Do you know our Pros? Meet Lel Tone -One of the Worlds Top 10 Guides, Elite Level Paddleboarder, Professional Avalanche Forecaster and Billy Poole Ski with the Pros Weekend Supporter!
Lel Tone- how does one begin to describe one of the most accomplished individuals in the ski community? We are beyond excited that Lel will join us as Ski Discovery this weekend.
When it comes to skiing, fitness, reality TV competitions—or just life in general—Lel Tone earns the highest marks in every discipline. She started skiing as a child in the Alps, then left Switzerland for the U.S. when she was ten. She began ski racing while in college in Vermont, and later migrated to Lake Tahoe, a place she now calls home between guiding gigs, fitness missions, and televised tests of wilderness endurance.
Check out Lel and Lysey Dyer shred some powder in Kashmir:
From Lel: “Skiing seems to be the thread that has held my whole adult life together. I find it intriguing that the little moment, at the age of two, that my mom and dad helped me put on these little plastic skis that they bought at the grocery store in Switzerland would be such a defining moment for the path my life would ultimately take.
I met my husband Tom, ski racing in college. We were on the same team and co-captained our senior year there. It is skiing that has played a central theme in my professional career choices.“
During the winter, Lel throws bombs as an avalanche forecaster for Squaw Valley Ski Patrol, and navigates steep, complicated terrain as a lead guide in Alaska with Chugach Powder Guides and for Tordrillo Mountain Lodge.
As a child growing up in Switzerland, the mountains, always present, majestic and near, always around made Lel feel at home. “As I’ve grown and changed over the course of my life they have taken on different meanings for me. They are a place devoid of judgment, they are a place of solitude and beauty, they are a place to push yourself and your limits, they allow me to just BE in the moment to see my life for the gift and miracle that it is. More recently the mountains have been a place that I can learn from and help teach others about. I hope they will never stop being an inspiration to me. “
She was named one of the World’s Top Ten Guides by Outside Magazine in 2014 and the Best Outdoor Guide by Sunset Magazine in 2015. Lel holds Level 3 avalanche certifications and is a licensed blaster in California. She is also an instructor with the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) and the National Ski Patrol, as well as a certified EMT.
In the summers, she holds her own as an elite-level paddleboarder for Tahoe SUP and Teva. A multi-sport, multi-season athlete, Tone has competed in freeskiing competitions and professional mountain-bike races. In 2015, Tone harnessed this competitive streak as a member of the winning Endurance team on National Geographic Channel’s Ultimate Survival Alaska.
“The most important thing to remember when in the mountains is humility. Mother Nature calls all the shots. Period. The mountains don’t care about your goals, your agenda, and your ego. We must be prepared, be smart, try to make sound decisions and be ready when the timing is right and the mountains allow us to do what we desire.”
While researching Lel, I was struck by her quote on FB :
“The greatest thing I learned in my 8th grade Latin class was “Carpe Diem”, to “Seize the Day”….It is a small concise phrase that has had a tremendous effect on my life. It reminds me every day to appreciate every moment we have on this amazing planet. To make every precious second count. I see this most clearly when I am spending time in the mountains, It is what has motivated me to find a way to live, work and play in them. I feel so fortunate to have a job that allows me to share that joy, that appreciation… that time in the mountains with other people.”
Do you know our Pros? Meet Katie Hitchcock – Shredder, Univ of Colorado Freestyle Team alum, and avid supporter of Billy Poole Ski with the Pros Weekend!
If you’re lucky enough to ride up the chairlift with Katie, she’ll probably feel like your best friend by the time you get off the lift. Katie is a from Steamboat, Colorado, but has relocated to the Salt Lake City area and is loving life at Alta & Snowbird. Katie has been a ski instructor at Alta Ski Area between freeride competitions. While at Univ of Colorado, Boulder, Katie was a member of their Free Style Ski Team. While earning points on the team, Katie also slayed her school work and graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies and a minor in both Italian and Business. Quite impressive!
“The Wasatch range is an incredibly special place to me now. Alta Ski Area has pretty much become my home even though I technically live down valley. It’s wonderful to be able ski up at Park City, Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons all within 30 minutes of where I live. The backcountry access is also outstanding and I deeply hope that land stays public!”
