Playa del Rey, CA
Western Slope, Colorado or in my van, El Torito Blanco
what's your day job?
I am full-time self-employed as a writer, brand strategy and inclusivity consultant, and marketing educator. My work in human-centered design and storytelling fuels my creative fire, and keeps me frothing for time in the mountains (since, aside from the pure joy of splitboarding itself, the skintrack is often where I do my best thinking). Splitboarding, strategy, and storytelling all form the basis of my mission to get more people outside, enjoying our beautiful world, and caring for our natural world so that future generations can also love it as much as we do.
highest level of avalanche education
AIARE Rec 1
what's your story on finding your way to snowboarding/skiing?
Born in Santa Monica, California, I spent the first fifteen years of my life surfing and swimming in the rip currents of Los Angeles' beaches. Only my family’s annual trips to the Sierra Nevada (and the holiday buffets I found there) showed me that the mountains could help me find the limits of my possible. (Note: age two was my first time on skis.)
A landlocked adolescence (away from both the oceans and the mountains) gave me an appreciation of a good sufferfest, when I picked up cross-country running in the heat of California's Central Valley. It wasn't until years later, after departing a corporate job in Oregon, that I refound my love of the mountains: on an extended expedition to South America in 2014, I rebuilt my life, with mountains (and all their lessons) at its center.
Building my mountain craft through splitboarding, trad climbing, and peak bagging missions on trips through Andorra, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and the USA, I taps into the work ethic (and boundless energy) of my parents, first and fifth generation lovers of the land who instilled in me a deep love of community.
I've adopted a minimalist lifestyle to make more time in the mountains possible; I'm privileged to have a winter-ready van and a partner based on the Western Slope to empower big mountain dreams.
Describe Your Best Powder Day in the Backcountry
Every powder day in the backcountry is a new best day! My recipe for a perfect day includes safe but deep snow, plentiful yummy snacks, and the company of a solid lady shred crew or my partner, Johnny. Ideally, we're skiing something steep with minimal transitions 🙃
Describe A Humbling Day in the Backcountry
The mountains serve up humility when we least expect it. Several seasons ago, when I was first starting to move into big mountain splitboarding, I went into the Eastern Sierra backcountry on an exploratory mission with a new friend. I knew the area, but this zone was new to me, and my friend had never been there.
Kyle (not his real name) and I had done a test mission the day before, so I knew he understood the basics of backcountry travel. Also, the guy could definitely slay pow.
Our mission was to explore an aesthetic east face that, as I found out later, doesn't get much action because of its extremely awkward (and laborious) approach—not to mention its aspect.
After several miles of bad creek crossings, broken gear, and momma+baby bear sightings, the Sierra sun glared down, harshly. I should have pulled the plug then. But Kyle (not his real name), didn't want to turn around. He thought (as did I) that we could access the face if we just kept looking for that "one" gully. I ignored the voice in my head reminding me that Kyle had splitboarded only with (male) guides that he'd hired before. I forgot that Kyle didn't rock climb, as I did. And I didn't consider the ticking time bomb that was the sun on a quickly warming face.
Kyle thought he found a good ascent gully; I ruled it out, observing ice-covered debris on its apron. He insisted; I pushed back. Only after mentioning my previous day's conversation with two older men about the rock quality "back there" did he concede.
So we found another gully, and bailed up. Maybe two hundred feet of exposed class 4 climbing got me to the first ledge. I realized then that this was a bad idea. I'd been gripped; how would Kyle do?
I watched him scramble up the crumbling chose face below me, wishing he was on belay. Breath baited, I watched as he methodically inched his way up the route. After an eternity, he arrived on the ledge, sweat pouring down his face.
The adventure wasn't over yet, but this crux (and out ensuing debrief afterwards) taught me that sometimes, avalanche conditions aren't the only things threatening our lives in the backcountry. Bias, particularly of the gender variety, and heuristics play a huge role in the decisions we make out there. They determine the shortcuts we take and the acceptances we make. We got lucky that day, but might not have under even just slight changes in conditions.
Ever since then, I've asked myself: how are my (and my partner's experiences) informing our decisions?
We are both here for the people, the planet, and the progress. I firmly believe that we, as individuals, athletes, business people, and community builders, can be as much about slaying pow as protecting the planet as supporting future generations.
Another reason I'm excited to be a member of the Weston team? I'm stoked to see just how far we can go to find the limits of our possible.
What does your quiver look like?
I currently ride a Riva 157, which I used as a quiver killer this past season for a few different reasons.
I’ve always been a minimalist: building my mountain craft while living in a van, I haven’t had the luxury of space for many different types of boards for all types of conditions. More importantly, cost of entry to splitboarding means that a Swiss Army knife-type approach wasn’t just the best option; it’s been the only option in the past.
There’s been a lot of good to be taken from this essentialist approach, though. One board forced me to learn how to ride every type of condition and the Riva has been a great tool in the past for getting familiar with big mountains.
Outdoor Research. Community partners include, Protect Our Winters, Achieve Tahoe and Combs Outdoors