Why? Why climb up a mountain to ski down? I've struggled with the answer to that for years. At one point I would've said it was for the views, or the sight of the sunrise. But after further contemplation, the best answer I have is the people you share the experience with. When ski mountaineering, you are dependent on your partners and your team. Going out for a long day in the mountains makes you vulnerable to the shared experience. It allows us to let down our walls and let those people into our hearts and minds like few other activities in life can. I'm so grateful to all the partners I've shared a bootpack, skin track or rope with. @acpictures @fitzcahall and @airandrice on a super fun day in Hogum last week! Thank you! 🏽
I didn't always love backcountry skiing. The first few years, it was a love/hate relationship, with admittedly more hate than love. After a few years of struggling, I learned to appreciate the slowed down pace of backcountry skiing and how it helped me reflect on the little things in life that matter most. Read more about it on my latest @goretexna blog post, "The Art of Backcountry Skiing"- link below and in profile: http://www.gore-tex.com/blog/art-backcountry-skiing/Photo: @bowmankf
Last week, @rachel.spitzer and I attended a townhall hosted by @jasoninthehouse. It was a wild experience that left my heart racing. Attending these events is never that fun or easy. But it is incredibly important that we continue to organize and show up in big numbers in the weeks, months and years ahead. One voice can change the world. Will it be yours?Read more about my experience on a recent blog post for @outdooralliance. Link in profile and below: http://www.outdooralliance.org/blog/2017/2/15/trip-report-reflections-on-rep-chaffetzs-town-hall-meeting
Fired up & ready to go!This morning, I was tired. My body ached. I did not want to get out of bed. I managed to get myself together and start up the mountain, but I still wanted to fall asleep on the skin track. But after the sun started to rise, I thought about those words, "fired up, ready to go." And they started to work for me. "I’m starting to get kind of fired up. I’m starting to feel like I’m ready to go. And all those negative thoughts and all those bad memories start drifting away. It just goes to show you how one voice can change a room. And if it can change a room, it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. And if it can change a state, it can change a nation. And if it can change a nation, it can change the world!” -B.H.O.#bigmtndreams
My friend @hannahbrie2 is a rockstar. After sustaining a knee injury high on Kessler Peak this afternoon, she rode this improvised shovel sled 3000' down the mountain through 18" of powder, while @rob.lea and I tried our best to "groom" her a path out front, all while maintaining her normal, bubbly cheerfulness. Adventures in the mountains don't always go as planned, but when things go awry, I so appreciate partners who maintain a positive attitude and work together to make the best of the situation. We managed to work efficiently and swiftly as a team, and as she said, "it was still a pretty great day with wonderful company." Hannah- you inspire me, and I will strive to channel your grace and poise in everything I do. I don't think I would have held it together the way you did. You're tough as nails!
Snow pit life. For the past six days, I've been digging deep into my study of snow science, honing my avalanche forecasting skills in my @avyinstitute Level 3 course. This course is the highest level of formal avalanche training in the U.S., and gives avalanche professionals real life tools to make decisions in the "wicked environment" we work and play in. I've been studying hard, learning a ton and digging so many snow pits. This picture is a good snapshot of my life for the past week. Learning as much as I can about avalanches is a priority to me, so much that I sacrificed a week of epic powder skiing to hone my skills. It wasn't always easy to be sitting in the classroom on the bluebird powder days, but I'm grateful for all the knowledge I've gained. My favorite part about the journey of avalanche education is that there's always more to learn. I will forever be a student of the mountains, looking for truth in the layers of the snowpack. Tomorrow, I take my final exams. Wish me luck! And stay tuned… I will share some of my takeaways from the course. Photo: @louisarevalo
Love, tolerance, truth, inclusivity, respect – those are the reasons I'm proud to be an American. Diversity is the backbone of our country, without it, we lose our special sauce. I saw a protest sign that sums it up, "love, not hate, makes America great." I will not be silent about defending our American values. My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by Trump's executive orders on immigration. This action does not represent most Americans and we will do everything in our power to fight.Photo: celebrating freedom @brentbensonphotography
I always had this vision of what I wanted to become. So I became. It took me four years of learning how to ice climb, following routes and taking a slow progression. This week, I led the great white icicle for my first time. I also skied it for the first (and quite possibly last) time. It was an awesome opportunity to put a lot of technical skills that I've learned to use! Huge thanks to @acpictures and @irving_matthew for partnering up to help me document this, for the support and encouragement and for providing safe belays while I was on lead and on skis. #bigmtndreams photo: @acpictures