Katie may be one of the fastest skiers on the mountain, but she is also the type who won’t leave you in the dust. “The people who end up skiing the Wasatch mountains are some of the best I’ve come across and I’m so happy and grateful to be among them now!
Regardless of what niche of skiing/boarding, every person who is part of this community is so passionate and genuine. Of course being outside, staying active, and being able to travel is awesome as well but the people are what pull it all together regardless of what state or even country you’re in.
Do you know our Pros? Meet Maggie Goertzen – Billy Poole Ski with the Pros Alumni, Pro Skier for Dynastar, and Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering Mastermind!!
When your last name starts with the word “GO” you know you are destined to go big places. Maggie is showing us how it’s done. Not only a gnarly skier in her own right, but a ground breaking mechanical and aerospace engineer by trade and training. Maggie has been an avid supporter of the Billy Poole Foundation and we could not be prouder of her and her accomplishments so far. We have a feeling she has just begun the “GO” part of her career and we cannot wait to see where it takes her!
Maggie grew up skiing, climbing and mountain biking in Montana. She relocated to the Salt Lake City area to pursue her mechanical engineering degree at The University of Utah, while also exploring the rugged terrain of this beautiful area. With Alta and Snowbird right up the canyon, the fun (and learning) was just beginning. Along with her skiing and biking skills, her engineering interest and innate talent became obvious. University of Utah’s Mechanical Engineering Program is one of the top engineering programs in the world. Excelling there is no small feat.
Watch Maggie shredding the fluff at Snowbird this past week:
She began to seek out research opportunities that would let her explore a variety of mechanical engineering emphases. Under the supervision of mechanical engineering assistant professor Amanda Smith and funding by UROP (undergraduate research opportunities program at the Univ of Utah), Maggie conducted an analysis of energy usage in high performance buildings. She then went on to work collaboratively, as a design engineer, in the chemical engineering department with assistant professor Swomitra Mohanty.
In Dr. Mohanty’s lab she learned the significance of working with other engineering disciplines to solve complex problems. While thoroughly enjoyed her experiences in both laboratories, they were not a perfect fit for her interests. Maggie found her research calling in the Nanotribology and Precision Engineering Lab, led by mechanical engineering associate professor Bart Raeymaekers.
Maggies’s research focuses on additive manufacturing of low-density multi-functional materials with tailored properties. The problem addressed in her research is integrating stereolithography additive manufacturing with ultrasound directed self-assembly, to organize (nano)particles dispersed in a liquid polymer into user-defined patterns. Ultrasound directed self-assembly employs standing pressure waves to drive (nano)particles dispersed in a fluid medium into user-defined patterns. This is groundbreaking and critical research. According to Maggie’s advisor, “this research, if successful, will create a new manufacturing process that enables fabricating materials with a user-specified microstructure in a layer-by-layer fashion.”
Maggies dedication and enthusiasm paid off and Maggie was selected as a 2017 Brook Owens Fellow. https://mech.utah.edu/maggie-goertzen-fellow/
Created to honor the legacy of a beloved space industry pioneer and accomplished pilot, Dawn Brooke Owens (1980 – 2016), the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program is designed to serve both as an inspiration and as a career boost to capable young women who aspire to explore our sky and stars, to shake up the aerospace industry, and to help their fellow men and women here on planet Earth. They do this by matching thirty-six extraordinary women per year with purpose-driven, paid internships at leading aviation and space companies and organizations and with senior and executive level mentors. http://www.brookeowensfellowship.org/
So, while she crushes it on the slopes, she is also crushing it in engineering research lab at the same time.
Bravo my friend! You are an inspiration to all of us!!
We cannot wait to see you this coming weekend at Ski Discovery and the 2018 Billy Poole Ski with the Pros Weekend.
*I am not sure about the rest of you, but I ordered a few books to brush up on my knowledge of her field of study. Goal number 1, learn to pronounce “nanotribology” correctly. *
Do you know our Pros? Meet Re Wiksrom – Professional Catcher of Magical Moments, Stealth Demolisher of Stereotypes, Professional Photographer, Managing Editor of Photography for Backcountry.com, & Diehard Billy Poole Ski with the Pros Supporter!!
