Man of Many Masks: An Interview with Julian Carr

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Discrete owner Julian Carr currently holds two world records for cliff jumps done in 2006. Photo: Katie Panzer

Julian Carr is a man of many masks—pro skier, entrepreneur, college graduate, published writer and world record holder. He is also a man of dedication and commitment, traits that helped him achieve his success both as a professional skier and as owner of Discrete Headwear. Through all this, he’s still humble and unassuming, grounded in his love and passion for skiing.

Growing up in Salt Lake City allowed Carr to nurture his love of skiing. Although most local pros start skiing before kindergarten, Carr was a die-hard skateboarder until his tween years. “I didn’t start skiing until eighth grade. I grew up skateboarding and playing team sports. I just felt so at home on skis, just like a skateboard,” he says. He credits growing up near the Cottonwood Canyons for his passion, “Being in Utah, the snow that we get enabled me to find cliffs and jumps right away. That’s why I fell in love with it … If I [had learned] somewhere where there was only racing or moguls, I never would have been into it,” he says.

After high school, Carr attended the University of Utah so he could keep his health insurance and continue skiing. Balancing school and a passion like skiing can be challenging—powder days frequently win out over going to class. Even though skiing was his main concern in life, school never took a backseat. “I graduated with 160 hours, so I have an unofficial master’s degree. During winter semester, I would just take online and night classes so I could ski every day,” he says. Instead of the traditional four-year college experience, Carr spent six years in school, which kept him insured and allowed him to earn enough credits for his honorary master’s. In 2004, he graduated with a B.S. in economics and his skiing career was able to take center stage. Carr started Discrete before he had gone pro or even graduated college. “At the time, I was waiting tables and in school, and the only thing I could afford was a couple grand worth of beanies to stick my label on,” he says. After that, he began making beanies to give out to all of his friends in the industry. By 2008, there was enough of a demand for the beanies for Carr to launch his company.
   
Discrete is a unique company in that it is universally attractive to both skiers and snowboarders. In an industry where there is so much rivalry between the two groups, a company that caters to both is hard to come by. But including both skiers and snowboarders was a no-brainer for Carr. “My philosophy is, if you’re in the mountains having fun, then I’m okay with you. I don’t care what’s on your feet, that’s who I want to support,” he says. Discrete boasts both a ski team and a snow team, each full of world-class athletes. “When you’re at that level of athleticism and danger, you’re just a fan of anybody out there that’s doing something athletically really well. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder,” he says. This respect for everyone out on the snow is what Discrete is not only built on, but thrives on. Besides having sick designs, Discrete’s fluidity between the different snow sports is really what has
made it so successful.
   
Carr’s skiing career and his company came about around the same time, just before he graduated college. “My last semester in college was when I came up with the name Discrete in a computer science class called Discrete Structures,” he says. Discrete developed alongside his skiing career, but it could have gone completely differently. “I was really into skiing, but I wasn’t pro yet and I was fascinated with creating a brand name. If a brand had taken off for me right then, before my skiing, it could have been a different story,” he says.