‘Sam & Me’: Pro Skier Mike Douglas Learns Mentorship in the Age of Climate Anxiety

This short film discusses the problem of climate anxiety brought on by ecological degradation — and demonstrates how it can empower positive change.

You might know Mike Douglas as a professional freeskier, coach, and originator of the backflip 720. But in addition to pushing powder around the mountain, Douglas is a vocal ambassador for the climate change foundation Protect Our Winters.

You probably don’t know teen skier Sam Tierney — at least not yet. At 13 years old, Tierney was immensely concerned about climate change. So worried that he began experiencing chronic anxiety and depression.*

Feeling generally helpless, Tierney wrote to Douglas, asking for advice.

“As a professional skier and ambassador for Protect Our Winters Canada, it’s not that uncommon for me to get messages like that,” Douglas said. “But this was the first time I’d received one from a 13-year-old and also someone so gravely concerned about the future.”

Douglas quickly took Sam under his wing. One year later, the pair has skied, advocated, and channeled their climate anxiety to benefit the greater good.

Runtime: 30 minutes

Filmed and produced by Switchback Entertainment and Salomon.

* The official term coined in 2017 by the American Psychological Association is “climate anxiety,” and it’s quite common. The phenomenon can affect anyone, but studies show that climate anxiety impacts children and youth disproportionally. 

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Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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