Success and longevity as a ski mountaineer is often more defined by the lines you turn around on then the ones you achieve, because in those failures, you learn more then when everything goes to plan. The challenge is to fail gracefully. Read more about my learning experience with this in New Zealand's Southern Alps on the @goretexna blog (link below and in profile). Photo: @rob.lea #skiaoraki16 #bigmtndreams http://www.gore-tex.com/blog/failing-gracefully-tale-mountains/
Exercising my Constitutional right to peacefully assemble again today by attending and speaking at the clean air rally at the Utah State Capitol this afternoon! Thanks to everyone who battled the blizzard to come to these events today. This is just the beginning. We have to keep showing up and making our voices heard for the legislative battles ahead!#holdthelineutah
I love calling Utah home. I feel a deep sense of pride about the natural wonders in my home state. The one thing that I am not proud of is our air quality, which frequently exceeds federal health standards. We deserve clean air!If you feel the same way, join me this Saturday, 1/21 at the Utah State Capitol to take a stand for clean air at the "Clean Air, No Excuses" rally! Link to more info below and in profile: https://www.facebook.com/events/1828271550762511/?ti=iclPhoto: @johnevansphoto
The past two days have taken me to some ridiculously, awesome places in the Wasatch. I'm grateful to my partners- @acpictures @jonathon.spitzer and @rob.lea for teaming up on these big adventure days in the backyard. We went ice climbing with skis on our backs, skied frozen avy debris and thrashed through endless bush-filled streambeds, all while keeping the stoke high! Pictured here: @acpictures ascending the Triangle Couloir like a boss.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -Martin Luther King Jr.The scariest things I've done in my life have not been in the mountains. The times I've been most afraid was speaking at public hearings, standing up in front of the fossil fuel industry, asking for stricter regulations on coal power plants, or at the Bears Ears hearing in Bluff, UT, asking for permanent protection of the land. These confrontations are tough but necessary, because when we come together, and listen to the other side, we are stronger. Environmental issues are human rights issues. Injustice to the earth is injustice to humanity. We have an uphill battle ahead. Our work is cut out for us. We must come together with love, and climb this big mountain, for the well-being of humans everywhere. Happy MLK day everyone!Photo: @rob.lea
The joy of human-powered skiing. There's something so gratifying when you reach the top of a peak that you've climbed up yourself. I've always been curious about what's around the next corner, but cautious about how I approach the backcountry. It's taken me over a decade of learning about snow safety and avalanches to get to the point I'm at. Everyday is another opportunity to observe and learn, walking quietly through the mountains, to deepen my love affair with snow. #bigmtndreams #humanpower Photo: @rob.lea
The fight for Bears Ears is far from over. Today, Peter Metcalf, founder and former CEO of Black Diamond wrote, "We are calling on Herbert, Utah's congressional delegation and other state leaders to drop their efforts to take down Bears Ears National Monument, to gut the Antiquities Act, to transfer our public lands to the states and to gut funding for these monuments, parks and public lands. If they don't, the Outdoor Retailer shows must leave Utah.The Utah delegation has wasted no time in the first days of 2017 to enact their destructive agenda, and now the outdoor industry, too, must respond boldly and unified while we are here in Salt Lake."I've been to almost 20 outdoor retailer shows, over the course of 12+ years. It would break my heart if the @outdoorretailer show left Utah, but I'd put this message before my heart, in terms of importance. Sometimes, you have to make bold moves to make your voice heard. Photo: it takes a community of support. @brooke.froelich and me at the Bears Ears public hearing in Bluff, UT this July, taken by @rob.lea
As a professional athlete, my goals are to inspire people to get outside, live a healthy active lifestyle, and protect the places we love to play. I am conscientious about the brands that I work with. I strive to represent brands that make the world a better place, and take responsibility for their environmental and social impacts. That's why I'm so excited to be working with @KEEN. Their brand values of quality, integrity, health, caring and pioneering align with my own, and I can't wait for the adventure together ahead! #KEEN Photo: @meg_haywoodsullivan
Do you love snow and ice? Are you on Twitter? If so, join me on a 24-hour Tweetathon starting today asking @realdonaldtrump to uphold the commitment we made in Paris. Link to more info including sample tweets below and in profile. #keepparis #100days @protectourwinters http://protectourwinters.org/keepparis/Photo: @rob.lea
"One can never be bored by powder skiing because it is a special gift of the relationship between earth and sky. It only comes in sufficient amounts in particular places, at certain times on this earth; it lasts only a limited amount of time before sun or wind changes it. People devote their lives to it for the pleasure of being so purely played by gravity and snow." -Dolores LaChapelle, Earth Wisdom, 1978 thanks for the quote @adventurejournal And thanks for a fun day @rob.lea @brodyleven @acpictures @pepfujas
