started to get to know each other. Then I came out to Colorado to meet her in February. Just to go for it. I wanted to go snowboarding and I could ride with her. I'd never been to Colorado.
Was that your first date?
Adam: Pretty much. I flew all the way over there for a first date.
Mirjam: He took me out to dinner, gave me roses. Pretty much everything.
Adam: I got her there. I snagged her! (laughing)
Mirjam, what did you think about dating a skateboarder given that you're a freeskier?
Mirjam: In my past I always kind of looked for someone that did the same thing as me. And all the skiers, we're always kind of together. I didn't know anything about skateboarding - like nothing. I learned a lot in that first year and I know the tricks now and everything went fine.
And Adam, what about you dating a freeskier?
Adam: I knew absolutely nothing about freeskiing. I only knew about snowboarding because I go snowboard for fun a couple times every year. Then I just noticed she was a pro skier. It didn't make me like her any less because she's a skier. It's cool being able to have that common ground with action sports. You can understand competition, stress and injuries. Getting places. Traveling. It's unique and it worked just right.
Have you got to watch her compete?
Adam: This is the first time to watch her compete live (at Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge). I always watch on TV or a live webcast. I was watching the live scores of the Breck qualifiers in the terminal and watching it as my plane was going across the jet way when you're not even supposed to have your cell phone on. I was watching the scores on the live score feed and I was just so nervous. Seriously right before the plane took off it was done and I saw that she got fifth and I was like, "Yes!" Fist pump on the airplane.
Mirjam, what's it like watching him skate?
I get really nervous. I was all over the place with him this summer. I was at X Games, then Maloof, Zurich and then Dew Tour in Vegas. I'm probably more nervous when he goes than when I go myself. Just because I know exactly how it is. You're standing up there, getting pumped, and trying to do well. When I'm up there I'm usually listening to music and go ski. I'm less nervous. But when I have to watch, I always go, "Stick it! Stick it! Yes! Yes!"
“I'm probably more nervous when he goes than when I go myself. Just because I know exactly how it is. You're standing up there, getting pumped, and trying to do well.” -Mirjam
And Adam, what about watching her ski?
I haven't been to a competition yet just because her season was over last year when I was just meeting her. So this will be the first one and I know when she's up there about to go, I will be doing the same thing. I feel more stressed out watching her than I do when I'm about to go for my run in the Finals at the Dew Tour. I think that feeling of not having control and not being in the zone is hard. When you're about to compete, you're in the zone and you know what to do. When you're just watching, there's nothing you can do. It's out of your hands.
“When you're about to compete, you're in the zone and you know what to do. When you're just watching, there's nothing you can do.” – Adam
Have you tried skateboarding Mirjam?
Mirjam: I actually inline skate, and you know how skateboarders are about that...but I'm doing quite alright with that. This summer, I tried to skateboard, and I can go halfway up the ramp.
Adam: It surprised me. This summer she came out to California for the first time and we went to the YMCA to skateboard. She got on the skateboard and started pumping and got halfway up the vert ramp. It shocked me.
Mirjam: Then I was trying to get him on inline skates, but obviously that's not going to happen.
Adam: You know that's not going to happen...
What about getting Adam to try skiing?
Mirjam: I'm trying hard!
Adam: She tries, but I know I'm going to get hurt. I'm not going to risk getting hurt.
Mirjam: I've been trying to convince him since last season. He can use my ski boots, he can use my skis, because we're the same size. Just to get him to try to go down the hill, because I tried skateboarding. But I'm still waiting for him to commit. So I hope that's going to happen one day.
How do you work the relationship with all the traveling?
Adam: It gets really complicated sometimes.
Mirjam: We just moved in together in California near the beach. I don't really have to be in the mountains in the summer. You have to fly somewhere anyways to go skiing so I'll either fly to New Zealand or Europe or somewhere in the U.S. And I like the beach because I'm in the cold all the time, so I enjoy the nice weather. In the winter, I just rent something out in Colorado for five or six months and hopefully we'll get to spend more time together in the summer.
Since you're both pros, does sharing that background help your relationship at all?
Adam: It helps a lot and that's why it works so well. I understand right now that she's got a hurt back, and I've hurt my back before so I know how it feels. And she helped me so much when I hit my head competing in Vegas. If I didn't have her there, I seriously don't know what I would have done.
Mirjam: And somebody that wasn't a pro, probably wouldn't handle it the same. Usually people have office jobs or they have certain times they can have two or three weeks of vacation a year. I've had relationships before with people like that and that's what makes it hard. You have to plan your vacation six months in advance, where I have no clue. As a pro, everything is kind of last-minute, depending on the conditions, especially with skiing. So I can't plan anything. At the same time it's good. Like when he got hurt, I didn't have to go home and actually do my job. I could be there for him. That's how it works out really good.
What kind of things do you guys do for fun?
Mirjam: We're pretty open to anything, We go mini-golfing. Whatever is fun.
Adam: There's a lot of things in America that she hasn't done. And I went to Switzerland this year and I stayed there for an extra week and she showed me around the country and I did Euro things that I would never have the chance to do before.
Anything you guys disagree about?
Mirjam: We do fight about food. That's the one thing.
Adam: The number one thing is we can never decide where we want to go eat because she hates American food. And I don't love American food - but she hates it.
Mirjam: I always get mad when I'm trying to cook something European and he's like, "What's that?"
Adam: Also, I only speak one language and she hates that. Actually, for Christmas she bought me Rosetta Stone in German. And I just started and I'm actually starting to get some of it. So I'm trying. I'm trying to catch up to her four languages. She makes me look bad, but it's helpful when we go places (laughing).
Any benefits to both being pros?
Adam: She got me a sponsor! She hooked me up. She gave them my info and we actually both have the same underwear sponsor, Pull-In. It's a French company.
Mirjam: I'm still waiting for a hookup from Adam here....(laughing)
Check out footage of Mirjam in the Pipe Finals at Winter Dew Tour Breck, where she finished second.
Spend a Day With Adam in the video below.