Backstory: Turning Back

An overhanging rock face looms to our left, and I can see the Coleman Glacier sprawling far below my feet. Kyle and I are on the Hourglass, a 50-degree ramp that gains Mt. Baker, Wash.’s North Ridge. Early this morning, after a few soggy hours of sleep in Murkwood Camp, we’d navigated the crevasses of […]

Backstory: Rising Up

Starting off slowly gives me time to reflect on an event I ran last night, as part of the group I started for women who like to backcountry ski and ride. With help from a handful of volunteers, we put on events, like guest speakers and slideshows. We also advocate for women in the backcountry realm and gather for beacon practices, ski days, hut trips and the like. I tend to beat myself up before giving myself credit and, this morning, I wonder if our group is actually sexist, because we exclude men.

Backstory: Sunbowl Retreat

Whether on cross-country or backcountry skis, I enjoy the beauty and quietness of simply being out there—but there are other aspects even more compelling, which rouse more primal, visceral and satisfying feelings within me. Sitting at my desk, I thought of the past weekend, when Mike and I went to Lassen Volcanic National Park, with its jagged peaks amid ancient volcanic remnants.

Backstory: Brown Shorts By Night

The snow of the surrounding mountains shoots back rays of the setting sun. Yellow, red and then purple. I’m amazed at the variety of colors in the sky and reflecting on the snow. Everything seems perfect. But deep in my mind, unpleasant thoughts grow with the lengthening shadows on the mountainsides.

Backstory: The Struggle for Enlightenment

As a young medical student at the University of Colorado, I would often visit the bookstore during lunch, perusing shelves of anatomy atlases and medical textbooks. One day, I happened upon Ski the 14ers, a collection of photographs from Chris Davenport’s yearlong quest to climb and ski all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks.