Category Archives: Backcountry Skiing

Just Like That!

Everyone says your kids childhood will go by fast. It has, but fast is inevitable when your birthday is in months. But amazingly, I looked at the date today and realized I’m only 37 days away from my breastfeeding goal of 1 year. WOW!

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These guys are just over a week away from 11 months old!

I’m very goal-oriented. I used to keep track of all my ski days with my goal being to ski at least 100 days a year for 5 years. When I accomplished that, I got a bit more lax about my records and, during my 7th season in Tahoe, Scout ate a few seasons of my ski journal and I just stopped keeping track. I only skied 11 days last year due to the triplet pregnancy… but rebranding myself as a skier mom made me curious about how parenthood impacts my days on the hill. This season, I’ve adopted the motto “quality over quantity.” A lot of long time skiers or ski professionals have this motto. In the past, I was sure I wasn’t a good enough skier to be selective about the days I skied. I needed 10,000 hours to master this sport and was far from it having grown up in the flat lands! There’s no time to relentlessly improve my skiing, only time to have fun in the mountains and, if I think about it, it is still a luxury I’m fortunate to have.

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Yeah, I’m thinking this will be a high quality run.

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Another one of the quality days I had this year. Photo by Matt Bansak

Thanks to the Vail Resort Epic Mix app, I was able to figure out how many resort days I had this year: 32 days split between Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Breckenridge. Next up, I had to figure out my backcountry days – I went through my phone and had usually taken a photo so I noted all these dates. Then I tried to rack my baby brain for when I had not taken photos – too cold, windy, alone, etc – I counted 13 backcountry days. So 45 ski days this year as a mom of infant triplets – not too shabby! Of course, I couldn’t have done this without my amazing husband, my own mom, my in laws, my forever Swedish friend, and our new au pair! It takes a village – and I’m not talking about a cookie cutter ski village!

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New years day and some of the best turns I’ve ever had!

Who knows, maybe I’ll get 100 ski days in this year!

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When your kids spend Christmas at the ski resort, you could say you’re pretty dedicated to skiing!

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Outdoor lovers already, next up walking, then skiing!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Skiing, Tahoe, Triplets

Trials and Trip-ulations of a Skier Mom

Winter has arrived early in Lake Tahoe this year. After 4 consecutive years of sub-par winters, the early snow is a welcome gift. After taking last year off, I’m excited to ski, but knowing I’m also busier than I’ve ever been and so I feel a need to make ski days “count.” This is a somewhat dangerous way to think if you’re traveling in the backcountry, so it’s required me to shift my attitude, avoid social media a bit, and revel in the journey. Here are a few lessons from the 5 days I’ve been skiing so far this winter…

1. I have to be efficient. I often pump on the way to and from skiing. I’m pretty sure a Sierra at Tahoe employee caught a glimpse of my milk makers while changing into my pumping bra after skiing a few runs up there early season. Solution: wear pumping bra under sports bra to avoid embarrassing encounters!

Early season turns at Sierra


2. Pumping en route to a backcountry ski, I decided to forgo bringing a coolor and simply buried my pumping parts in the snow near my truck. As I skied back to the truck, I noticed ravens circling above. I panicked – they had the ziploc bag my pumping parts and milk was in. Where was everything!?!? AHHHH! I literally started yelling! I hurried over to the bury location and, sure enough, nothing was there. My friend had picked up the scattered parts, but there was one missing. I looked around in despair, but spotted 2 of the 3 birds perched on a tree just a few hundred feet away. I waded through the thigh deep snow and saw a little pock mark in the snow. I reached down and pulled out the missing part! WOW! Solution: Bring a cooler, even birds love breast milk!

Great ski partners also help you find your pumping parts!


3. When, it’s cold, it’s COLD. Left my pump in the car and had to hook it back up after a few hours of skiing in the cold. Solution: be tough, which you already are if you’re a mom.

4. Messing up has bigger consequences. I was skiing around at Kirkwood when I swiped a tree. I heard a jingle. I stopped and checked my pocket. It was ripped and the keys had fallen out. STAY CALM. I have nerves of steel thanks to the multiple times I’ve had to accomplish things with 3 babies crying. My eyes darted, I saw a dark spot right behind me in the snow. The keys. Phew. My babies would not be going hungry. Solution: practice makes perfect… stay calm.

A father of 2 making his ski days count! After sampling this powder, a pushed it a bit and almost lost my keys!


5. Weighing 205 lbs in March 2015 had a way of keeping my legs strong. I’ve lost all the weight, but exercising twice a week since then has made the impact of early season skiing a lot harder! I’m sore! Solution: I only really have 2 or 3 hrs to ski anyway, so ha, but maybe I’ll pull out my alpine set up a few more times this year!

