In this continuation of our Meet Submittable series, we chat with Sasha Bell, who is literally a rock star.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an East Coast, New York native who defected to the West seven years ago. Now I understand why people don’t return! It’s great out here.
What do you do at Submittable?
I work in Customer Success. I help clients get up to speed with our platform and answer all manner of questions about the submission process.
What do you do in your free time?
As a musician, I spend a lot of time playing music and writing songs. I’ll be putting out a record with my band Essex Green next year. Hiking, reading spy novels, and battling the aphid army in my backyard are also favorite leisure pursuits. In the summer, we try to camp as much as possible. I also like to jog, sometimes competitively. I recently discovered the insanity of skyrunning and was inspired enough to run the infamous Rut over Labor Day weekend. I ran the 11k this year. If I truly lose my mind I’ll try the 25k next year.
Please explain what skyrunning is.
According to Wikipedia, “skyrunning is the extreme sport of mountain running above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) where the incline exceeds 30% and the climbing difficulty does not exceed II° grade.” It was invented by Italian mountaineers who organized races in the Alps in the early 1990s. The sport is regulated by the International Skyrunning Federation (sounds so futuristic!).
How do you practice for skyrunning?
I run the M. [Note to readers: This is a popular trail on Mount Sentinel in Missoula, Montana, in which one goes up eleven steep switchbacks that equal 620 feet worth of elevation in under half a mile.]
This all sounds too hard. We want physical evidence that you actually do skyrunning.
Okay. What’s your favorite food?
I’m drawn to nightshade plants – the edible kind. I eat mountains of eggplant, tomatoes and hot peppers. A perfect meal for me would be verdure in scapece, a simple meal that’s found in every highway cafeteria in Italy. Vegetables are grilled, marinated in vinegar, then drenched in olive oil. I also eat a large daily quota of cheese. Friends call me The Mouse. Truffle Tremor, Epoisses, Ski Queen Gjetost, string cheese. I eat it all too often. Baking is another food-related obsession for me. I went to pastry school a few years ago which was heavenly. When I bake at home I again lean toward Italy and prefer sweets that embrace citrus, ricotta, almonds, polenta, pine nuts, coffee, et al.
What places do you like to visit in Montana?
This summer, I spent a weekend in the Rocky Mountain Front outside of Choteau. This is the rugged, wild eastern slope of the Rockies. From Choteau you can drive deep into the mountains to behold jaw-dropping views. We somehow coaxed our 8-year old daughter to complete a six-mile hike to Our Lake where we saw mountain goats for the first time. The Front is my new favorite place in Montana. I look forward to skiing at Teton Pass up there this winter.
Any books you’re reading or have recently read that you’d like to recommend?
I recently read Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill which I really enjoyed. One can especially relate to it as a young mother, and I appreciated the unusual writing format. The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O’Brien was a recent, depressing read but totally worth it as she’s a lovely writer. Right now, I’m reading William Finnegan’s surfing memoir Barbarian Days. I constantly alternate between thinking “who cares?” and “how interesting!” as I read his prose. If you care deeply about surfing, or relate to angsty young men on a quest for self-realization, this book is for you.
I read POLITICO, Page Six and The New York Times daily just to keep up with the world (and The Donald). I used to live in Berkeley, so I subscribe to sfist.com. It’s fun to keep track of rents in the Bay Area and read about the tech backlash in San Francisco, the death of the creative class, etc. It makes me feel good about living in Montana.
Do you have any projects coming up that you’re excited to work on?
I’m going to Burlington, Vermont, next month to do a week of recording with my band. Hopefully, this will lead to a 2016 Merge Records release and maybe a show or two in an exotic foreign locale next summer!
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
My legs are very, very sore.