Through the eyes of athletes, Alaska looks different. Standing atop a 3,000-foot spine offers an alarmingly different perspective from a film clip shot from across the valley. Alaska humbles even the strongest skiers, but also pushes them to walk the fine line between what can be skied and what cannot. Athlete photos and commentary tell a different picture from the bluebird and perfect snow we usually see in the media–a story of exploration and experimentation on the edge of civilization.
The first time you go to Alaska to ski, you may not even understand why you’re there. You just want to go kill it. To see what you’re made of. To ski endless pow, ride in a heli, or skin your ass off. For pro athletes, it’s the hope of getting a sick segment, hucking yourself, scaring yourself, bringing your tricks to the big mountains.
But once you’ve gone and skied and come back, you realize why you went and why you’ll go again. It’s because when you suddenly find yourself alone in those mountains—even just for the few moments when the group has gone ahead and you’re out of their sight in the chute—you become aware. Perhaps more aware than you’ve ever been…
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