Working out the early season kinks


6. MOM GUILT. This is unavoidable, but I’m such a happier person after skiing and I know the triplets see this when I come home and dive right into hanging out with them. Solution: Go skiing!

Excessively hard to leave these future skiers but one day I won’t be able to keep up!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Random rambling, Skiing, Tahoe, Triplets

First Public Slideshow on Shifting Ice and Changing Tides!

A week from today, I’ll be giving the first public slide show on the Shifting Ice and Changing Tides expedition from last April. In case you haven’t been an avid reader of this blog, the show will cover the expedition of an all-female team via sailboat to ski first descents in Iceland and Greenland! I was a member of the team and worked on the project for over a year before setting sail last April! The trip was amazing and I hope to bring you along with the slide show!

Just a teaser to get you excited! See more amazing photos like these next Friday!

Details:

Date: Friday, January 9th, 2015

Time: 7pm

Location: Tahoe Art Haus and Cinema, Tahoe City, CA

Cost: FREE!

More info here! 

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Introducing the Tahoe Triplets

One of the reasons I have not been regularly blogging is because I found out in early September that I was pregnant with triplets and it has been a bit overwhelming. We went through many of the stages of grief I guess – not because we were sad, just because it was quite shocking news to receive. While we were trying to have a baby, we weren’t trying to have 3 at once! After the news was broken to us at the 10 week ultrasound, I mourned the loss of skiing through my 7th month of pregnancy and really, just being a normal pregnant person! We’ve totally accepted the triplets now and are even excited (terrified, but excited!). It is quite a unique and special thing to have “spontaneous triplets.” Look that up if you feel the need to ask “are they natural?” It’s like being part of a special club? I think! Anyway, because I miss the old days of adventuring, I thought I’d make a list of all the cool things the triplets have done in utero:

1st Trimester

  • Rode Mr. Toads Wild Ride, Van Sickle, and the Bench
  • Downhill mountain biking at Northstar

I opted not to hit this jump at Northstar, but this girl styled it! I started practicing turning down unnecessary risk pretty early since that has never been easy for me!

  • 3rd Place at the 4th Annual Angora Lakes Triathlon

The start of this years Angora Lakes Triathlon

  • A lot of sailing on Lake Tahoe
  • Learned to be a pretty good waterskier!

I got to waterski about 8 times this summer/fall and really started to improve!

  • Wakesurfed

Surfing Lake Tahoe is always fun!

  • Whitewater kayaked a few Class 3 runs

This is my pal Amanda hitting up Hospital Bar on the South Fork American… I had hit the same line 30 seconds earlier.

  • Rode the Downieville Downhill

Riding the technical section of the Downieville Downhill the day before I found out about the triplets.

  • 3 day backpacking trip in the Hoover Wilderness

2nd Trimester

  • Ran 4 miles in the Chicago Marathon

I’m all smiles here, but a few hours later I realized I wouldn’t be running a lot during this pregnancy!

  • Surfed in Santa Cruz

Surfing at the hook on a mellow wave day. Best part was the sea otters swimming nearby!

  • Sailed in the SF Bay

Rachael Burks and I sailing in the San Francisco Bay. Photo by my buddy Greg Marsden!

  • Road bike ride in the Oakland Hills
  • Skied at Mammoth, Heavenly, and Kirkwood (7 resort days)

We hit Mammoth on opening day so I could ski as early in the pregnancy as possible! My jacket still fits in this photo!

  • Backcountry skis at Carson Pass and Echo Lakes
  • Swam a lot of yards – still doing this!
  • Mountain biked Corral loop, Tahoe Mountain, and Powerlines

Evening ride with preggo partner in crime Nira on Tahoe Mountain.

I still have a few weeks till my 3rd trimester as technically I’m 25 weeks pregnant, but things happen a lot faster with triplets. They say add anywhere from 10-14 weeks so if that is true, I look and feel like someone due in about a week! The goal is to make it as close to 36 weeks as possible. Most pregnancies are 40 weeks. I’m slowing down quite a bit and walking and swimming seem to feel the best at this point. But at this point, the triplets have been exposed to quite the variety of outdoor sports and should be pretty well rounded athletes! I’ve been debating whether or not to start a triplet specific blog or just momentarily cover this journey here. I think the most interesting thing will be the comeback so I’m leaning towards business as usual on meghankellyteles.com. If you have an opinion, let me know!

This is me just 10 days ago and just under 24 weeks along. Yep, super pregnant!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Biking, Random rambling, Sailing, Skiing, Tahoe, Whitewater

Check, Check, Chhh…..

