These are just a few of the things I've published as of recent.
A Movement Begins
In the face of climate change, Park City, Utah, has become a leader among ski towns. Is it enough?
Published in POWDER Magazine (46.4) | December 2017
Overnight, it snowed a foot. After weeks of warming, the storm was a gift from the cold, white north to the eastern edge of the Wasatch. Snow fell in never-ending patterns: swirling helixes, angled sheets, waves catching a breath before cascading down in chaos. The day felt more like January than the beginning of March, and the weather report told us to savor it.
The bootpack to the top of Ninety-Nine-90 at Park City Mountain Resort was swarming with skiers. A local land conservationist named Caitlin Willard slipped out the backcountry gate to find quieter pastures, and I followed her to a small, unexpected stash. Like most skiers in Park City, Utah, Willard, 34, is a transplant. While studying environmental sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she saw a story in a magazine that listed the top ski towns in North America. She picked Park City mostly because it wasn't in Colorado or California, but also because she had an affinity for park skiing (she admitted to wearing tall-Ts and described herself as a "born-again backcountry skier"). She moved in 2006, found a shared room for $400 a month, and balanced odd jobs with skiing.
In the years that followed, rent doubled, Willard started a 9-to-5 job at a land trust, and Park City became plagued with issues that are universal to ski towns across the West: It is hard to make a living; there is no affordable housing; real estate development is incessant; and climate change is slowly, but consistently, melting the snowpack. One reason that Willard stayed--Park City has decided to do something about the latter.
Last year, city officials pledged to reduce Park City's carbon footprint to zero by 2032. An accelerated five-year deadline for city operations to cut out carbon ranks as one of the most ambitious climate change goals in the country. City leaders are still finishing the plan, which will include new solar and wind farms and a renewable energy grid for residences, businesses, and Deer Valley and Park City ski areas. Electric city buses and a new transit plan will take combustion engines off the road. Thousands of acres of undeveloped land--Willard's expertise--will be preserved, curbing development and pulling carbon out of the atmosphere.
Willard shared some details of the emerging plan and her contribution to preserve open space as we navigated our way to the top of a light-and-dry powder field. She wiggled turns down a sheltered, untracked slope, and I shadowed her line. At the bottom, we put on our skins for another run.
"The thing that I think is going to help save the world is people changing their culture, changing their habits, and realizing that things are not always going to be easy and convenient," says Willard. "You're going to do the world a huge favor if you take the bus." ...
The Mountains Are Calling And Hilaree O'Neill Must Go
Published on Powder.com | February 2018
Why the 45-year-old ski mountaineer says last winter was her wildest ever.
One of the most accomplished ski mountaineers on the planet with a well-documented knack for suffering, Hilaree O'Neill also likes to ski powder. And last winter--when the West was pummeled by atmospheric rivers of historical significance--she skied a lot of powder.
The winter that O'Neill calls her wildest was a tick-list of descents in Telluride, the Eastern Sierra, India, and Alaska. With her partner, Jim Morrison, she schussed cold smoke turns in Telluride's famously tight couloirs and set off on skin tracks to descents in the Eastern Sierra Nevada that hadn't been in shape for skiing in a decade, including the 14er Mount Williamson. That was just training for what was to come...
Our Photo Annual Only Has One Woman—That Needs to Change
POWDER Magazine's photography features very few women. We can do better.
Published in POWDER Magazine's Photo Annual (46.5) | January 2018
This magazine has a lot of work to do.
Every year, the Photo Annual strives to display the very best ski photography in the world, with integrity to composition, light, authenticity, snow, and action. It is the culmination of a year's worth of effort, from the winter when photographers and skiers set out to create their art, to the months of collecting, sorting, curating, and editing photos internally.
Photographers submitted thousands of images to the magazine this year; out of those, we published 24 photos in this issue that represented the top tier of ability in photography and skiing. Only one featured a woman. And only one was taken by a female photographer.
The gender gap has manifested in more than just this single issue of the magazine. In the Shooting Gallery department, which typically consists of around eight photos in every issue, the problem is right before our eyes. Beyond Lucy Sackbauer, a skier from Vail, Colorado, who closes the gallery on page 98, Christina Lustenberger was the only other female skier portrayed in the galleries this year (46.3), and she was not skiing.
This magazine is a record of the sport, but if we are not capturing 49 percent of skiers, the women's demographic, then we are falling short...
How Van Life Gives This National Champion an Edge Over the Competition
Published in REI's Co-op Journal | June 2018
Payson McElveen, a 25-year-old marathon mountain bike racer, custom built a 2017 Ford Transit with enough storage for four bikes. Now, he feels right at home at the finish line...