Today, I skied Benson and Hedges (pictured here) with @rob.lea and @acpictures and it was glorious. Afterward, Rob told me that when we skied this together two years ago, it was his first backcountry couloir. It's been so much fun to see his stoke for backcountry skiing blossom, and it's helped me keep the stoke high in what I do. In past relationships, I sometimes relied on men to show me the way and take me to the lines of my dreams. Now, after years of hard work, I'm proud to be at the point in my sport where I can lead others into the mountains and share some of what I've learned along the way. What I love most about ski mountaineering is there's always more to learn. One of the things I'm most looking forward to this season is taking my avy 3 course! #bigmtndreams
Today was one of my favorite days of skiing because I took my niece @ademonte16 and nephew @elliotmg on a ski tour. It was Anna's first time backcountry skiing and Elliot's 7th. When I was growing up, my aunts, uncles, parents and older half siblings took me skiing, climbing, backpacking and camping (and were very patient while I learned) and today, it was so gratifying for me to pass it on to the next generation and continue our family Holiday tradition!
We did it! Today, #bearsears became a National Monument! When I first heard the news, I got tingles. I can't express all the emotions I poured into this, and how gratifying it was to play a small part in this unprecedented grassroots movement, led by Native American tribes. Today is a monumental day in history, and I'm so grateful to @barackobama for protecting a very special part of Utah for future generations, and for his incredible legacy of conservation. PS- Thank you thank you thank you everyone for all your positive messages of support! You're outpouring of love has renewed my faith in the power of community and social media. This whole thing put me in a dark place but you have lifted my spirits. I'm so grateful to everyone on here and I'm inspired to go forward in 2017 with love!
I've been quieter than usual on social media due to the presence of a persistent bully. These hateful comments leave a mark. I'm a strong person, but after awhile, harassment starts to take a toll. When your bully spends the time to find your phone number and calls to harass you during Thanksgiving dinner, it’s hard to ignore. I know my story is one of many and just the tip of the iceberg. It happens to so many people. I'm tired of being silenced by it and silent about it. I'm taking a stand against cyberbullying.This holiday season- I'm asking you- the @instagram community- to stand with me and fill your interactions online and in person, with love. It's ok to respectfully disagree, but hate, harassment, and bullying is never ok.For anyone who's ever been cyber bullied, I understand the pain and frustration. I've experienced it. It's not right. Let’s take a stand together. Feel the love, spread the love. If you see a hateful comment, call that person out! Let's go beyond deleting and blocking the trolls and support each other. If anyone ever needs someone to stick up for them against a bully online, message me. Together, we can build a community of love, tolerance, and respect.Photo: @louisarevalo
Last night I got to reconnect with my Minnesota roots by playing a game of pond hockey on a frozen rink outside! If you are interested in learning more about my story – how I went from MN hockey kid to ski mountaineer – check out the link in my profile to a recent article by the Minneapolis Star Tribune! http://m.startribune.com/life-of-adventure-isn-t-all-summits/407772726/Photo: @rob.lea #bigmtndreams
Frozen… at the end of a -20 windchill day at @snowbird practicing avalanche safety, wilderness first aid, crevasse rescue and steep skiing skills with @patagonia and @samsaramtnexperience. No matter how many times I take a course, it's so good to practice, and I always learn something new. I can't stress how important it is to be dialed with your partners and your skills before heading into the backcountry. Take the time, get the gear and know how to use it. I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue practicing these life-saving skills. #bigmtndreams Photo: @j_nielsen
It's funny how being in the most wild places makes me feel the most sane. In the alpine- this jumbled up mix of rock, ice and snow, I feel more normal than in the city or at home. Sometimes its good to take a step and find a slower pace of life. And to continuing dreaming about the next experience that will take you there… #bigmtndreams
Growing up in Minnesota, winters always brought a sadness to my life. I would count down the days until my family ski vacation in Utah. It was the only thing I could think about. I think it's part of why I've devoted my life to skiing – it offers relief from Seasonal Affective Depression and a way to overcome the feelings of hopelessness and despair I felt during those long, dark MN winters. I found the light! Now, if only I could figure out a way to deal with the summertime blues. #bigmtndreams Photo: @rob.lea
Today the @bornwildproject releases their first film, "Raising a Wild Child" – watch at bornwildproject.comAs a full grown wild child myself, I loved this film and I'm so proud of my friend @brooke.froelich for making her vision a reality! One of the best gifts we can give is an appreciation of wilderness. Head on over, check out the film and let me know what you think!
