Greg Thomsen

Greg Thomsen is one of the most successful and well-respected leaders in the outdoor industry. A close friend to legendary climber and writer John Long, Greg has had almost every job imaginable in the outdoor industry. In 1972, he co-founded Wilderness Experience, the first outdoor company to go public and be traded not he NASDAQ stock exchange. In 1987, Nike hired him as Global Director of Marketing for Apparel, where he created the ACG (All Conditions Gear). In 1990, Greg co-founded the American Sports Group (ASG), where for almost 20 years his company created thousands of products for hundreds of companies. In 2007, after owning several outdoor brands such as Mountainsmith, Youngstown, and Detours, he sold everything and lived a nomadic life, traveling around the world for one year with his family - "It was the best year of my life" he says. For the last decade, Thomsen has served as the Chief Outdoor Officer of adidas Outdoor, growing the brand exponentially in the U.S. In 2019, Greg received the Inspiration Awards Lifetime Achievement.

3 words to describe Nature?

Life. Love. Breathtaking.

3 things Nature taught you?

Overall nature has taught me to be mindful and to live in the moment. 

Living in natural environments has taught me both the fragility and the strength of life and to not to take either for granted. 

Nature has shown me that “everything” is connected.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The Sierra



When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Small and insignificant but free and limitless.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

At home and at peace. Comfortable and calm.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Amazed at the power of nature. Flying over a volcano they appear to be alive and on a mission of creation.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

I love both sunrise and sunsets, they make me feel there is magic in the universe. The ultimate cycle of life.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

I’m am ...thrilled by the natural power I feel when I hear thunder and see lightning. Thunder comforts me and reminds me that the real world is alive.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

A bit disoriented. I am not in love with howling wind as it makes me anxious of what is coming.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I am absolutely a Mountain person! I feel most comfortable and alive in big mountain environments. Forest and Deserts calm me and Oceans generally frighten me to my inner core with their enormous power and unpredictability.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

Nature is absolutely a 10 for my well-being. Without Nature what else is there?

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My father loved the outdoors, hiking, fishing and camping. Our family spent every summer camping in the Mammoth Lakes area in the Sierra. It was what we did as a family since I was 2 years old, so it holds a very special place in my childhood memories. When I was 12 and my brother was 16 we decided we would try to climb to the top of Crystal Crag, a prominent granite spire overlooking the Mammoth Lakes area. We summited after some difficult steep and exposed 5th class solo climbing and descended the face as our parents were having lunch below the crag at a dock side restaurant on lake Mary. At a table next to my parents a man and his wife, watched our precarious descent, and leaned over to asked my father “what kind of parents would let their children do such a dangerous climb”

It was at that moment my parents realized it was my brother and me descending the face. Of course they didn’t tell the outraged couple.

When we arrived back at our family tent we were first scolded for taking such a risk but it then turned to laughter as they told us the story about the horrified onlookers from the next table and not telling them that those unsupervised risk takers were their children! It became a family story that was retold for years to come, over much laughter and love. Both my brother and I went on to more and more serious climbing adventures and exploration experiences around the World that has both defined and enriched our life’s path.