McKenna Peterson

Of Water and Snow: McKenna Peterson’s Enduring Balance

It’s June 2020 and McKenna Peterson is battling a mess of wires aboard a boat in Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal. McKenna spends winters burrowing through deep powder and filming Alaskan spines with Warren Miller or Matchstick Productions, but when she isn’t chasing turns as a pro skier, she’s aboard the FV Atlantis, captaining her family’s fishing boat and navigating the increasingly competitive waters of the North Pacific every summer. With the 2020 ski season cut short due to COVID-19, the 33-year-old began to prep early for fishing season. The boat’s refrigeration system wasn’t going to fix itself, after all.

When some salaried skiers are checking Southern Hemisphere weather reports and flight itnieraries, Peterson is committed to her other career path and the legacy left by her late father, Chris. After Chris was killed in an avalanche in the Montana backcountry in 2016, a then-29-year-old McKenna took over the captaincy of the FV Atlantis, the vessel where she’d worked alongside her brother Axel and her sister Dylan for years. She balanced the workload with a blossoming pro ski career, and all of the responsibilities that come with it. Along the way, she’s leaned in on principles learned from her father—hard work, humility and persistence—to earn her place in not just one hard-fought career, but two…

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