A walk outside always clears my head. Today was one of those magical winter days where I never felt cold despite the below freezing temperatures. I was actually sweating, trying to keep up with @marykmcintyre (pictured here) on the skin track. She sets a fast pace! It's always fun to get out with new partners and today was no exception. Winter has a way of bringing us together. @julbousa
Behind the scenes of the professional mountain athlete are the true heros, the videographers and photographers who carry heavy camera equipment to extreme terrain to document these sports. In the past week, I've been busy working on video projects, filming and shooting with @colleengphoto in the Monashees and @joeyschusler and @sam_seward (pictured here) in Colorado. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with these talented filmmakers and I'm looking forward to a season full of these shenanigans! And take note of this amazing human-powered filming technique that Joey and Sam dreamed up- this is some next level cinematography!
Thank you @barackobama for halting the Dakota Access Pipeline until an environment assessment (with public input) has been conducted. Thanks to the Standing Rock Sioux and all the Water Protectors. The fight isn't over, and we must remain vigilant, but it's huge step in the right direction. Let's keep the momentum going. Citizen activism works! #nodapl #standwithstandingrock #waterislifePhoto: @rob.lea
I love the challenge that winter provides. Being outside all day to climb and ski in cold temps forces you to prepare for survival and interact with nature in a way that is not always so friendly or forgiving. It's the season for hand warmers and hot drinks!I'm really looking forward to doing more mixed and ice climbing this season. This picture is from the Vent du Dragon, a 250 m M5 climb in Chamonix. While we were on route, a snowstorm came in that became more intense as we got higher on the route. The climbing took a long time under all the new snow. We missed the last tram down, and spent some time warming up in the toilets at the top of the Aiguille Du Midi. After a little while, we decided to ski down the Valle Blanche in the middle of the night. All of the tracks were covered, and the navigation was incredibly challenging. After all that, we got to the parking lot at the base. I took off my skis, stepped onto the asphalt and slipped on some black ice, and cut my hand open on a sharp piece of gravel. It was an ironic way to end an adventurous, epic day! I'm grateful a little cut was the only bad thing that happened. Huge thanks to @tom_grant_ for snapping this pic and for his ability to get us down the Valle Blanche in the dark! #bigmtndreams
I am always inspired by my fellow adventurers who transcend the boundaries of society to find a deeper connection to the environment. My friends just came out with a rad webisode series- check out https://vimeo.com/191463840 to see it- or visit the link in my profile. #horizonliners @forrestshearer @andrew_miller @nickkalisz @jeremyjones @bryaniguchi @yoderyoder @jaybirdsport
Water is life! This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for access to clean, drinkable water and for everyone who fights to protect clean air and water. As we go into the holiday season, I urge you to question consumerism. Question the status quo. For your holiday shopping, support companies that reflect your values and actively contribute to creating the world you want to live in. Today, on #blackfriday, @patagonia is donating 100% of sales to grassroots environmental groups (estimated around $2 million) in addition to the 1% they donate every other day. #loveourplanet #noDAPL photo: @rob.lea
Kicking off the 16-17 Wasatch season by intentionally triggering the first Utah avalanche today on Mt. Baldy in Little Cottonwood Canyon (link to report in profile). No one was caught. It broke 8-10" deep, about 150' wide and ran around 1000'. Going into the season, it's a good reminder to sign up for an avy course (if you haven't already) and refresh skills. Remember to make sure no one is skiing below you when you do a ski cut. Also, a small avalanche has big consequences this time of year, with the capacity to cheese grater you over some sharky rocks, so be extra cautious. The upper elevation north facing terrain is going to be avalanche prone for awhile, so keep checking the @utavy forecasts. Photo @bowmankf