Launching into Ski Season with Recover Ambassador Andrew Dunning
Andrew Dunning: Kayaker, Skier, Speed Flyer, Paraglider, Mountain Biker, Climber, Production Company Co-founder, Videographer, Private Chef… the list goes on. Andrew Dunning redefines the term “Renaissance Man,” excelling in everything he can’t help but take on while smiling the entire time. He calls the vast mountains of Sun Valley, Idaho both home and basecamp, and amongst his backyard and worldwide adventures runs the media production company Dunnings & Co. with his brother, Michael. With so many activities and endeavors, we kept the questions simple and got right down to the goods...
What do you love to do?
I'm a pretty obsessed outdoor athlete and I spend a lot of the year kayaking, skiing, speed flying and paragliding, and in the process of pursuing those sports, driving and traveling around a lot and going on adventures. I also really enjoy documenting those trips through making videos. It’s fun to put it all together, and share the experience.
Kayaking is probably what got me into all these other sports. It’s the first sport I learned and fell in love with. My mom taught me to kayak when I was 11 years old, and ever since then I knew that I would be spending a lot of time in a boat. Basically my whole family does it, and so does my girlfriend. One thing I really like about kayaking is that it's a travel-oriented sport. Even when you’re kayaking in the U.S., you end up traveling all over the States and internationally, kayaking can take you anywhere in the world that has rivers. It’s taken me to Canada, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, and Ecuador. You can go anywhere... Kayaking is the best, it's just the best…. And I also love teaching kayaking.
Well, I love teaching in general, but I love teaching kayaking because I love the sport so much. I started teaching pretty young. I hung out with my Uncle Chris, who used to race slalom and owns Expediciones Chile on the Futaleufú River in Patagonia. I also worked teaching kayak lessons at Cascade on the Payettes when I was 14. I love teaching kayaking because it's fun to introduce somebody to a sport, especially if they stick with it. In the beginning, someone might be terrified to even flip over and wear a spray skirt, and then they overcome that, and keep overcoming what they are afraid of. To be part of that process and have it translate off the river is really rewarding.
Skiing is a little bit more work than kayaking. You have to put the time in, and you never know when it's going to be good. In a sense, you have to be dedicated to it for the winter if want to get good snow days- but, when you get it and get to go powder skiing in the mountains, it is definitely one of the best things you can do. I like skiing for all the same reasons as kayaking: you get to go out in the wilderness, adventure and work really hard to get somewhere really remote. I started skiing when I was three or four, but didn’t really ski when I moved to Sun Valley when I was 15. When I was 16, I had my first full 100 day season and I got pretty obsessed. Skiing dictated where I went to college. Sierra Nevada College is the closest university to 10 ski resorts. Really, skiing is just so fun; that's why we do it.
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had recurring dreams that I could fly. I can still remember when I was 8, 10, 12, 14 and to this day, I still have the same dream. I was a swimmer when I was a kid and so when talking about flying, I would say, “I can swim through the air.” When I first saw a guy flying in the skies with a little parachute and found out I could actually fly, I knew I was going to do it and I learned 4 years later. From the moment my feet left the ground on my very first flight, I knew I was going to be a pilot. And the thing I love most about speed flying and paragliding is that it’s the smallest aircraft that you can possibly have and it fits in a backpack. You can hike up mountains, which I already loved doing, and fly back down, which everyone has dreamed of doing when standing on a summit.
Dunnings & Co.?
Dunnings & Co. is a media production company my brother and I co-founded that creates original outdoor videos with all of our adventurous friends from around the world. We do everything from preproduction planning, to location filming, to post production, and love incorporating specialty skills such as rope access, winter and mountain travel, drone photography, and shooting in inclement, hard to access, remote locations.
The other thing I really love, and the thing that draws me the most to kayaking, skiing, flying, climbing and mountain biking too, is that there is something about water, air, and snow and really experiencing a totally different environment that you wouldn’t be able to experience without doing that sport.
Why are you a Recover ambassador?
Recover’s sustainable model really aligns with everything that I see as important as someone who respects and enjoys our natural world. They use recycled plastic bottles and upcycled cotton to create apparel, and are really leading the way in making gear out of recycled material.
What’s your favorite piece of Recover gear?
The Recover Sport tee. I've been using the Recover Sport tee every time I go hiking or flying and it’s my go to with its lightweight, breathable material and athletic fit. I like telling people it’s made out of recycled materials- I say, “This shirt is pretty much a plastic water bottle.” Because it is. That’s pretty badass.
I'm a chef. When I was still a kid, someone asked me, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” and I thought, ‘I’m going to be a chef.’ Somehow, it’s 15 years later and I became a chef by accident amongst everything else. I've worked in a ton of restaurants, and now I work as a private chef for clients.
Whether on the snow, in the water, in the air, behind the camera, or in the kitchen, we’ll go ahead and say we’ll all be seeing more of Andrew Dunning somewhere out there… and whether you do it all or take your pick, always live your own adventure.