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EPIC. There’s that word again! Yesterday’s two-hour bike ride, that kid’s movie from a couple years ago, your damn toast this morning, it seems like everything nowadays is being called “epic ”. The difference is we promise we really mean it this time!
This ski traverse will be f****ing hard. Over 2300 km and six months through BC’s Coast Range over the largest temperate-latitude icecaps in the world. In the middle of winter. There will be storms. Crazy biblical mountain tempests like you saw in documentaries about Everest as a kid. Our packs will be way too heavy. There will be crevasses, avalanches, sketchy river crossings and bushwhacking through devil’s club and hawthorn when the snowpack gets too low. There will be an almost incomprehensible amount of mountain terrain between Squamish B.C and our goal in Skagway A.K.
Born in the Czech Republic in 1956 and growing up under the Russian communist occupation Tania found respite from the oppression in the outdoors; rock climbing iconic Czech sandstone towers, competing at the national level nordic skiing, trail running and kayaking. She dreamed of joining what was then Czechoslovakia’s Mountain Rescue Service the Horska Sluzba. She was unfortunately a couple decades ahead of her time as they refused to accept women into the service at that time. Together with my father, and 2 months pregnant with my sister Katerina, they hatched a daring escape by foot from behind the Russian communist controlled Iron Curtain. Their plan worked, (although the hair raising adversity they encountered along the way is a story in itself), and they were able to start a new and unoppressed life and family in the free democratic country of Switzerland. Two years later they came to British Columbia and never looked back. Now after 28 years in Canada; after years ski patrolling, avalanche forecasting, and paramedic work, training 3 avalanche rescue dogs and raising two daughters, she is ready for her biggest challenge yet. A lifetime of skiing, canoeing, mountaineering, rock climbing, mountain biking and all-round adventuring in the mountains has worked to steer her to this first step across the Coast Mountains.
My childhood summers were spent in a canoe and winters were on skis. There was a generous amount of rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and general adventuring sprinkled in as well. My winters since I finished high school have continued to be pretty snowy: Ski patrolling for 5 different ski hills over two continents, guiding Catskiing out of Fernie BC, and working as an avalanche field technician for Avalanche Canada where I first discovered the many joys of snowmobiling. The rest of the year I spend trying to rock climb as much as possible around the world while working with Raven Eye Photography for the last 5 years. Sometimes I even get to combine the two! To my constant amusement, my biggest claim to fame to date is being the girl climbing the overhang on the ketchup flavoured Hardbite chip bag!
We are being realistic. This experience will bring out the best and worst in us. We will fight some personal demons. We are up against some incredible elements and logistics; there is just no way we can spend an entire winter traversing the Coast Mountains without suffering. It will be a wickedly hard challenge, but it will also be stunningly beautiful, fun, and absolutely worth it.