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Skier Interview – Ski Mountaineer Kip Garre

Ski mountaineering shredder Kip Garre recently joined the Mountain Hardwear team, and we caught up with him in between his seemingly endless winter adventures to get a glimpse of what keeps him going. Be prepared to be a little jealous. Oh, and shortly after the interview he’s packing for a trip to climb Mt Hunter (neighbour of Denali), so maybe we’ll get him to chime in when he’s done. (Harrison Cole photo).

Name: Colyer Garre but I go by Kip
Home Ski Town: Squaw Valley and Cordova Alaska, Points North Heli,  
Favourite Peak: that big steep one with lots of deep snow on it, it is SICK!
Sponsors: K2, Oakley, Mountain Hardwear and Squaw Valley USA
Chairlifts or self-powered: Both,  because there is no substitute for laps on KT22 at Squaw or the Aiguille Du Midi in Chamonix or the B2 at Points North, skiing is fun.
Kashmiri Bread or Pan au Chocolat: Both


Kip & Ming Poon after a SICK skydive out of the Heli at Points North, Kip’s home in March and April.  Greg Martin photo.

Who are you Kip? Aka, tell us a bit about yourself for readers who don’t know you:

I am a ski bum! Born and raised in New Hampshire on the icy slopes of the East. I grew up skiing, climbing,biking, spending lots of time in the mountains and then headed for Squaw Valley when I graduated college. Since then I have been traveling wherever I can to ski. Antarctica,Chamonix, Nepal,Pakistan, South America,Kashmir, Alaska. I love it all! It seems that every year I become more excited to ski, travel and check out new mountains.

From what we can tell you’re pretty darn into ski mountaineering. We know it rules, but what keeps you stoked on it? Why not just ride the lifts at Squaw every day?  

Ski mountaineering offers a unique way to travel through the mountains, you can move fast and you get to ski whatever line you choose. Riding the lifts is fun and keeps you on your game but in the states the terrain can be limited. When you are in the backcountry you can go wherever you want, you are in charge, this freedom makes it very adventerous and exciting.


Jon Morrison Photo

We almost met when we were both shredding in Kashmir this year, and apparently now you’re up in Alaska? What’s with all the travel and where else have you been?
   
This winter has been wild, I have been super fortunate to travel lots. It started with a ski expedition to Nepal in September and October, from there I flew straight to Ushuia, Argentina, got on a boat and headed to the Antarctic peninsula for some amazing skiing. Flew home to Squaw just in time for lots of early season powder, we had a great start to the season. Headed to Kashmir in mid January for a few weeks of skiing in Gulmarg and then it was straight to Chamonix and to Alaska,Points North, where I am right now. This season has been unreal in Alaska, we have skied lots and the snow has been great! 


Only in Kashmir.

I was reading you guys nabbed a first descent on Mt Foraker, Denali’s next door neighbour about a year back. How the hell was that? Epic slog of doom or trip of a lifetime? Any similar missions planned for this year or next?
 
Foraker was a special trip for sure, being invited to ski with Andrew McLean and his friends was inspiring. He has been an influence to me for a long time, I still get choked up trying to talk to him. The expedition went well and we had a strong crew of skiers, got the conditions and weather. Ski mountaineering requires that all the pieces come together 


Jason Kelly photo.

Through all your travels and skiing, what line stands out the most?
 
Last year in Alaska I got to ski a line with Seth Wescott that was all time. It is a long spine off a peak we call Buddy Love, its about 3,000ft of 50 degree plus spines. That day there was waist deep snow and stability was perfect. That sensation of skiing steep, bubbly spine lines in deep snow is incrediable. 

What’s weirder, skiing with monkeys or penguins?

I am not sure…. Skiing around critters is awesome! Penguins smell worse but are friendly.


Playing in the Cugach. Harrison Cole photo.




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