Photo: Lee Cohen

As part of Western’s ongoing Blister speaker series, Drew Petersen — skier, trail runner, mental health champion, and writer — will speak at a public event on Thursday, Feb. 9 in Kincaid Concert Hall, within Quigley Hall.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the event will get underway at 8:00 p.m. Students are advised to come early, as seating is limited.

On Thursday, Petersen will discuss his personal struggles with mental illness as a professional athlete, including being diagnosed with PTSD and bipolar disorder, as well as the profound importance of reducing stigma around mental illness and seeking help.

His short film about his mental health journey, “Ups and Downs”, produced by Salomon TV, is available to watch on YouTube.

Petersen’s debut short film, “Ski the Wild West”, where he undergoes an odyssey to ski the highest mountains in all 11 western states during a singular, action-packed 2017 road trip, can be seen on Outdoor Research’s YouTube page.

“Making this film, telling my story, and sharing myself with the world has been a journey in and of itself. But what I’ve learned more than anything is that there is infinite power in changing our entire culture surrounding mental health,” writes Petersen on his website.

Previously, Petersen has written for various outdoor outlets, including Powder Magazine, The Ski Journal, and Freestyle Magazine. He is a sponsored athlete with Salomon, a major French outdoor sports brand

“I believe in living a life with passion as my compass, and I use my career as a professional skier and year-round mountain athlete to share that passion with others. Along my journey, I’ve followed the tracks of a snow leopard to the top of a ski line in Kyrgyzstan, explored the corners of my own backyard in the American West, skied all over the world, and ran ultramarathon ridge traverses,” reads Petersen’s website bio.