HEAL Utah Podcast

I recently sat down with Matt Pacenza, executive director of environmental non-profit, HEAL Utah , to catch up about what it’s like being a professional skier, activism in the outdoor industry and what athletes are doing to help clean up the air.
Check it out here and let me know what you think!

Episode #28: Caroline Gleich, Professional Ski Mountaineer and Adventurer

I'm so inspired and supportive of my friend @brooke.froelich and her @bornwildproject, and I love getting out with her and her baby @huckgaynes! We had so much fun on our ski tour yesterday. (Huck is getting used to his helmet.) Some might think skiing with a baby is risky, but I think the real risk is not taking kids into the outdoors. Walking, outside, with a kid on your back is one of the most natural and healthy human experiences. When I'm adventuring with Brooke and Huck, I see how closely they bond, and I can't help but feel like part of the family in our little tribe.

Ridge-walking with Mister @brodyleven. When I started getting really into adventure skiing a few years ago, Brody was my inspiration. I wanted to be the girl version of him. He's such a talented athlete and story-teller. I love surrounding myself with people like Brody. @goalzero #getoutstayout

Congratulations to @vvalchev for winning the @jaybirdsport x2 giveaway. I loved your photo and caption! Keep climbing, Victoria. Thanks to everyone who participated. I loved seeing and reading about your #bigmtndreams. #poweryourpassion

Tomorrow, I'll be announcing the winner for the @jaybirdsport X2 wireless earbud giveaway! You have one day left to post a picture and caption about your wildest #bigmtndreams! Tag #bigmtndreams #poweryourpassion, @carolinegleich and @jaybirdsport! I'll announce the winner tomorrow evening. Can't wait to see your pics! Photo: @johnevansphoto

Looking out at the sea of smog currently blanketing the Salt Lake Valley at the top of today's ski line. #cleanair4utah Photo: @johnevansphoto

I love exploring my backyard, the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. It makes me so happy to explore a new zone! I had this huge ear to ear grin the whole way up and down the Black Pearl this weekend! #bigmtndreams #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport Photo: @rob.lea

My favorite part of today's climb/ski up the Black Pearl: the awkward M0+ move to au cheval. Stoked to be able get into some spicy terrain with the all star crew of @rob.lea and @andrew_burr! @patagonia_snow #bigmtndreams

@rob.lea skiing the elusive Black Pearl couloir. I've been waiting almost half a decade for this line to come into condition. After all these recent storms, it goes. Stoked to tick this one off my list! Quick reminder: I'm doing a @jaybirdsport X2 headphone giveaway! Tell me about your wildest #bigmtndreams, tag me and @jaybirdsport, and hashtag #poweryourpassion! Winner announced next Wed, 2/10.

I always had a dream of climbing and skiing the biggest mountains. The day I fully realized my potential was when I stopped asking other people what they thought I was capable of and started believing in myself. Here's a little video teaser of a project I did last season with @jaybirdsport and @goldsteinproductions (link to full vid in profile). To celebrate the launch of this, I'm doing a giveaway! Follow @jaybird and me, and post about your wildest #bigmtndreams! Hashtag #bigmtndreams and #poweryourpassion to be entered! My favorite photo and caption will receive a pair of X2 wireless earbuds – winner announced next Wed (2/10). Can't wait for the giveaway? Shop now with discount code caroline25 at jaybirdsport.com.

Good morning from the Wasatch! Went out for a little dawn patrol ski tour. Somehow, we could see the moon and stars while it was snowing hard. Didn't get the sunrise light we wanted, but a fun adventure in -12 degree windchill temps nonetheless! Thanks for rallying @jaybeyerimaging! #feedyouradventure @clifbarcompany

Loving these extra wintry days! Photo: @graysonschaffer #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport

It's cool how many other pro athletes I've met who are also artists. I think anyone who does a sport at a high level is a kind of artist, doing a creative expression of human movement. In this picture, I'm doing my best to Jackson Pollock the camera. Photo: @rob.lea #livelifeproof @lifeproof #sponsor

Good morning from @altaskiarea!

