The Guides Corner- Winslow Passey

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-Guiding experience?

I’ve guided full-time for nine years. I mostly lead mountaineering expeditions, backcountry ski tours, and teach avalanche courses. It’s been an amazing ride that’s taking me to most of the Western States, Nepal, France, Switzerland, Mongolia, Chile, Argentina, Antarctica, and Alaska. One of the best perks about the job is that the nature of my work changes with each changing season. Of all the places I’ve been, my home Salt Lake is my favorite destination. Here, I can ski the world’s best powder on any given morning and in the afternoon climb on any of hundreds of quality rock routes, all only a 15 minutes drive away!

-Favorite Backcountry Tour- Utah and beyond?
I like climbing the southwest ridge of Superior which is a fun alpine adventure with crampons and an ice axe, and then skiing down the stunning south face. For a brilliant multiday tour, I love the Haute Route which is a week long ski tour from Chamonix to Zermatt in Europe staying in huts that are gracefully perched on ridges in the the Alps.

-What’s in your backpack- gear, food etc.?

My avalanche gear includes a beacon, shovel, probe, thermometer, and rutschblock cord to cut cornices. In addition, I take 1-2 L of water; bars, fruit and nuts for energy, extra gloves, and a Patagonia micropuff jacket. I also carry a small med kit, a repair kit, and a rescue tarp (for building an emergency shelter). Of course, I have my phone, gps, compass, map, and my brain on board as well.

– Biggest Issues facing BC Skiing and Skiers?

There is a proposition to put in a lift up Flagstaff peak just across from Alta where there is a private strip of land. This is a popular and coveted backcountry outing, and it could be a big bummer as it would fundamentally change some of the best backcountry in the Wasatch.

-Unique experience or interesting guiding story?
While ski vacationing in Switzerland many years ago, I faced one of the most difficult moments of my life. Wedged deep in a crevasse, death seemed imminent. My husband had fallen into the crevasse, first, while skiing down. Attempting the rescue I fell in as well. Miraculously, someone down the valley had seen our accident and four hours later help came our way. I have taken much from this experience including safer decision making, and a deeper appreciation for every moment I’m given.
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-What do you do for fun/ fitness in the offseason?

I ski, climb, and do yoga. Most my vacations are mountaineering adventures of some sorts, and I always do yoga which plays a big role in healing and avoiding injury for me. In the winter, when I have days off, I go for a big long ski tour in the Wasatch with my friends.

-Favorite post ski tour indulgence?

Hot tub! I wish I had one in my backyard. Locals can get into the Cliff spa at Snowbird for $10 where they have an outdoor hottub and swimming pool, a sauna, and a steamroom.

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