Odds are your resume doesn’t include skills like JT Holmes has: award-winning Hollywood stunt coordinator, backcountry freestyle skier, ski BASE jumping pioneer, wingsuit pilot, off-road racer, speedrider, and classic VW Beetle lover. For 37-year-old Holmes, adrenaline surges are just another day at the office.
Growing up in the Bay Area, Holmes’ adventurous career took flight in Squaw Valley, a ski resort located just west of Lake Tahoe. By age 15, Holmes says he knew he wanted to go pro. By 17 he was a sponsored athlete appearing in high-end ski films. His chosen sports tend to involve speed, risk, and altitude for an exhilarating combo, especially for those who prefer to hang out closer to earth and watch on screen.
Speedriding — a sport that combines skiing and parachuting — is Holmes’ current favorite. “Speedriding lets you transition from skiing to flying at will,” he says. “You’re able to ski in places where other people can’t because of hazards like cliffs or forests.”
All in the Volkswagen family
There’s more to Holmes than airborne adrenaline though. A love of the VW Beetle runs in his family, dating back to the tradition of his grandpa buying a new one for each of his kids when they graduated college. Through the years, Holmes showed an interest in one of the family rides — a 1970 dark cherry red Beetle nicknamed “Rosebud” that was passed from his aunt, down to his cousin, and then to his mother. The classic car eventually became his when he graduated college and restored it, and they’ve been companions ever since.
“Some people have classic cars they just look at,” Holmes says of Rosebud. “That’s not mine; she’s not a piece of jewelry. She’s my everyday car.” Holmes takes Rosebud from town to beach to campground to ski resort. He says he enjoys meeting other VW enthusiasts, whether on the road while doing the “wave” to fellow Beetle owners, or hearing stories from other Beetle fans. “They’re just fun, good-vibe cars,” he says.
See Holmes defying gravity in this year’s Warren Miller film, Line of Descent presented by Volkswagen. Founded in 1949, the Warren Miller Film Tour signifies the opening of ski season and has an enthusiastic powder-hungry following. “I was that stoked kid that looked up to people on that big screen, and now I’m on that big screen,” says Holmes. “It’s an honor to see people’s reactions. You just feel lucky to be chosen to represent the mountain.”
Remembering an icon
Warren Miller, a passionate skier and iconic filmmaker, passed away on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at age 93. During Miller’s career, he made more than 500 movies and will be remembered as a pioneer filmmaker who introduced skiing and snowboarding to a wide audience – even to those who had never set foot on a slope.
“He gave me my very first “break” in the ski industry. In 1995, as a 15-year-old who lived and breathed skiing…, to be chosen to ski in a Warren Miller film was a dream come true,” says Holmes. “Every element of my life and career traces back to my decisiveness as a young teen to become a pro skier. That decisiveness is credited to Warren Miller.”