Mountaineer and snowboarder addresses USU students

Stephen Koch talks about being on the cover of the local newspaper for making the first snowboard descent of the Grand Teton,

Stephen Koch, renowned adventurer, extreme snowboarder and mountain climber spoke to students at Utah State University Wednesday afternoon about achieving their goals and dreams.

The San Diego native told students to find something they are passionate about and plan, organize and execute their plan to achieve their goals.

He showed images of some of his snowboarding and climbing experiences as examples of how he has achieved his goals.

Koch moved to Jackson Hole, WY when he was 19 and was a skateboarder. While there he did what it took to survive while pursuing his quest to ski the Teton range.

“I was a waiter, baker, cook, dishwasher, busboy, construction laborer and carpenter,” he said. “I also acted as a porter carrying loads for people going up in the mountains.”

He lived in Jackson Hole for 30 years until 2017.

“I was a skateboarder and learned to snowboard. I was on the cover of the local newspaper for making the first snowboard descent of the Grand Tetons,” Koch said.

After gaining some experience as a mountain climber he decided it was time to to find another mountain to ascend.

“I also took some time to visit France for a year. I wanted the experience to travel to get out of my comfort zone.”

He said he had no agenda except to visit Chamonix in the French Alps, the birth place of mountaineering.

Up until going to France he had primarily climbed the Tetons with his mentor Tom Turiano, who has over 400 ascents in the Greater Yellowstone area.  He also climbed with a friend Kevin Tussey.

Koch summed up his outdoor adventures as a great learning tool that has shaped his life.

“My education came from my experiences in the outdoors; that was my classroom and office for all those years,” Koch said. “My life has been an excellent adventure which keeps getting better the more present I become.”

A reception was held after his lecture at Morty’s Cafe in Aggie Blue Square.

Koch currently lives in Las Vegas and works as an aerial entertainment rigger.

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