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BY: MARCUS CASTON
PHOTOS BY: KIM HAVELL & MARCUS CASTON
Graduating college is one of the most exciting times in a young man’s life, especially when your skiing first descents in Norway instead of listening to a “you can do anything speech.” So it was a no brainer decision to pack my bags and head out to Svalbard Norway with Ice Ax Expeditions. The 10-day trip was lead by ski mountaineering goddess Kim Havell, with her goal to ski as many first descents as humanly possible. With our fearless leader and 24 hours of daylight, the only thing that could hold us back was our imagination…and legs.
The first couple days on the boat were spent being giddy and seasick. Around every corner was the coolest line or mountain I have ever seen, but we had to continue on north! The weather grew gloomy, so we decided to keep trucking until we found better conditions. We stopped a few times along the way to get off the boat and keep the legs moving, but the scenery was much better than the skiing.
After some flat light Jedi skiing on day 3-ish, we decided to check out a fjord for some rest, a beer, and a good anchor. Tired and into our crackers and caviar nobody was paying much attention until somebody mentioned it might be worth a peak out the boat. I took a glance out the window, and came face to face with our destiny. A wall of couloirs as far as the eye could see rose straight out of the water and disappeared into the hanging clouds. After serious discussion, we all knew that we had to stop here and ski the most beautiful wall of ski runs I have ever seen.
The next few days provided great skiing conditions and we fired away, up down up down and again. Because time was only a number and I’m not really good at math, we left after we skied as much as we could and were almost out of beer. Three days later I woke up in my bed in Salt Lake City wondering if it was all a dream. It was sad to leave so many couloirs un-skied, but I guess that’s all the reason to return next year.