We at Choose Mountains believe that sharing your story is important. We love that social media allows us to connect with so many inspiring people all over the world through some easy clicks of a button. Since we started our company, Miss Heather Larsen has been a huge inspiration and it amazes us to see her perched on lines this high in the air in the most beautiful places! Here is our interview with this beautiful badass:
Hey Heather! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and where are you living now?
Hey there! I'm Heather Larsen - professional slackliner. I have lived many places throughout my life. I've lived everywhere from Minnesota to Tennessee to Nevada and even Texas!! I currently live in Golden, CO. I love it here - so much access to the mountains I love to play in!
What were some of your hobbies growing up?
I've always loved being outside. I remember growing up and just running around outside and climbing trees and running through corn fields. I didn't really have just one hobby when I was younger...I come from a very musical family, so I was either singing, listening to music or going to festivals and shows to hear my sister play violin. Music never fully caught on for me - you could usually find me being distracted by nature-scapes and things to climb.
When did you get introduced to slacklining?
I was introduced to slacklining over 5 years ago through some friends that I was on a climbing trip with. They showed me slacklining and highlining. I was so inspired by what they were doing, I knew I had to check it out for myself!
Was it difficult to start?
Slacklining wasn't too difficult to start. If you can start on a small line, close to the ground, it is easier to pick up some of the good techniques that help on longer, bigger lines.
Tell us about your first highline:
I didn't walk my first highline. Unlike many other highliners, I was basically exposed to highlining before I learned to even walk a line in the park. My climbing friends and I decided to take a day off of climbing and set up a highline. This is where I got hooked. The energy that day was so fun and positive and encouraging - I was outrageously inspired by what my friends could do on the line. My first interaction with a highline was actually just rolling out and playing on the line by dangling from my harness. I stood on the line with assistance from my friend, Quinn. That's when I decided I wanted to be able to walk some day!
Tell us the mental state you put yourself in before each walk on the line:
I try to stay calm and breathe and remind myself that I am safe. Sometimes it is difficult for me to really embrace walking the line when I am scared, but I try to find elements of walking that are really fun and exciting and focus on those things as much as possible.
Have you ever had any close calls?
Close calls - as far as injury or death? Not really. Highlining is essentially one of the safest activities you can do, as long as you know how to rig the line properly. Highline rigging requires knowledge of anchor building and redundancy. Basically if any one part of the system failed, there isn't chance of total failure in the system. Knowing that - and knowing how to rig and trusting the team I rig with....that keeps me safe.
Do you have any advice for someone reading this who may want to try slacklining?
My biggest advise is to just have fun with it. Enjoy that it is a process, that falling is a massive part of progress. The more fun you have with it, the easier it will come to you!
What is your favorite type of line and why?
I honestly enjoy all types of lines - they all are so different and have great things you can take away.
In your opinion, what help one become better at slacklining?
Slacklining is one of those things that if you want to be really rood at it, you just have to do it a lot. Practice the things that are difficult for you.
You've definitely made slacklining a huge part of your life, how do you think it has changed you as a person?
I don't necessarily think slacklining has changed me as a person, but it has connected me with people who have an effect on me. I've met my best friends and most influential people in my life through the sport. For me, it's the community that changes you - the people you let in your life - the people who cheer you on and encourage you when you're struggling - the lessons you learn from watching how someone else approaches the line - the way that seeing someone else accomplish something great inspires you to try harder.
Do you have other hobbies or sports that you're involved in besides slacklining?
My 3 favorite things to do are slacklining, climbing and yoga. There are periods in my life where one activity takes the lead over the other 2 or I put one of them on pause to focus on something else more in depth, but these 3 are my biggest passions.
Since you have started, what has been your greatest achievement in the sport?
My greatest achievement in the sport would have to be connecting with communities all over the world. I love helping to grow a sport and a community that has such positive impacts in my life.
Lastly, what makes you #choosemountains?
I #choosemountains because nature makes me free! It helps me connect with myself and others in a much more meaningful way by appreciating life and all it has to offer!