I've received a lot of feedback about yesterday's press conference and EPA public hearing at the Salt Lake public library. Thanks for all the comments! I want to make sure everyone knows what exactly we were asking for, and that is for aging power plants in Central Utah to install pollution controls that would modernize their operations and clean up the air. 250 other power plants have already done this successfully in all of our neighboring states. Clean coal standards aren't that radical of an ask! A lot of people have called me a hypocrite or have said that I should base my arguments on science or use more data. I hear you, but I like to leave the science to the scientists. Ultimately, public policy is fueled by emotions. Change comes when concerned citizens come to the table and speak up about how they feel. It's about finding something we can bond over- and going forward once we find common ground. We must continue to believe we can change the world despite the opinions of naysayers who get off topic and fail to see the bigger picture. Thanks to @brodyleven for speaking up with me and to all of you for the lively discussions. I look forward to continuing these conversations. #cleanair4utah @protectourwinters @healutah @sierraclub

On the front lines today at the EPA public hearing about regional haze in Utah's national parks. It seems like all of Carbon County fit in two busloads to represent the interests of the coal power plants. We felt like the underdogs. The outdoor/tourism industries were seriously underrepresented. I've never been so nervous to speak in front of a group. When I started speaking, I could feel the hostility in the air. But I shared my story and the facts. Utah's outdoor recreation and tourism industries bring in $12.2 billion dollars per year. It's important to clean up the air around the parks and reduce the emissions from coal burning power plants. When I was done, hardly anyone clapped. We need to get more young people and outdoor people to come to these things. We need to make signs and speak up. It's our air and our future. It's scary and not always fun, but it's hugely important to protect the quality of life and the Utah we love. At the end, I gave the coal miners a smile and a wave. I came to realize our goals aren't that different. We are both trying to protect our livelihood- our jobs and the lifestyle we know. It's just the path to the future that we disagree on. #cleanair4utah @protectourwinters @healutah @sierraclub

If you love clean air at Utah's national parks as much as I do, come to the Salt Lake City Library tomorrow and make your voice heard! The EPA will be hearing the public's comments about plans to reduce harmful pollution from coal power plants near our national parks. Come at 12 for the press conference, or anytime between 1-5 and 6-8. For more info, go to sc.org/uthazehearing. Hope to see you there! Photo: on the summit of Owl Rock in Arches National Park

Calling all Utahns who care about air quality! Tomorrow, the EPA is coming to SLC to ask if Utahns think coal-power plants should install state-of-the-art technologies to sharply reduce emissions. If you care about human health, scenic vistas and national parks, come stand up for clean air! Come share your personal story about national parks and why clean air is important to you!!! I'd love to see a big turnout of passionate folks from the outdoor and snowsports industries. For more info, check out the link in the text of the picture. If you'd like any advice on preparing your comment, ask me in the comment section. I'll do my best to answer! Hope to see you tomorrow! @sierraclub @healutah @protectourwinters

Today's workout: 1 mi. swim,which is the longest swim I've ever done. Stoked to tick off one of my 2016 goals in January! Thanks for the inspiration and coaching @rob.lea. It was nice to get some exercise and give the joints a break from skiing.

How many of you got outside last night to see the first full moon of 2016? I'm always inspired by the many phases of the moon- thinking back to this brilliant moonrise in the Eastern Sierras I saw awhile back. #bigmtndreams

Those who suffer together stick together. …Through the struggle of exploring the mountains, we make ourselves vulnerable, not only to the elements but to one another. When you are exhausted, cold, dehydrated and in the dark without headlamp in a thick forest, your heart is open. The bonds that are made in those moments are almost unbreakable. …And that's the part I find addictive. For me, skiing and mountaineering are a way to meet my human need of belonging. Photo: @lhittmeier #bigmtndreams

Yesterday, there was an avalanche fatality in the Wasatch- one of the first of the year. This type of news always triggers a bit of PTSD for me. My mind races as I start wondering, which one of my friends died? How will I cope with the loss? The snowsports community is very tight knit and I've lost a lot of friends. I didn't know the man who perished yesterday but my heart goes out to his friends and family. I often wonder why I still chose to be a ski mountaineer when I'm so aware of the risks. I think about the close calls I've had, like in this picture- the closest I've felt to death. I was dropping into an icy steep run in Chamonix. On one of my first hop turns, I hit a patch of black ice and my edges began to lose traction. As I started to slip, I dug the steel blade of the Grivel Condor grip mounted on my @lekiusa pole into the snow as I stood up and got back onto my edges on the softer snow. My heart skipped a beat. I quickly became aware of how fragile life is in a big mountain arena. It sounds strange but coming close to death brought me closer to life, and more grateful for each sunrise I witness and every giggle I share. But I'm learning you can appreciate life without always living on the edge. While I hope to inspire others to live a healthy, active lifestyle, I also want to talk realistically about the risks. I'll forever be a student with more to learn about the relationship between humans and the mountains. @tom_grant_

