A Dose of Inspiration with Mike Semanoff
Our newest ambassador, Mike Semanoff is a professional skydiver/paraglider, publicist, editor, veteran, husband and father of three who still finds time to give back to other veterans.
What makes you a KÜHL kid? How do you live the mountain culture?
I grew up in a small town in northeast Pennsylvania, and the Appalachian trail was only a few miles from our house. In the summer we were out of the house from sun up till sun down every day, creating memories and a lifelong lifestyle. Not much has changed, but now I live in Utah with much bigger mountains and get to share my adventures with my family. One great thing about Utah is the wide variety of activities just outside our door. Kayaking, paragliding, rock climbing, biking and skydiving are all within a few minutes of my house, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How do you share the mountain culture with other veterans?
I run a skydiving team called Inspiration RX and we travel around the country skydiving into events or doing aerial displays. I’ve jumped into Dodger Stadium, Daytona Speedway, air shows, and other celebrity events One of our programs is called Wings Of Inspiration, and we take combat veterans skydiving, paragliding, or on other adventures to help them mentally and emotionally. In addition to our own efforts we partner with similar charities like Mission Volant, Project Airtime, Jump For Joy, and Operation Once In A Lifetime.
What’s your most memorable adventure?
My dad and I went to Thailand and Cambodia to skydive with their special forces. What really stood out – besides doing HALO jumps out of a Russian helicopter – were the people. It was so humbling to see how grateful and present everyone was. It was eye opening and enlightening to see people without much of anything being so happy and connected with their families. As I watch my kids grow up, I want to be present and happy like the Cambodian people we met.
If you could adventure anywhere in the world for a week or two, where would you go?
Switzerland: Epic mountains, paragliding, speed flying and plenty of adventures to be had.
Who inspires you?
I pull aspects I like from a lot of people, but for the most part I march to the beat of my own drum.
What’s the worst injury you sustained from adventuring and how did you recover?
I have been very lucky in my adventuring life. My worst injury was a sprained ankle from a bad skydiving landing. To speed up my recovery I would walk around an icy creek behind my apartment. I don’t know if it really sped up my recovery, but it was more interesting then sitting around with an ice pack.
What the fastest speed you’ve ever gone under your own power, assisted by gravity?
I would guess somewhere between 160-170 mph on a high speed skydive. It feels like your face is going to peel off.
Favorite piece of gear?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I have a pretty big gear shed to pick from. If I had choose just one thing it would be my paraglider set up.
What’s your favorite food and drink after an adventure?
I’m hands down the biggest burger connoisseur you will ever meet.
Do you have any pets? Do you take them on your adventures?
I have 5 chickens and a cat that has adopted our family. No adventures for them
Genie grants you three wishes, and you only have five minutes to decide all three. What are they?
- Every person in the world has unconditional love and respect for every other person.
- Every person in the world is motivated by quality of life and the health of our planet rather than money and power.
- When the first wishes are granted then I want to be like Superman. Bullet proof, super strong, can fly like a rocket, and burn things with my eyes.
What’s your favorite thing about KÜHL?
My favorite thing about KÜHL is constant functional innovation. They are consistently producing products that look good while maintaining real world functionality.
What’s your favorite piece of KÜHL clothing? How do you use it?
My favorite piece of men’s clothing is the Spyfire Jacket. It looks good and keeps me warm when hitting high altitudes or on early morning paragliding sessions.