My friend Josh Dueck and I keep in touch on a fairly (un)regular basis… Our lives – which seem to run parallel in more than a few ways- the pursuit powder snow and wind in our faces, meaningful friendships, a connection … Continue reading
Sometimes Whistler gets a bad rap… Busy, expensive, touristy.. everything that my fellow interior dwelling hippies fear. I spend quite a bit of time on the coast and will admit I have ragged on the metropolis of ski towns from … Continue reading
This is a film about a ski expedition in Kyrgyzstan last year with The North Face, B4 Apres Media, Anthony Bonello, Nicolas Teichrob, Mike Hopkins, Leah Evans, Ptor Spriceneks and Ryan Koupal of 40 Tribes Backcountry. We spent a few … Continue reading
Interior BC is by far my favorite place to ski, so when I got an email from Robin O’Neill last year saying she was coming to Revelstoke to ski and she was bringing a group of girls with her.. I was STOKED to say the least! I love showing people around my backyard— and skiing and hanging out with these girls is always awesome ( it doesn’t happen enough) I think this trip had a big impact on all of us- Tessa Treadway, Laura Ogden, Tatum Monod, Lynsey Dyer and Leah Evans and myself. We battled avalanche conditions and light- trying to make the most of the opportunity to ski and shoot together, and got to know ourselves a little bit better in the process. Lynsey and Tatum and I had just finished a week of shooting together, making fun of ourselves with #shitskiergirlssay video… and as Tessa and Laura traveled to Revelstoke from Pemberton- they realized this was the first time they would ski together since Jack’s accident in 2010 (see article for more details). As a result the pendulum swung from silly to heavy, and back again, as we spent time together shredding lines and hitting dongers, cautiously tiptoeing around a heavy avalanche cycle in the Selkirks, laughing till we cried, and working to capture the essence of Revelstoke in the rain. The result of the trip was this— an article in the latest SBC SKIER by Lisa Richardson with photos by Robin O’Neill... an awareness of the multiple dimensions of our skiing universe and a strengthened bond between all of us “skier girls”. Here’s a taste.. Pick up a magazine and check it out!
Photographer and friend Nicolas Teichrob just sent word that a story about our trip to Kyrgyzstan last year was published in Outer Edge Magazine in Australia this month… complete with a bunch of awesome photos and full page spread of one of my most memorable runs of the trip- Nic caught this image as I cruised back down to the yurt at sunset after a full day of lapping one of the nearby faces. It was a magical day in the backcountry- one of those ones fueled by blue skies and alpine bliss that you hope will never end. Read Anthony Bonello’s words below:
In the valley below a pony guided by an unseen horseman silently drags a pile of straw across a field, muted white by a frigid cold. As we continue climbing, we reach a slight col that presents a goliath north face wracked with numerous unskied lines. To the east, a broad spine catches a sliver of sunlight, almost beckoning us over to ski. As Izzy Lynch drops in, her contrails billow behind, floating gently in the sun before settling. It’s a first descent – feeble progress in terms of the obvious potential, but progress nonetheless.
Joined by photographer Nicolas Teichrob along with Izzy Lynch, Leah Evans and Mike Hopkins from British Columbia’s powder choked Kooteney region, we’ve been lured here by the opportunity to spend a week in a backcountry yurt—a traditional Kyrgyz nomadic tent—and ski in a country that is 80 percent mountains, many of them unseen let alone skied on by foreigners like us.
When I invited Leah a few months prior, she paused and said she’d call me back. Five minutes after that, the phone rang to confirm she’d indeed like to go skiing. “I just had to look at the map,” she explained. The topography must have made an impression. Landlocked by China to the east, Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west and separated from Afghanistan by Tajikistan in the south, Kyrgyzstan represents a part of the world—Central Asia—that none of us had any idea about, much less the country itself.
