Living her BAÏSTLife.
We are continuing to highlight our BAÏSTLife Crew, made up of several talented athletes who push our brand to the limit and always live their BAÏSTLife. We recently featured Katie Jane Purdy, and now we are highlighting Brooke Edwards, an experienced skier living her BAÏSTLife in Alaska. She has been skiing for over 40 years and has quite literally skied around the world - from Iceland to Japan. Want to know more? Read on to get a peek into Brooke's life:
How long have you been skiing/riding? How did you get started?
My mom tried to start me out when I was 4 years old up at Crystal Mountain in Washington, but back then the rope tows were the only lift available for beginners and they were brutal. I grabbed on and it whipped me off my feet, ripping my hands and knocking the wind out of me. I HATED skiing after that and it took her until I was 8 years old to get me to go again. I'm 49 now, so that's 41 years of skiing under my belt!
What is your first memory of skiing and who introduced you to the sport?
My mom loved skiing and would take my sister and I out of school to go skiing with she and her girlfriends. I never did ski racing because it was too expensive, but there was this cheap program that took us every Saturday from our local grocery store parking lot up to Crystal and we were supposed to go to ski lessons in the morning before free skiing in the afternoon, but we would always skip and then go try to ski the hardest runs on the mountain just to be able to brag about it on the bus later (even though we had side slipped the whole thing).
How many days do you currently spend skiing or boarding each year?
I've never been one to count as I'm not a list-ticker, but suffice it to say that I'm pretty much on my skis from mid November to mid May every year as I make a living as a ski instructor, an avalanche educator and a heli ski guide.
What is your favorite memory of being in the snow/in nature?
I am the queen of superlatives, so I have SO many favorite moments. I've been super lucky to get to ski some incredible places around the world from the fjords in Iceland, to volcanoes in Chile and Japan to epic lines in my own backyard, the Chugach Mountains. I do think that ski guiding in Japan felt to me as if I was skiing inside of a fairytale.... just the sheer sparkle beauty of the way the trees hold snow there and the quality of the snow as you float through it was purely magical.
How do you start each day?
Having been a seasonal guide for 25 years means that I have no routine. My life is so dynamic and flexible based on what job I'm doing then and what the seasons are doing and how Alaska is deciding to be Alaska for the day. In a perfect world, I awaken to making myself a bullet proof coffee, blending together coconut oil and a dash of hot cocoa into my coffee in a blender to go with bacon and eggs.
What does your perfect ski day look like? Who’s with you? Where are you?
Hmmm, also a tough question as I LOVE love love so many different ways of approaching the mountains. Yet, I guess a perfect ski day would be with one of my besties on a gorgeous bluebird, good stability day in our Chugach mountains, hiking for our turns and enjoying summit picnics and parking lot apres beers.
What is the best ski day you’ve ever had?
Oh jeez, that's again so tough to answer as I've been incredibly blessed in my life with some outrageous heli ski days as well as earning my turns hiking up mind blowing volcanoes. Hmmm, I guess one idea would be a couple of years ago on my birthday, I was staying the week on the most Northern Japanese Island of Rishiri which is this epic volcano jutting forth from the Sea of Japan. We had spent the week with locals ski touring all around the volcano and on my birthday, we got to climb to the summit and ski off the top. It was a 12 mile tour and the most epic descent in view of the ocean the whole way. I'd say that's right up there.
Where is your favorite place to ski?
Alaska hands down.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever traveled to ski?
I got to do a project for ESPN South America with 3 other women, climbing and skiing 6 volcanoes in Chile four years ago. That was insanely fun! One volcano, Villarica, I went back and climbed 6 more times because I couldn't get over how crazy it was to skin up a mountain, then peer down into boiling lava spewing at me and then turn around and ski down super fun playful lines! Crazy.
What's the most challenging mountain you've ever skied?
Haha, there's a few of them in Valdez and now that I'm a heli ski guide there, the list keeps on growing! I do remember a backcountry run on Rogers Pass in Canada that the locals called the Dagoba System after Yoda's home. Some friends who are patrollers at Kicking Horse took me there and I just remember it being the steepest, tightest trees with lots of mandatory pillow drops in between the tight trees. It kicked my ass, but somehow I got down cursing my friends the whole way.
What do you do in the off-season to stay in shape?
Well that's an excellent question seeing as currently I am laying on my couch icing my knee two days out of knee surgery! My plan this year will be to bike a lot and do a ton of strength training and PT to train for next ski season.
What hobbies do you have other than skiing?
I love all things wilderness: camping, backpacking, rafting, packrafting, climbing. On the more cultural side of things I love music and dancing as well as writing my own poetry.
You are headed out to the hill: What's in your pack? Tell us your 5 must-haves.
My pack is so stupid heavy because once a guide, always a guide. I carry water, food, extra layers, all my emergency avalanche gear: beacon shovel probe saw and snow study kit. I carry a first aid kit and also some basic repair items, plus a headlamp and a bivy. In Valdez, heli guiding , I also carry a 30 meter rad rope and enough gear to perform a crevasse rescue since we are skiiing glaciated terrain there.
If you use BAÏST products, why do you enjoy using and riding with them?
My Baist gloves are my saving grace. I use the lighter weight ones for touring up hill and then love changing into my heavier weight Baist system for downhill. In guiding, I have to do so much with my hands and it's vitally important for me to have my dexterity combined with warmth. Baist gloves nail these components.
What made you decide to try/use/work with BAÏST?
Being an ambassador for smaller companies made in the USA is important to me. BAIST creates a great product and has incredible values as a smaller run company. They are pure gems in my mind!