(Authored by Rachael Burks)
The World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler, BC, celebrates the newest, most talented, and most dedicated innovators, athletes, and individuals in the ski industry. The Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown is among the most highly anticipated events of the festival, with only 6 coveted final spots for pro photographers to show off the enviable world they see through their lenses.
Re Wikstrom was the first female finalist ever in the showdown, selected via the anonymous submission process from among the almost 50 hopeful entries, including the most well-established names in the business.
Re created a mind-blowing presentation and slide show. . .but what the audience may not of known, was that all of her images were of females athletes.
It was Re’s high school photography teacher that convinced her to pursuer photography. She pursued a BFA in Photography and Visual Media from RIT where her last year she interned at Powder magazine. It was there after hours spent in direct contact with actual Ski Photographers that Re had the realization that she too could potentially do this. Re moved to Salt Lake City to do the unthinkable: pursue a career in Ski Photography.
It was her young-self’s first subscription to Powder magazine (at 12 years old) that made her think to herself: “Wow, that would be a really cool job…” fast forward a decade; Re’s done with her BFA, has an internship with Powder Magazine in her pocket, and she’s moving to one of the snowiest and most picturesque states in North America.
Re landed a job with Backcountry.com pretty much right off the bat in SLC and has been with the company for over a decade now. Re is the Managing Editor of Photography. So, basically, if you’ve ever been on backcountry.com and thought: “Ooooo, gorgeous photo…” There’s a really, really, really good chance its her photo.
Re has traveled the world: rafted rivers, ski-toured in the arctic, mountain-biked in Canada, and recently made it home to Sweden to visit her ancestral roots…
Re has been planning on attending the 2018 Billy Poole Foundation’s Ski With A Pro Weekend for so long that she blocked her calendar this past summer to make sure she would not miss it.! We are infinitely lucky to have Re attend this year.
When we look back at the evolution of the ski industry and the media that maintains it. . . a real innovator comes to the forefront – a professional photographer whose made a reality out of a dream while also choosing to focus only on women in skiing. There is not one other photographer in the world that has chosen to do the same thing.
Re believes in the effective communication of photography. Her theory does not consist of “rah rah, in your face girl power.” She conveys something strong, silent, personal, down-to-earth, raw, beautiful, and encouraging.
Her leadership is in the capture of a sentiment… she captures reality and in-turn those who have seen her work have a very magical and personal relationship with her images… she encourages everyone to push past their limits and live beyond what social norms dictate.
You meet her, you get it. She’s a special one. We are very lucky to have her. Thank you for joining the 2018 Billy Poole Foundation Ski with the Pro’s Weekend. Re, we cannot wait to see you!
PS… Check out Re’s photo of Rachael Burks First Back Flip of a Cliff!
Meet Cody Barnhill – Pro skier, Musician, Actor & Alternative Energy Guru, dear friend of Billy Poole and avid Ski with the Pros Supporter!
Websters Dictionary defines “Renaissance Man” as follows: a person who has wide interest and is expert in several areas. This term personifies Cody Barnhill. From skiing, to alternative energy, to music and even acting, Cody excel in all.
Born in Anchorage Alaska, Cody has always had an affinity for big mountains, deep snow and building things. Cody grew up off the grid about 10 miles southeast of Anchorage on Flat Top Mountain. The proximity of his childhood home to the Chugach National Forest provided a 495,00 acre playground for Cody and his family. Cody’s mad skiing skills drew the attention of major movie companies like Teton Gravity Research, Levitation Project and Sherpas Cinema. Known for following his own passions rather than the ski film star path, Cody’s career has continually evolved since he moved to Alta, Utah, from his native Alaska at 21.
At Alta, Cody joined up with the likes of Billy Poole, Julian Carr, Will Wissman, Adam Clark, Rachael Burks and similar kindred spirits. Together they pushed each other and played in the Wasatch for many years. Cody is a close friend of Billy Poole. They were roommates while at Alta. We can only imagine the shenanigans that took place in that house. Cody has been to almost every single Ski With A Pro event and has continually inspired us with his mind-blowing skiing abilities.