Landing in the capital Bishkek, the minus 25 degrees Celsius temperature immediately makes regular stops for a bowl of delicious Russian borscht part of our routine. Mercedes and BMWs crouch low beneath a perma-fog, trapping the city under an icy pallor. Colloquially referred to as the Paris of Central Asia, the city lives up to the moniker with grand architecture – albeit of the Soviet variety – replete with large squares and crisscrossed with wide public thoroughfares. Wandering the streets we stand out – not because of our bright Gore-Tex colors, but because unlike the chic population parading along the sidewalks dressed in tall leather boots, fitted woolen overcoats, silk scarves and big fur hats, we are completely devoid of animal skin haberdashery.
Our immediate impression is in contrast to our notions of what a predominantly Muslim country, recently to have gone through a violent revolution, were. In the spring of 2010, protests over increased heating costs and media censorship ousted the president and left 88 dead and more than 1000 injured. A visit to the Osh Bazaar offers the agrarian aspect to the city we expected. Sheep heads, braided intestines and a range of other unsavory looking by-products are available to shoppers. We’re offered a steaming cup of salty yak milk tea by a group of rotund women each sporting a rack of gold teeth. Despite its belly warming promise, the tea proves too rank for anyone to finish.
A large Marshrutka van arrives early on the third day to deliver us to Karakol where we will join Ryan Koupal, a Colorado native with a master’s degree in Chinese Moshui Hua, or “ink water painting”, who spent three winters exploring Central Asia before realising the potential to develop winter based tourism in Kyrgyzstan. A hulk of a fellow, our driver’s name is supposed to be Sergei, but he doesn’t respond to it. Nor does he respond to our requests to slow down. Only the week before, a group of American’s travelling the same route was in a serious road accident, with one person sustaining spinal injuries requiring he be be duct-taped to a snowboard for lack of a proper spinal board.
Ok..Ok So I put off writing a Season end post FOREVER.
It has been on my to do (or not to do) list for some time now… but like most years, spring comes and I get all wrapped up in celebrating winter, retro steeze and leathering the skin on my face by way of harsh glacial sunlight. My aching body tells me its time to put the skis away… but something stops me.. The “what if” of one more great day…
I’d do anything for a few more turns, sunny days, surprise pow, corn and more time with my friends les montagnes.
Due rain and warm temps early on, this year the battle was harder than most to keep the ski stoke alive. My skis sat at my back door long after I had made way to muddy trails on my bike. I was refusing to let winter go, but sadly May didn’t bring the long ski days in the alpine that I was anticipating. A few tours of dust on crust and milky skies and my dreams of corn snow and melt freeze stability remained mostly unfulfilled.
Until one friday evening in the middle of May.. my phone bleeps with a text from my neighbor/ski buddy Christina Lusti : “Begbie Drop. Airport 7:30am” The forecast was calling for a glorious weekend, and before I knew it I was dropping in from the summit of Begbie under sunny skies for my last pow turns of the season. A morning bike ride, an exciting heli bump to the high col on a the mountain I gaze at out of my living room window on a daily basis, my first time to the summit, a few hidden powder turns and highfives from good friends.. (All in good time to get back to town for veggies at the market and an afternoon climb in the sun)That final day of skiing was oh-so-sweet and helped me put the sticks away with a satisfied grin on my face.
Its time for summer now, and a gigantic Thank You to all those around me for a fantastic season. It was a winter of abundance, snow, friendship, experience and opportunity– There were so many extraordinary moments this winter that reminded me, how my passion for the mountains has guided me through my life. Skiing is the link between me and many of the beautiful people and places I have visited in this world and gives me the chance to explore, experience, and appreciate all that really matters in this world. All the positive mirrored by tragedy and the loss of friends, idols, and mentors we faced this year has pushed me embrace each moment and a meaningful existence. Living what I love, spending time with my friends and staying true to my passions has guided me, and here I am living my dream! Thank you everyone, and thank you winter… See you next year!
We spent a week ski touring and exploring the magnificent Tien Shan mountains, overdosed on Borsht, made some Kyrgyz friends and tried our very first Yak Butter tea. As usual with travel like this the skiing was merely a bonus to an incredible adventure.
Leah Evans Photos