The day his coming-out story was appearing in the national media, Hig Roberts forgot it was coming. He slept in late that day, waking up to an avalanche of messages from friends, teammates, competitors and perfect strangers.
“Oh yeah,” he remembers thinking as he rolled out of bed, “this happened.”
In the latest episode of the Outsports podcast Five Rings To Rule Them All, Roberts talks about that big day, as well as the days since. His eyes have been opened, he says, to an incredible amount of support. Now fully out in every corner of his life, he’s excited for the future.
“I’m breathing again,” he says. “Life feels gentler and easier than it has in a long time. I feel very lucky and blessed to have people supporting me and wanting to hear more of my story and discuss this with me.”
Some of those people have been in the sport he loves, skiing. The first male international alpine ski competitor to come out publicly, Roberts feels he has a responsibility to help LGBTQ people in skiing see the acceptance that’s lying there under the surface, and to help everyone else in skiing find ways to improve the environment in the sport for gay athletes. Thankfully, people in the sport are already talking with him about these very things.
“Those have been great conversations,” he says.
The dynamic in skiing is particularly personal for Roberts. He said he was growing to accept that he was gay as a young man, but as he became more successful on the ski slopes and saw no out gay men in the sport, he felt he had to hide who he was.
“I realized I was different and I thought it was OK,” he says. “But then as I started climbing the ranks I didn’t see anyone or hear of anyone who was thinking the same way I was. And that’s what lead me into this illusion that my brain was playing a trick on me because how could this be possible?”
We also talk about his near-miss at the Olympic Trials, his return to the slopes of his high school days in Colorado, as well as his new life adventure in Los Angeles.
You can listen to the conversation with alpine skier Hig Roberts on the Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast on Google Podcasts, Apple podcasts and many more platforms. Just search for Outsports wherever you get your podcast.
And be sure to follow Five Rings To Rule Them All on Twitter.
You can also watch the conversation here: