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(Photo Credit: Dylan Crossman)

Born and raised in Sun Valley, Idaho, pro skier McKenna Peterson has always been attracted to the mountains. At a young age, she joined the Sun Valley Ski Team, and went on to race for the USCSA team while attending the University of Colorado in Boulder as well. Later, she competed on the Freeskiing World Tour for a time, before making first ski descents in Iceland and Greenland. As a passionate ambassador for The Climate Reality Project, she takes ever opportunity to discuss the impact that climate change has had on our planet, particularly in terms of how it is changing our winters. For most of the year she works on a commercial fishing boat out of Alaska, but spends the winter skiing and going in search of epic powder all over the world.

Gear Institute: Hi McKenna! Thanks for taking some time to answer our questions. Tell us what has been keeping you busy these days?

McKenna Peterson: Right now I am traveling the West, premiering Warren Miller’s Chasing Shadows  in which I am featured. It is my first time skiing in a Warren Miller film and it has been very fun. I will spend this winter adventuring in the big mountains and chasing snow!

Dylan Crossman

(Photo Credit: Dylan Crossman)

GI: Congrats on getting into a Warren Miller film. That must have been very exciting. When you’re heading out to backcountry, what are some items that you always take with you?

MP: I tend to travel light when heading out on an adventure, but I always bring plenty of water, as it’s what really keeps me moving. I don’t leave home without my SPOT beacon either, because I spend a lot of time in very remote locations and it is a good safety net. I also make sure my brain is focused and switched on too. It is by far my most important tool for staying safe in the backcountry.

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GI: Agreed! Which pieces of gear from your various sponsors do you find most valuable?

MP: I rarely hit the mountain without my Beyond Coastal Active Face Stick (SPF 30). Goggle tans are cool but skin cancer is definitely not. I absolutely love my K2 TalkBack 96 skis too. They are perfect for the backcountry. Light on the up, playful for the down. I also use Voke Tabs to keep my energy levels high, and I always carry my Backcountry Access Float airbag pack. It is a great all around backpack that fits well, and is the lightest avalanche airbag on the market today.

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GI: Do you have any valuable packing tips that you can share?

MP: For the big backcountry missions, I make sure to put all of my valuables and electronics inside of a CHUMS voyager accessory case. The waterproof bag keeps my valuables dry and organized, ensuring that nothing falls out of my pack while digging out extra layers and such.

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GI: Is there anything in the ski world that has you particularly excited right now?

MP: I am excited to see the increase in popularity of backcountry skiing. It is cool that so many people are wanting to get out and experience the mountains, but it is also important to note that the backcountry can be a dangerous place and the right precautions need to be taken. A beacon, shovel and probe are absolutely necessary for backcountry travel and I highly recommend using an avalanche airbag (like a BCA Float pack). Airbag technology has the potential to save your life if you do get caught in an avalanche. Obviously, avoiding the avalanche in the first place is ideal but just in case something were to go wrong, I always carry an airbag pack too.

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(Photo Credit: Dylan Crossman)

GI: Any final words of wisdom for Gear Institute Readers?

MP: Every adventure should have an element of fun, so keep it light hearted and make sure you are smiling!

Thanks McKenna!

 

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