One year ago today, the world lost Liz Daley. Liz joined the Eddie Bauer guide and athlete team in the summer of 2014, before a tragic accident on an expedition to Argentina claimed her life on September 29, 2014. Though her time with our program was brief, it was impactful and full of promise. Not only was Liz seen as a hard-charging Cascadian snowboarder, but she was climbing through the ranks towards becoming a certified guide. Her smile, positive outlook and desire to push herself in the mountains were welcomed with open arms by her new teammates, and many adventures were already planned. I miss and think about Liz every single day, and try to bring some of her finest attributes and dance moves into everyday life. To honor her memory on this tough day, we asked her friend and teammate Drew Tabke to write a few words about her spirit and legacy.
The Skeena River and its tributaries are a legendary destination for wild chinook and steelhead fly-fishing in northern British Columbia. The second-longest river system in BC, the undammed 350-mile Skeena is a life-list angling location due to its long, wild runs and productive fly fishing for all four native trophy species: chinook, steelhead, coho, and Dolly Varden. Eddie Bauer Sport Shop guides Andrew Bennett and Lucas St. Clair landed in Terrace, BC and the riverside Skeena Spey Lodge last spring to fish the legendary braided bigwater of this system via jet-boat-accessed wading.
In fly-fishing circles, BC’s Skeena River reverberates with a mystical, legendary character. Last spring Eddie Bauer Sport Shop guides Lucas St. Clair and Andrew Bennett landed at Skeena Spey Lodge in an attempt to confirm if the rumors were indeed true. After the trip—which included cold days on big tributaries, an abundance of wild, native steelhead and even a Richard Sherman fly—we asked St. Clair to explain what makes the Skeena so special and so spectacular. Then we asked him to underscore the importance of conservation in a sacred river system and natural ecosystem that draws sport fisherman from around the globe. He supplied a powerful message on preservation as both a responsibility and a necessity.
Eddie Bauer Sport Shop guide Andrew Bennett is no stranger to big fish. After more than a decade operating lodges on the Dean River in British Columbia, the Kanektok River in Alaska, and on South Andros Island in the Bahamas—and now with his newfound leisure time fishing in Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest—Bennett has hooked into some heavyweight salmon and steelhead. For the biggest rivers and biggest fish—such as BC’s legendary Skeena River that he fished last spring—he is a convert to spey fishing with two-handed rods, a method that originated in Scotland but has become increasingly popular in the big-river salmon and steelhead venues of the Pacific Northwest coast. In his latest instructional overview, Bennett breaks down why spey is now the professional method of choice for big-river fishing in the Pacific Northwest.
For the past month, it seemed like the entire First Ascent ski team was in South America. The steady stream of powder images in our feeds made us envious. But when we actually counted it was five of the rippers on our roster who were making the most of the best South America season in a decade. One of those pro shreds on location was Lexi duPont, who sent us this personal gallery from a Smith team trip to Bariloche, Argentina with her trademark charging optimism and more than a few extra exclamation points. Based on her stoke and these images, we can tell it was a really, really good trip.
Drew Tabke has spent so much time skiing in South America, some would consider him akin to a seasonal expat expert on the topic of Southern Hemisphere shredding. Yet for the last seven years his SA seasons have been a bit thin, with a serious powder snow drought in the warming Andes. This year, however, was different with a six-foot storm hammering Chile and Argentina as he arrived for a trip to the big yellow cruise ship of Ski Portillo, a journey to the end of the road ruggedness of Ski Arpa and a week in residence in his home away from home, the Chilean ski town of Farellones. Between cat trips, touring missions and Powder Magazine stories, we tracked Tabke down for a report.
When Reggie Crist rolls, he rolls in style. Staying true to a big-line worldview that includes heli time, endless global powder and occasionally a rooftop landing on a towering skyscraper to access a five-star luxury hotel was part of his program in South America this season. As our second gallery from the deep ski season in South America, Reggie provided us his vantage point and overview on guiding more than a few stable, deep and spectacular heli lines in the vast Andean terrain around Valle Nevado, Chile that holds runs up to six-thousand-feet in vertical, adrenaline-inducing drop. It’s an impressive summer ski vacation tale that even involves a heli-guiding cameo by Lynsey Dyer and a heli drop stopover at the W Hotel in Santiago.