Human performance guru offers a vision for the future of Mammoth
Rich Boccia says the community of Mammoth Lakes still doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up, and Dr. Andy Walshe, Head of High Performance for Red Bull, offered one possible vision on Saturday, November 19.
“How often do you get a community that’s essentially a blank canvas?” Mammoth Lakes Recreation’s Gary Morgan asked The Sheet rhetorically before Walshe’s presentation at Rafters restaurant. Morgan, Chair of MLR’s Fundraising Committee, along with Executive Director Boccia, invited Walshe to share his vision of Mammoth Lakes as a center for Human Performance Optimization (HPO).
Walshe, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife Christine and their twin daughters, was a part of the team that orchestrated extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner’s dive to earth from the edge of space in 2012 (the Red Bull Stratos mission). Prior to his time with Red Bull, Walshe worked with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team (USSA) and designed the Center For Excellence in Park City, Utah. He’s got a PhD in Applied Biomechanics and, importantly, he’s familiar with Mammoth, having trained in town with the USSA. He’s enthusiastic about working in a place like the Eastern Sierra—his wife quipped at Saturday’s meet-and-greet that she was “looking to escape L.A.”
Walshe thinks Mammoth has something special, he said, and the community needs to decide what their future is going to look like. “Mammoth has a vision of how the next 10-20 years are going to unfold,” he told The Sheet on Monday, November 21. “What does a high performance element to that vision look like?”
Walshe says that elite human performance, or, as he calls it on his website, “hacking human potential,” is on the cusp of breaking out of its esoteric niche.
I think…you could say human performance is still a cottage industry, and it’s growing rapidly, but at the very top tier there’s very few [HPO centers].”