With the snow season still firing from Alaska to the Alps, First Ascent athlete Lynsey Dyer checks in from the road for her recap of a late winter spent chasing storms, scoring helis, getting creative and just skiing with the girls. -EB Editor
Words and Photos by Lynsey Dyer
It’s game time in the mountains and adventure is everywhere you look. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of powder hunting and travel that has taken me from Jackson and interior British Columbia to Alaska and now Chamonix. But, for me, the adventure has only just begun!
Living in a ski town the mountain style ensures that most everything is an adventure, which is my favorite part. With boatloads of fresh snow at 5am, even getting to the airport offers an extra challenge. It’s no big deal to brave a mountain pass freshly cleared of avi debris as well as buffalo crossing the road to beat early tram line traffic only to run through the terminal and cross your fingers for the chance to make a flight that may or may not take off. It keeps me humbled, reminding me often that we’re not in charge and it’s Mother Nature who reigns.
Her snow machine in the sky turned on a bit late in the lower 48 this season but she hasn’t let us down. Late February brought my hometown of Jackson Hole some amazing snow accumulation that I shredded with a whole new posse of ladies I’d never charged with before. In this whirlwind, the new First Ascent Downlines Jacket arrived and we finally started getting into some bigger terrain after scary avalanche conditions finally let up. Powder Week went off with too much alcohol, some rowdy girls and not enough sleep, but some amazingly good times. Then I hit the road for Revelstoke, BC with my ski sponsor, Rossignol.
Two days of snow delays caused me to miss my flight and the rest of my team. But I finally landed in Calgary and rented a car for the final push, a 6-hour drive on Highway 1 through the most scenic and dangerous mountain drive in Canada. Due to icy roads and a massive blizzard, a semi truck plunged into one of the many avalanche tunnel walls and caused the authorities to shut down the highway. But after an hour of waiting for the wreck to be cleared, I somehow squeaked past a road closure that wouldn’t reopen for another three days.
Finally in Revi, I met up with photographer Blake Jorgensen and some of my favorite Canadian female rippers for six days of laughing and shredding in some of the deepest snow I’ve seen. From there I was lucky enough to be invited to continue the party into the Selkirk/Tangiers backcountry for a feature story for Skier magazine, skiing again with the girls and, oh yes, a helicopter. Waiting while shooting offered plenty of down time so we decided to add to the parody of “Shit Girls Say” and created a “Shit Skier Girls Say” video to the mix. It was a blast and a popular success with almost 200,000 views so far!
Braving the pass one more time, I went straight from the heli to the highway for another harrowing drive through a crazy blizzard back to the Calgary airport. This time though, my destination was an adventure up to Alaska with Epiquest to meet up with First Ascent Guide Lel Tone, a 10-year veteran at Chugach Powder Guides. Right off the bat AK delivered two of the most perfect heli-skiing days I’ve ever experienced. Perfect conditions and perfect stability blew me away after three prior trips to AK with no luck. My only regret was not having a photographer along with us to document. But those days will stay burned in my memory, hopefully forever.
Yes, the potential in Alaska is unrivaled. With the biggest mountains I’ve ever seen rolling on as far as the eye can see, the place is magical, alluring and inspiring. It is always a treat to be made to feel small and to be reminded that there are still wild, raw and untamed places yet to be explored. I didn’t want to leave. Watching the tides move icebergs on one side of the road and mountains jutting straight up on the other side, it was a sight to see and one to be forever blown away by.
Yet, the road trip did not end there as I left for Chamonix, France, arriving once again in an insane location with mountains jutting up to the sky like I’ve never before seen. The potential here is incredible and it’s time to get ‘er done, so I’ll save the report from the Alps for later and check in again from the road before this season’s adventure is done.
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