Music is a key part of Cody’s entire life. His parents were big fans of The Grateful Dead and always had music playing at home. Cody is a member of the Ketchum, ID based band The Sheep Bridge Jumpers where he contributes his voice as well as his bass and mandolin skills. Check out The Sheep Bridge Jumpers at on Facebook.
Dipping his toe in acting, Cody starred in Sweetgrass Productions’ award-winning 2014 film, “Valhalla“. Blending world class ski and snowboard action with a ground breaking style and structure, Valhalla follows one man’s escape into the Northern woods, and his wild journey toward satisfaction, understanding, and love in the deepest snow on earth. “There were a lot of reasons we chose Cody, beyond the fact that he’s a ripping skier,” said Sweetgrass producer Nick Waggoner. “He’s got a certain creative intelligence, gravitating toward artistic projects and conversation about ideas that go beyond skiing. He’s not just a skier — we knew he had the mind for the nuance of what we were doing and wanted to film with ‘Valhalla.'” *Please note, Valhalla is geared for adult audiences*
When not skiing, making music or acting, Cody’s interest in engineering and alternative energy is evident. According to Cody’s dad, he has always been able to work diverse materials to make them do what he needs them to do. “He MacGyvers everything himself. That’s my boy.”
“MacGyvering” seems to have been just as much of a guiding force in Cody’s life as skiing has been. From solar panel installation to good old-fashioned construction, motorcycle mechanic work, bicycle building, and even renovating alpine touring bindings to make them more lightweight for hiking and more efficient for aggressive backcountry skiing, it really seems like there’s nothing he can’t do. Even with his mechanical engineering smarts, it is his interest in understanding how off-grid living and alternative energy can improve, and become accessible to people in every income bracket, that has directed his career lately.
What’s super impressive about Cody and his goals (he is pursuing his degree and career in Energy Systems Engineering) is his economic and environmental approach to this ongoing project. Solar panels and wind turbines are cost-prohibitive for many alternative energy enthusiasts. Furthermore, the world is too beautiful a place, the rivers too wild, and the mountains too great to be compromised for energy’s sake.
“I want to figure out the simplest way to harness the energy that is constantly moving around us—from that, I want to create a simple machine that will allow any individual to generate power in their own space.”
Do you know our Pros? Meet Claire Smallwood -Epic Skier, Co Founder and Executive Director of SheJumps *PLUS* a Private Chef…
The Billy Poole Foundation is thrilled to welcome the one and only Claire Smallwood to Ski with the Pros Weekend this year! Claire is not only a legendary skier, but she is also a demigod in the field of women’s empowerment.
Claire is a brilliant business woman who can not only speak four languages (yes! 4!), ski like a superhero, create and conduct amazing outdoor skills programs for women of all ages, but also bring to life amazing culinary delights as a private chef.
Claire, Lynsey Dyer, and Vanessa Pierce founded SheJumps (501c3) in 2007 with a vision to rally all the phenomenal women of the outdoor sports world to create a network – and environment -designed to provide opportunities for women that may not have the ability to build their outdoor skill set on their own. That discussion over coffee has since morphed into a 51-person team, including 45 volunteers around the country, working to introduce women and under-served kids to skiing and other sports.
“What inspires me about my work with SheJumps is the chance to create opportunities for women and children who would normally have none, and to plant the idea that it is possible to live an adventurous and inspiring lifestyle, no matter who you are or where you come from.”
Part of the allure of the outdoors is the mutual admiration and respect outdoor enthusiasts have for the call of the wild. Claire understands both the intoxicating aspects of Mother Nature, as well as its unpredictable. crazy whims. SheJumps programs are designed to instill both the love of the grandeur and the critical respect that nature demands. Life skills are taught in all SheJumps programs which prepare people for the crazy twists & turns life will throw your way – indoors and outdoors.
Through both SheJumps and her own ridiculously fun self, Claire embraces the outdoor community, shares it with all she meets and clearly serves as one of its revered ambassadors.
Wise words from Claire –
“Don’t be so scared. I wish that I’d gotten more encouragement to say, ‘It’s OK to do this and fail.'”
