Athlete Stories: Mehul Patel

On finding community, discovering a love for training, and reigniting his passion for the mountains.

Growing up in California, I was lucky to have a father who shared his passion for outdoor activities with me at a young age. Some of my fondest memories include hiking up Half Dome when I was 10 years old, backpacking in Sequoia National Park, and ski trips to Mammoth when Canyon Lodge was called Warming Hut 2. I can vividly remember the car rides home being some of my saddest days, just hoping that we’d turn around and stay for another week.

I knew early on that I loved the mountains, but it took me almost 15 years after college to reignite that passion.

And that started with a Jackson Hole ski trip. Shortly thereafter, it was a trip to Revelstoke, and then a day heli-ski trip in the Selkirks, which led to my obsession of backcountry skiing. Not having skied for 15 years until the Jackson Hole trip, it was quickly apparent that I needed specific training to be my best and confident in the mountains.

I tried the typical gym routines, HIIT classes, and other workout fads, but nothing seemed to really improve my endurance and skiing performance with the amount of training I was putting forth. It’s also tough to find the time to identify what works and what doesn’t.

Finding a team of coaches who I trust allows me to focus on the goal at hand. All of Samsara’s coaching techniques are supported with solid research and further validated by immediate improvements in my training.

In two years, following the Samsara Method has allowed me to push my boundaries and become a confident downhill skier and backcountry climber.

Backcountry skier
The author Mehul Patel skiing in the backcountry. "I ski with far more confidence than ever," he writes.

My training milestones in this time include road biking from New York City to the Catskills (126 miles). New habits find me now running 5 to 8 miles per day or road biking 25 to 40 miles with relative ease. A recent seven-day touring trip in the Selkirks really made it evident how well the Samsara Method works (a few compliments from fellow skiers who saw me in my early backcountry days definitely validated my training efforts). The uphill skin climbs are becoming more and more effortless, and I ski with far more confidence than ever.

Living in NYC, it’s rare to meet like-minded individuals who share the same passion for backcountry skiing and other endurance sports. Z and the Samsara community have allowed me to meet athletes across the country and hear about their stories, outdoor adventure goals, injury recoveries, training failures and successes, accidents, and losses. I quickly discovered the lessons I learned from training are applicable to all aspects of my life, and it’s been a pleasure to share my own milestones and stories with my fellow Samsara athletes.

Samsara has taught me to train with or without a big motivational ski trip on the calendar—and now I love to train.

I’ll be 40 this year, and with the help of the Samsara team, I’m probably in the best shape of my life. I hope to keep this going for years to come, and hope to share my love for endurance sports with my kids well into the late years of my life.

Mehul Patel is a backcountry skier and an endurance athlete who lives in New York City. He has been training on the Samsara Athlete Team for two years.