Over 5' of snow in the past week! Skiing and riding conditions are superb in the Wasatch right now. Here are some highlights from my day ripping around @snowbird with @rob.lea and @marcuscaston! Thanks @ozskier for putting together this edit! @lifeproof #livelifeproof #sponsored

When the avalanche danger is high, it's nice to spin laps inbounds at @snowbird. Photo: @rob.lea

Skiing powder is one of the most exhilarating and addictive sensations in the world. When the storms come in just right and you find the perfect patch of untracked snow, unaffected by wind or warmth, the feeling of moving through that medium is effortless. The snow envelopes you and you never want to leave. The feeling (pictured here) is what drives us to chase the worst winter storms in the world. Some may think we are crazy, to chase a wild dream- to chase a feeling, but once you do it, you'll understand. Photo: @acpictures @jaybirdsport #poweryourpassion #bigmtndreams

The stoke is high this morning in the Wasatch. #livelifeproof @lifeproof #sponsored

Peace out Santa Fe! Back home in Utah now. Our team had a lovely time exploring the snowy mountains and adobe architecture in town. We especially enjoyed or stay at the @innatloretto (pictured here)! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to work with the all-girl photo and video production team of @lynseydyer, @ktmillerphoto, @sophie_danison and @lhittmeier! Can't wait to see how our edit turns out. Stay tuned… @newmexicotrue #WhereTheRockiesBegin #skisantafegirlsway

Whether it's browsing for a new poncho or searching for the best snow on the mountain, I thrive off the discovery of the unknown and the adventure of ski travel. For me, a ski trip is not just about exploring the mountains- it's discovering people and culture. And, like so many other things in life, the more I get to know New Mexico, the more I fall in love. Photo by the lovely and talented @lhittmeier #WhereTheRockiesBegin @newmexicotrue

Steep and deep in the New Mexico backcountry. Photo: @lhittmeier #WhereTheRockiesBegin @newmexicotrue #skisantafegirlsway

When you think about New Mexico, this isn't what normally comes to mind. We were pleasantly surprised by the terrain and the snowpack. El Niño has been good to Santa Fe. #WhereTheRockiesBegin @newmexicotrue #skisantafegirlswayPhoto: @lhittmeier

This trip all started with a phone call. @lynseydyer rang me over the summer. We had many long conversations planning and scheming a winter ski adventure. So we set the dates and invited our friends: photographer/videographer @ktmillerphoto, journalist/photographer @lhittmeier and videographer/editor @sophie_danison. And now, my dreams come true- honored to be working with this talented crew on a photo/video project. #skisantafegirlsway #WhereTheRockiesBegin @newmexicotrue @unicornpicnic @skiingmagazine

My first trip of 2016 has me in Santa Fe to explore a new zone with a rad group of chicas! I am stoked to be together with @lynseydyer, @sophie_danison, @ktmillerphoto, @lhittmeier, @unicornpicnic and @skiingmagazine to ski and shoot for a few days! #skisantafegirlsway #WhereTheRockiesBegin @newmexicotrue

What struck me most about @merufilm was the partnership between @jimmy_chin @conrad_anker and @renan_ozturk. They all believed in each other and because of that, they were all able to accomplish the impossible. That kind of partnership is one of the most amazing aspects of mountaineering. And now, Meru has been nominated to receive the Cinema Eye Honors 2016 Audience Choice Prize, one of the most significant recognitions for documentary films. Support these guys by voting (as often as you want) for Meru between now and January 11 at www.cinemaeyehonors.com/vote (link also in profile).

Happy happy birthday to my dear friend @brooke.froelich! I love the sparkle you bring to the world, and I'm so grateful to be a part of your #girlsquad!

Climb to ski or ski to climb? I go both ways as I strive to be a well-rounded alpinist.Skinning in to scout ice lines on Mount Washington with @majkaburhardt on our trip last spring. #wintermixedchix #bigmtndreams photo: @berndzeugswetter #livelikeliz

This is exactly the type of terrain I travel the world to find. The perfect confluence of rock and ice with a narrow ribbon of snow, captured by @berndzeugswetter and published in the latest @patagonia catalog. Thinking about lines like this makes me happy! From last years #wintermixedchix trip with @majkaburhardt- the Green Chasm on Mount Webster in New Hampshire.

