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CRMS Renaissance man: Sakson does it all

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jake Sakson, a junior at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, rides the M-Wave in Montrose recently. Sakson excels in many activities including kayaking, telemarking and unicycling. (Courtesy Reed Koeneke)
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CARBONDALE ” By the time Jake Sakson starts applying to colleges, he’ll have a mile-long list of extra-curriculars for admissions officials to consider.

The 17-year-old junior at Carbondale’s Colorado Rocky Mountain School wears many hats.

There’s Jake Sakson the telemark skier, Jake Sakson the kayaker, Jake Sakson the unicyclist and Jake Sakson the actor. The Carbondale resident also likes to juggle and play disc golf.

And he’s good at pretty much everything he attempts.

Sakson made the switch from alpine skiing to telemarking with relative ease, quickly racking up a big comp win in Crested Butte. There, at the late-March U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Telemark Championships, Sakson shredded his junior-division competitors en route to an easy win. His point total would have translated to a third-place finish in the adult competition.

Not bad for someone who only recently took to telemarking.

“I started telemarking this year. I’d only done it a couple times in years past,” Sakson said. “I picked it up pretty quickly. I did it one day and liked it right away. Because last year I was away at World Class Kayak Academy, I didn’t ski. So when I got back, I got my new equipment and figured it was time to change.”

Though somewhat new to telemarking, Sakson’s been a slope junkie for quite some time, first hopping on skis at Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs as a youngster.

With spring’s arrival, Sakson shifts his focus to kayaking, another of his many loves.

Don’t ask him to choose his favorite sport.

“It’s hard to say,” he said. “I don’t know. In comparison to other people my age, I’m better at telemarking. There are some crazy good kayakers.”

Some might say Sakson is a crazy good kayaker. Skill level aside, kayaking has definitely enriched the young man’s life. He spent his sophomore year of high school traveling the world through the World Class Kayak Academy.

“It was 14 kids and five teachers and the first quarter we traveled the East Coast to do the river there. Then we went to New Zealand to do the rivers there, and then Chile the next quarter and then the West Coast,” he explained.

And Sakson didn’t fall behind in the classroom as expense for splashing in the world’s greatest rivers. Studies were reserved for the morning hours while the afternoon hours were devoted to kayaking.

This year, through the CRMS kayaking program, Sakson is tackling competition on local rivers. Among his upcoming comps are the Crystal River Races, hosted by CRMS and slated for April 21, with some 70 boaters in three river disciplines taking to the waters at the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers in Carbondale.

As if his time spent skiing and kayaking weren’t enough to fill an average day, Sakson also finds time for mountain unicycling. He’s achieved proficiency in the sport, which is much tougher than it looks.

And, as a tot, Sakson racked up a number of acting credits. From the ages of about 5 to 10, he’d spend a good chunk of the year in Los Angeles landing television roles. He’s appeared on a number of shows in guest-star capacity, such as “Boy Meets World,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Star Trek Voyager” and “Chicago Hope.”

Though fun at the time, Sakson wants no part of rekindling his acting career.

“Somehow I ended up in California with an agent and acting,” he recalled. “I liked it when I did it, but I’d never go back. I just have other passions, and I don’t need to go live in a smoggy city.”

Sakson dropped acting, in part, to lengthen his ski season. Big surprise.

“We lived there between February and June or so, depending on how things went, but I missed a lot of ski season, which is part of the reason I stopped,” he said.

No matter where life takes him, don’t expect Sakson to drift far from the mountains.

“I like being in the mountains,” said the Roaring Fork Valley lifer. “I couldn’t live somewhere else. You’re able to get good skiing and kayaking all in the same area.”


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