Spencer Crispe wears a colorful and alarmingly tight one-piece suit. He sports a furry hat with earmuffs. He throws trash off the lift. He drops his skis in the parking lot. He talks incessantly on his cellphone while riding the chair. He cuts in line. Spencer Crispe is every skier who has ever made you cringe: he is “That Guy.”
“That Guy,” is the brainchild of Mondo Media works’ Luke Stafford. The character is part of the hilarious series of web videos Ski Vermont began producing last season to gently inform the uninitiated how not to act in the Green Mountains (watch them at vtskiandride.com/that-guy/).
“Imagine someone giving you permission to act ridiculous for a day? This was a way to show how awful it was to be ‘That Guy,’ as in ‘Don’t be a drunk and go skiing, don’t cut people off, etc.’ I was like ‘Hell yeah I’ll be That Guy! It was great, I got to cut loose and do everything you are not supposed to,” says Crispe.
Crispe played the part beautifully—and all the more so if you consider that in real life, he could not be farther from “That Guy.”
A seventh-generation Vermonter, Crispe, 38, is a lawyer in the family firm Crispe & Crispe and a well-respected figure in Brattleboro. “I come from a family of die-hard skiers,” he says. He means it: Spencer’s grandfather, Luke Crispe, was one of the founders of Stratton and his dad, Lawrin, skied the woods on Stratton Mountain long before trails were cut. Spencer has climbed all 115 of the mountains in Vermont that are over 3,000 ft. in elevation. And he’s skied off the back sides of many of them, including the west side of General Stark (at Mad River Glen). “It was great, I found a way down through the trees all the way down to the road in Huntington and then hitchhiked back,” he says.
Well versed in the ways of the woods, he is not a backcountry “That Guy”—he goes in prepared. “I have an arsenal of stuff: a Delorme satellite phone so I can avoid dead spots. I carry extra warm-and-dry everything and a waterproof bag with fire starters, two lighters and a bivouac bag. I really regard safety as paramount.”
Crispe has been skiing since before he learned to walk. “There’s a T-bar in Brattleboro with one slope and I learned to ski there when I was one or two years old. It’s my favorite part of Brattleboro that people can ski for $5 and they keep it going every year.” He puts in more than 50 days a year on skis —often with his family at Mount Snow. And he’s one of about five dozen people who have skied every section of the Catamount Trail, the backcountry route that runs 300 miles, the length of Vermont.
“I love skiing in the backwoods, the sense of adventure and exploration and, especially, skiing at night. You go out after a fresh snow and you see the silhouettes of the twigs and the shadows across the snow—this is the best life gets.”
While Crispe has traveled a fair amount, he’d never consider leaving Vermont. “I went to high school here, I went to the University of Vermont and when it came time to apply to law school, I only applied to one, Vermont Law School. I decided if I didn’t get in, I wouldn’t be a lawyer. I love this state that much.”