So when not running SheJumps, Claire has another passion – creating delicious meals. There is nothing better than bringing people together with food. Sharing stories after a great adventure with great people while enjoying a meal is a highlight all its own.
There’s a lot to be learned from making desserts:
Combining sugar, butter, and flour teaches you the tenets of a good life: “Stay organized, put some love into it, dream big, have fun, and don’t forget to clean up your mess.”
Thank you again for joining us for the 2017
Billy Poole Ski with a Pro event at Ski Discovery!!
Meet Parker Cook- Pro Skier turned Pro Furniture Fabricator and Designer and forever supporter of the Billy Poole Foundation!
Meet Parker Cook. Salt Lake City born and raised this man has been the life of every party since he was 2. Parker learned how to ski with his pops Jeff and mama Linda. . .You meet them and you realize how Parker grew up to be the raddest human ever!
Parker’s history as a Pro skier actually hinges our dearest Billy Poole believe- it -or -not. Parker was badgering Billy for some free skis and Billy told him to get them himself, “Parker, you’re good enough- go get some sponsors” … and … he did:
Parker pursued professional skiing for a while and in turn got to travel the world for years with his SLC based shred posse: Julian Carr, Rachael Burks, Ben Wheeler, Will Wissman, et al.
Parker has been published in several different ski magazines and has been a part of many beautiful award-winning ski edits:
Watch Parker, Rachael & Julian have some serious fun in Chile:
After traveling the world and getting to ski dream locations Parker met his dream girl and fellow ripping skier: Kate Nebeker (who also participates in the Ski With A Pro Weekend) Kate and Parker reside in SLC and had a little girl who they named Piper.
Parker was smart enough early on to realize that while skiing was the coolest thing ever, it probably wouldn’t be the thing to sustain an income in the 10-year plan. . . So, he combined skill sets from his mother: an interior designer and his father: can build anything in the world… and started his own furniture business.
It’s called Parker Cook Design and can be found on facebook and also Instagram. PCD has expanded twice and now employs many local builders, welders, fellow shredders, and designers. His furniture is absolutely stunning. . .
Parker is next-level in everything he does: He’s a next-level shredder, a next-level family man, a next-level participant in the Billy Poole Foundation, and TRULY a next-level human. His thoughtfulness, stoke, and unparalleled enthusiasm make up a huge part of the soul of our foundation.
We are so thankful that the Cook family participates in the Ski With A Pro Weekend. . . Thanks guys- can’t wait to see you all!!
Meet Galen Bridgewater – Banked Slalom & Freeride Competitor, Pro Snowboarder & Billy Poole Ski with the Pros Regular!
Galen Bridgewater, simply put, inspires smiles and happiness! A regular at the Billy Poole Foundation’s Ski with the Pros Weekend, and vehement enthusiast working to empower today’s youth, Galen immediately wins the hearts of everyone she meets. Her love of the sport and unbridled excitement is clear as she boards with our kids and mentors. She innately encourages everyone to up their game. (This is partially due to the fact that she’s the fastest snowboarder out there) From first time riders, to those who have boarded for years, Galen inspires everyone to challenge themselves and go for just that little bit more.
Galen is wildly in love with the art of snowboarding. She splits her time between the beautiful and wild states of Montana and Alaska, and exudes a work hard to play hard ethic. As a child her parents moved her cross country twice a year to follow their dreams of being ski professionals, immersed her in the mountain life and taught her all the lessons that come with it. As she grew her focus on ski racing and big mountain skiing shifted to snowboarding. Now, Galen’s focus and riding are sharper than ever.
After numerous podium finishes from Freeride World Qualifiers and the banked slalom scene, Galen has set her sights on a new stage, the MT/AK backcountry and developing youth snowboard programs.
“I love snowboarding, for me, it is like a dance. Every time I strap in there’s a new song playing and so many beautiful ways to interpret and ride down these magnificent mountains. I would like to share this passion (as it was shared with me) to more kids in need. Eventually, I would like to develop some wilderness snowboarding therapy for the underprivileged kids here in my community.”
We cannot wait to see Galen and dance with her at our event on February 3 & 4th.