100 Year Athlete - James DumasJul 26, 2023
14 Restaurants, 14 Surgeries: Finding Balance with 100 Year Athlete James Dumas
At age 55, James Dumas ruptured his quadricep tendon, leading him to reconsider how he trains in the gym and balances work stress with physical stress. Today, at age 63, he gets in 100+ days of skiing per year and spends just two days per week in the gym.
By July, almost everyone in the Wasatch has switched over from skiing to biking, climbing, and running. Not James Dumas (doo-mahs). He keeps hunting for leftover snow and bikes mainly to keep fit for his white powder habit.*
The fact that Dumas can still spend 100 days per season on skis is, frankly, a damn miracle. A football player growing up, James beat the pulp out of his body with an all-out approach to everything in life. While that enabled him to launch 14 restaurants over his career (including the iconic High West Distillery & Saloon), it also resulted in 14 orthopedic surgeries.
Eight years ago, at age 55, Dumas’s quadricep tendon exploded on a light hike. He was under stress at work, had been doing high-intensity training in the gym, and pushed himself to the limit most days in the mountains. That, combined with a lifelong fight against Lyme Disease, was more than his soft tissue could take. It required four surgeries to fix.
That’s when Dumas started working with Off The Mountain. He had a ski touring trip to the Arctic planned after his fourth quad surgery, and there was no way in hell James would miss it. He had five months to pull everything together.
Instead of crushing Dumas in the gym, OTM helped him scale down his strength work to two days per week, saving his energy for skiing. He toured the Arctic as planned (with a polar bear rifle on his back…), putting in 5,000 to 6,000 feet of vertical daily.
Dumas’s secret for continuing to send it? “Keep it balanced, keep it fun.”
*Fun fact: Dumas took OTM’s Ben Van Treese on his first ever ski tour, which included traveling through an icy no-fall zone. They had one crampon each.