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Writing

Features, stories, and reported articles written by Julie Brown.

Posts in Travel
The Gateway to the Sierra Nevada

The speed limit drops from 65 to 25 mph at the town limit of Bridgeport, California. But you wouldn’t want to be driving fast, anyway. A one-street town with a population of 575, Bridgeport marks the northern end of the Sierra Nevada’s steep eastern escarpment, where skiers are drawn to 14,000-foot summits that precipitously drop 8,000 vertical feet to vast plains. For skiers driving south from Reno or Tahoe on spring backcountry missions, Bridgeport is their first stop.

“A campfire, a bottle of wine, and a guitar, and you can climb something up to 8,000 vertical feet and ski it and spend the night in the hot spring,” says Glen Poulsen, 57, a Tahoe-based skier who has been skiing lines in the High Sierra since well before he got his driver’s license. In 1998, he and four buddies bought 475 acres just outside of Bridgeport, home to hot springs, sagebrush, wildlife, and stunning views. Poulsen (whose father co-founded Squaw Valley in 1948) and his friends donated 75 acres to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, and set up camp to launch ski tours into the surrounding backcountry. 

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Welcome Back, Mount Waterman

With the record-breaking drought in California, their lifts haven’t spun at all. Mount Waterman, in particular, hadn’t opened since the 2010-11 season, that is, until last Saturday. To skiers across the region like myself, there was no question. It was our duty to show up for first chair. This travel essay on Mount Waterman in the San Gabriel Mountains above Los Angeles originally published on Powder.com in January 2016.

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Opposites Attract in Chile

I drank too many pisco sours the night before, which tends to happen on South America ski trips. That much was evident as we drove up infinite switchbacks on a dirt road that would take us to the top of the world’s second highest mountain range. Our driver, Frederico, his rosary beads swaying and jingling from the rear view mirror with every rock, rivet, and rut, eased off the gas to a crawl. But my face was still as green as last night’s cocktails. In the front passenger seat, POWDER contributor Heather Hansman kept her eyes closed to curb the nausea. In the backseat next to me, Paula Froelich, a New York City columnist, popped a large, white pill from Vietnam that was half epinephrine, and half dopamine—magic “hangover pills.” She offered me one. I thought about it, but shook my head. My only cure would come at the end of this car ride, several thousand feet higher in the cool winter air of the Chilean Andes.

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