The magic of skiing in a windstorm. Photo: @jaybeyerimaging #poweryourpassion @jaybirdsport

A little Minnesota northwoods love. I had a wonderful New Year's visit my home state to visit my extended family and to celebrate @jillianswanson and Sally Simpson's wedding! Congratulations you two! This picture makes me think about the words of Dr. Seuss' Lorax-"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Photo: @rob.lea

Kennecott Mine from the air. Some people see this as a modern engineering achievement, but I've always thought it was an environmental disaster. Kennecott, or Bingham Canyon Mine, is the world's largest open pit mine, and the second most polluting mine in the US. Flying home to Utah from my former home of Minnesota, I can't help but wonder about the health effects of living in a place with such dirty air and contaminated soil. I worry about the high rates of cancer that seem to bubble up in certain neighborhoods, especially those that are downstream from mines. Utah's legacy is one of environmental abuse from industries that were largely unregulated until the 1970s. But regulations are still lax or nonexistent. My question is: why do we accept this as our reality? What can we do to change it? It's our world, our air and our water. It's time we hold industry responsible. I know change takes time, but I post this now to raise awareness and spread knowledge so we can take action when opportunities arise. #actonclimate

My top nine posts of 2015! I'm beyond grateful for the life of adventure I get to live. I'm excited about a new year of good health and wealth for everyone! And I'm stoked to continuing turning my #bigmtndreams into reality.

Back in my homeland of MN to celebrate NEw Year's, my birthday today, but most importantly, my cousin, Sally Simpson's wedding, to marry @jillianswanson. It's magical to be back in the Great White North to ring in the new year. Hope you are all having a wonderful NYE! Photo: @rob.lea

2015 took me to some exciting exotic places to ski- Slovenia (pictured here), Italy, Oregon, New Hampshire, Vermont, Peru, and King's Peak in Utah (among others…) But I can't wait to march into a new year to see what's next. Sometimes life is stressful and unpredictable but I love the thrill of the adventure and wouldn't want it any other way. Photo: @jaybeyerimaging @lifeproof #livelifeproof #sponsor

Merry Xmas from Santa and Mrs. Claus! We spent the day building a backyard ski resort/sled track for my nephews. Can't wait to teach them how to ski!! Photo: @brittgold2

Snow banks were double overhead today! Stoked we finally got a proper Utah dump, just in time for the holidays. I'm a happy girl. @leecohen_pics

As @leecohen_pics said, it can go from zero to hero in one storm in the Wasatch. I'd say this Xmas storm has officially reached hero status. 3-day storm totals are nearing five feet (1.5 m)! For more mega ski shots like this, follow photographer @leecohen_pics (he took this shot).

I recently hit a landmark achievement- 100k followers. Here's a little winter solstice pic to celebrate you, my fans and followers. Thanks for following along on the journey. I greatly appreciate it. Happy holidays! #bigmtndreams

"This week's storm has Avalanche Accident written all over it. Probably more than one. Combine heavy snow and wind, a rotten-to-the-core snowpack, Christmas vacation and a hungry for powder crowd. Along the arc of risk and desire lies the unwritten accident. Have a safe holiday season."-Drew Hardesty, @utavy forecasterPowder fever is a dangerous thing. I know we want to earn our turns, but it's a good time to avoid all avalanche terrain and sample some of the fine snow riding at resorts instead. #poweryourpassion safely @jaybirdsport @rob.lea caption inspiration: @perpetualweekend

Winter reflections. This is one of my favorite shots from Banff. I still can't get over the color of that lake. @lifeproof #livelifeproof #sponsored

Looking for a great last minute gift? Check out @clifbarcompany's seasonal flavors: iced gingerbread, spiced pumpkin pie and hot chocolate. In addition to being delicious, a portion of the sales of these bars goes to @protectourwinters! Do good with your holiday giving.

Spring 2015 – global average concentrations of CO2 increased over 400 parts per million for the first time. 2015 will likely go down as the hottest year on record. The natural world we love is at risk. But the good news is, greenhouse gas emissions can be controlled. This week, I'm at @squawalpine for the first ever @protectourwinters athlete summit. The goal is to build the POW riders alliance into a team of the most well-informed and energized athlete-environmentalists ever. We have some super interesting discussions planned and I'll be sharing take-aways on insta. For more in depth coverage, find me on Twitter @carolinegleich. I'll be doing my best to share tidbits from each discussion. #POWSummit15 Photo: walking through endless glacier morraine in the Cordillera Blanca @rob.lea