Phil Kmetz is a popular mountain biker and YouTuber.
He has more than half-a-million subscribers on his YouTube channel, ‘Skills With Phil.’
Phil was a former BMXer and a professional downhill mountain bike racer.
Phil Kmetz was born on 4 August 1991.
He hails from Keene, New Hampshire, United States.
Phil grew up mostly in Southern New Hampshire and for a little time in California.
He has a sister.
At a young age, Phil used to move a lot and due to this, he couldn’t make strong friendships; he replaced this lack of friendship with love for bikes.
Love for bikes, BMX & racing-
His father used to take him on his road bike for his morning group rides; Phil used to sit in the kids seat on the back of his bike.
Thanks to this, he fell in love with bikes.
At 3, Phil started riding bikes and got bored by the conventional way of riding; so, started dirt jumping on BMX bikes.
His mother and sister used to accompany him to the local dirt jumps.
At 5, Phil started BMXing competitively; later, he competed in numerous ABA and NBL BMX races throughout the United States.
His father used to help him by spending long hours fixing his BMX bikes.
In 1996, Phil participated in the ABA Grand Nationals.
In 1998, he secured the first place in the US Open, Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 1999, Phil represented the United States in Vallet, France and finished eighth in the UCI World Championships.
In 2001, he took part in the French National Championships.
In 2003 and 2004, Phil went to Camp Woodward for a few summers; here, he did 11 feet in the height contest.
In 2005, he started racing downhill mountain bikes.
In 2006, Phil won his first downhill race at Plattekill Mountain.
In 2008, he earned Jr. Expert National Champion for dual slalom title and won the amateur Claymore Challenge.
While at school, Phil was introverted and didn’t have many friends; he preferred BMXing and mountain biking and used to go on rides in solitude.
While growing up, he learnt gymnastics, this taught him how to roll; he also practiced on trampoline; both these taught him to crash safely while biking.
An interesting fact- Seth Alvo, a popular mountain biker and YouTuber, also attended Camp Woodward for BMXing.
Struggling as a professional racer-
Even though Phil raced as a professional downhill mountain bike racer in the elite category, he wasn’t earning decently.
In 2010, he marked his first Pro win; in 2011, he competed in 28 events and won the first Battle of Hellion at Highland and earned the ESC overall Champion.
In 2011, Phil finished fifth in the National Championships; and earned the Vermont State champion title.
In 2012, he finished third at the Mountain Creek and Plattekill Pro GRT races.
A couple of times, Phil finished third in Pro GRT national races, and he finished fifth in the overall 2012 series.
He realised the professional downhill mountain bike racing to be non-lucrative; he found that even most of the top 30 World Cup and EWS racers struggled to survive on racing alone.
As Phil had difficulty with securing sponsors and was getting injured, he decided to graduate as a back-up plan.
As he was worried about making a career, in 2014, he started studying for a business and marketing degree at Lees-McRae College in North Carolina.
As he was a talented rider, he secured a scholarship for collegiate racing; and started racing at collegiate racing.
Phil secured three consecutive Collegiate National Downhill Mountain bike titles; this got him excited to race again.
In 2015, he raced and qualified 24th at the Qualifying Windham UCI World Cup; but crashed in his actual race run; the silver lining was he has the 8th fastest sector to time.
Due to this race result, Phil lost his drive for racing.
So, in 2015, he bid adieu to professional downhill mountain bike racing, as he realized that even on his best runs, he was around ten seconds slower than the top racers.
Also, at that time, he didn’t have the drive and perseverance to train to level up his game.
Phil never trained for downhill mountain bike racing and found racing to be nerve-wracking.
In 2016, he put a full stop to his collegiate racing career and stopped racing altogether.
Discovering YouTube; deciding to become a YouTuber-
During the time Phil was a professional racer, he spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos; he used to follow Casey Neistat.
In 2010, he decided to start a YouTube channel and post his riding videos to promote himself as he felt that even though he was winning the races, the media wasn’t covering him well.
But at that time, Phil didn’t know video production and how to use a camera; so, he watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube to learn them.
After watching a lot of tutorials, he was amazed by the community of people on YouTube; he also observed that there weren’t many people making tutorials on mountain biking.
At the time, even though a few mountain biking tutorials were present on YouTube, they weren’t produced specifically for YouTube but for embedding on other websites.
Thanks to this observation, Phil found a niche to be filled and decided to produce mountain biking tutorials videos; being knowledgeable and successful at racing helped him.
Despite being camera-shy, he started producing videos; initially, he published non-tutorial videos and started producing tutorials only from 2015.
On 8 March 2013, Phil started his YouTube channel, ‘Phil Kmetz,’ later renamed it to ‘Phil Kmetz MTB,’ and then to ‘Skills With Phil.’
Prior to this, he had another YouTube channel, but as he wanted to change its name, he deleted it and created ‘Phil Kmetz MTB’ channel.
On 28 June 2013, Phil published the first video of this channel, ‘The First Video I Ever made.’
In 2015, he stopped racing professionally; at the time, he was in his freshman year of college.
On 20 May 2015, Phil published his first mountain biking tutorial, ‘How to manual a mountain bike Tutorial | Skills with Phil.’
At that time, this video became popular and gained him 3,000 subscribers.
At that time, Phil was studying software and marketing at school and found it to be outdated and boring.
As he ended his professional racing career and wasn’t interested in his studies, he decided to become a full-time YouTuber.
At that time, Phil didn’t have many subscribers for his YouTube channel but was confident of becoming a successful YouTuber.
Thankfully, as his wife graduated before him and was employed, he had a place to live after his graduation.
A successful YouTuber-
After producing biking skills videos, Phil started producing POV videos as he exhausted the skills that he could teach.
As of August 2023, he has 561K subscribers on his ‘Skills With Phil’ YouTube channel; he is a full-time YouTuber.
On 27 June 2016, Phil published a video, ‘Will a Walmart Huffy survive a Downhill Mountain Bike Trail,’ since then, he started earning a substantial amount from YouTube.
He earns from a variety of sources like advertisements and ‘Super Thanks’ on his YouTube channel, sponsorships (as of 2023, he is sponsored by GT Bicycles, NOBL Wheels, Onyx Racing), merchandise, and affiliate marketing.
Phil also has a website.
Only after becoming a content creator, companies have been sponsoring him long term; previously, as a professional racer, he didn’t get sponsorships except a few free products.
Apart from biking, Phil also loves building and DIY, which he shares on his other YouTube channel, ‘Phil’s World;’ here, he documents himself building trails, maintaining equipment, etc.
As of August 2023, he has 113K followers on Instagram.
On 2 January 2020, Phil married Hailey Sarausky.
He met her in the collegiate cycling team; at the time, she was senior to him in school.
She too hails from New Hampshire and was into downhill racing.
Phil’s goal is to build a facility to teach people skills with a reassurance on safety; he also wants to build unconventional trails.
He lives in Vermont.
Some interesting facts about Phil-
- In addition to the business degree, he also holds a culinary degree and is a classically trained cook.
- Phil reveres Wes Anderson, and Quentin Tarantino; and appreciates good art and loves pizza.
- During winters, he loves snowboarding and snowskating.
- In 2014, Phil grew a mustache as a joke for his collegiate mountain bike team photo and never shaved it off since then.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Phil Kmetz?
Share with me in the comment section below.
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