Inside Powderwhore’s New Film, ‘Elevation’

For the second time in my life, I found myself boarding a sketchy single-engine aircraft packed with gear, food and good friends bound for the vast glaciers and mountains of Alaska—an hour and a half flight from Anchorage into the heart of the Tordrillo mountains for 10 days of camping, skiing and snowboarding. My brother Ian and I had linked up with Jonah and Noah Howell, also brothers from Utah, and the creators of Powderwhore backcountry films. After meeting with the Howells in Anchorage, we stocked up on everything we needed, rented a sat-phone, and hired a pilot for $450 per person, which ended up being the best $450 of vacation of my life!

A 1960s beaver plane with skis flew us into the mountains on a pretty flatly lit, cloudy day—our only option, as a storm was approaching in the days to come. We could all tell the pilot was a bit nervous with the flying conditions, and he didn’t want to spend much time searching for good spots to ski. Suddenly we swooped down, were dropped off and unloaded in a hurry, and the plane flew off over the horizon, not to be seen for another ten days. Bush pilots don’t mess around when it comes to the weather, and sometimes you have to take what you can get. With spirits a little low for not being able to choose our zone for the trip, camp was assembled. And sure enough, a solid storm rolled in.

For one full day it snowed continuously, leaving us confined to our camp perimeter, wondering what kind of terrain existed beyond the whiteout. When the clouds lifted on day two, our minds were blown as we found ourselves positioned at the head of a beautiful valley full of incredible mountains to ride. For the next eight days, the skies stayed clear and cold, and the fresh layer of pow that had fallen stayed blower and stable the entire time. After sitting in a tent in Glacier Bay for 18 days the season before, and only getting out to ride for five of those days due to bad weather, Ian and I felt pretty lucky and stoked to have these perfect conditions and incredible days.

The film is touring right now. Check out the dates on Powderwhore’s site [LINK].