The North Face: Mount Washington Backcountry Ski Festival

On March 10th and 11th I went to the White Mountains in New Hampshire to photograph the Mount Washington Backcountry Ski Festival for The North Face. I spent 2 days touring with ski mountaineer and The North Face athlete Kit DesLauriers as she taught backcountry safety to a group of 13 women. With fresh snow falling, participants were energized and excited for the day of touring and absorbing Kit's extensive backcountry knowledge.  

 Women's group tour with Kit DesLauriers.

Women's group tour with Kit DesLauriers.

 Kit applying skins in the warming hut.

Kit applying skins in the warming hut.

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We skinned up the Gulf of Slides trail in near whiteout conditions. With cold temps. and winds gusting upwards of 50 mph we reached tree line with spirits high. The final ascent was in an open gully and we made it as far as we could go before the avalanche danger was apparent and prevented us from summiting. With fresh snow covering our tracks, we embraced every pow turn back down to the parking area. Smiles and high fives were had all around, along with a well deserved beer to warm our cores back at the sponsor village.

 Kit doing a beacon check.

Kit doing a beacon check.

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 Skinning up the Gulf of Slides trail.

Skinning up the Gulf of Slides trail.

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 Kit DesLauriers.

Kit DesLauriers.

The second day we decided to check out some freshly gladed trails thanks to Granite Backcountry Alliance in Randolph, NH called the Crescent Ridge Glades. The 2 mile skin track took us to the base of the glades where we were able to lap wide open trees. 5 different zones were marked out with tree tape and everyone had free reign on the untouched snow that had fallen over the past few days. The hoots and hollers echoed throughout the trees as each person floated down on the fresh powder knowing that there was a chance to do it all over again. Between each lap we would devour our snacks and reapply our skins excited to see what the next zone had to offer. We did 3 amazing laps before calling it quits and riding the skin track back to the parking area.

 Kit leads the way up to the Crescent Ridge Glades.

Kit leads the way up to the Crescent Ridge Glades.

 Kit and Hilary McCloy of  Backcountry Bliss Retreats  reviews the trail route.

Kit and Hilary McCloy of Backcountry Bliss Retreats reviews the trail route.

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