A few new goals have been checked off and a few haven’t even been started. Let’s start by reflecting on the good news!

Goal #1: Race in an Enduro Race. I did this! This past Saturday I participated in the Battle Born Enduro Race in Reno and placed 3rd overall in Women’s Sport. I was terrified heading into this race. I don’t have a dropper post. I didn’t understand the format. But, once I started riding all this went away and the race was kind of like riding with 400 friends. It started with an 8 mile climb which I was happy to get out of the way having climbed Mt. Shasta the previous day. I nonchalantly waited in line for stage 1 once I reached the top. I told the guy I was about to shred the course and then took off when they said “go” 30 seconds after the nice kid in front of me. 15 seconds into the ride I crashed… hard! Like the kind of crash that happens so fast that you didn’t know you were crashing until you sat up with broken sunglasses, a jacked up bike, and blood dripping from your knees and elbows. Stunned, I spit out some dirt and started riding trying to keep space between me and the competitor behind me. Yep, not a great way to start a race and I’m pretty sure it affected my mindset the rest of the day as I thought “do not crash” on the next 3 stages. Anyway, I learned to let more air out of my tires and wear my fricking knee pads! I’m also toying with the idea of signing up for another race, mostly because I’m feeling competitive and want to do better! Here is a write up on the race and the results.

Front and center at the start of the race for this photo!

A shot I found on the web before my crash. Looking reasonably strong 10 seconds into the race :)

Looking reasonably strong 10 seconds into the race. 5 seconds from now, those sunglasses would be toast!


Goal #2: Ski a new volcano. I did this just 2 days before racing the Battle Born Enduro. Wednesday afternoon, I left work, bee lined to Bend accompanied by my friend and fellow Nature’s Bakery Ambassador Will and met up with my friend Ashley to ski the South Sister. We got a leisurely start on Thursday around 8 AM from the North Cascade Hwy. Will and I were amazed at how much snow was still present at just over 5,000′. We knocked out the 5,000+ foot climb on beautiful warm and windless day and found ourselves at the summit around 1 PM. We had scoped a smooth chute on the way up and took off towards it skiing perfectly smooth corn for over 2,500′. That put huge smiles on all of our faces. This was my 99th day of skiing in the 2013-14 season… I had skied 100 days a year since 2008-09 and was eager to keep it going! Shasta would be next! So prior to racing my mountain bike on Saturday, I’d hike and ski over 12,000 vertical feet. Sure enough, I was exhausted Saturday morning, but I raced my bike and also sailed on Lake Tahoe. I can rest in my office chair on Monday.

Ashley on the way up with Mt. Bachelor in the background

We skied a chute you can’t really see here but Ashley is stoked anyway!

Here’s a little video clip of the perfect corn we found on the South Sister.


The next day, we’re were up early to climb Mt. Shasta (photo by Tim)


On my way down a super smooth section of the Wintun glacier on Shasta


Tim finds some great California corn!


Will B ready to take those snow fingers as far as they’ll go.

So goals are getting checked off, but I still have quite a few to go. Setting and achieving goals, however arbitrary they are, is incredibly satisfying. However, failing or knowing when to hold back is a valuable lesson we are taught many times in the mountains and only by making an attempt do we continue to be students of life. June is rad so far, but I better get to the pool tonight if I want to have a chance at this Teton Picnic thing!

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We made it!

The Shifting Ice and Changing Tides crew is home safe after a very successful expedition to Iceland and Greenland. I cannot thank everyone enough for their support. It sure helped pull us through the tough days and make us extremely grateful for the great days!

The crew in Nuuk after a successful journey!

Special thanks to my newest sponsor Moonlight Skis for providing me the most lightweight setup that still performed well in a huge variety of conditions! Check them out!

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Halfway There!

We’ll be watching for these in 2 hour shifts!

Despite support from our sponsors. partners and awarded grants we are still a short of fully funding our expedition. Instead of giving up, we decided to launch an independent crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo, which allows the online public to fund projects that they are interested in.

We believe that our expedition is worth funding- We want to showcase that with hard work and determination,a team of women can pursue a dream toward success. We want to encourage everyone else to do this! We want to grow our knowledge base about the climate, oceans, and glaciers and share our experiences with the public. We don’t have one sponsor that unites us, just a single mission, and we hope you will help us by giving what you can.

Last night we tipped our online fundraiser for $20,000 over the halfway mark. We have $10,000 left to raise and we need your help! Watch our campaign movie, donate if you can and most importantly, please help us share this project online!

Thanks for your support from the whole Shifting Ice team!

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Filed under Backcountry Skiing, Fundraising, Sailing, Travel