Producing hardgoods that stand up to the harshest winter conditions is no easy task, but utilizing Chamonix, France, as a base camp certainly does help. Since 1963, Dynastar—its HQ situated in the shadow of Mont Blanc—has been committed to producing durable products, blazing its own trail in the mountains and encouraging others to do the same. It’s no surprise, then, that the company should look to athletes who seek out challenging adventures to serve as brand ambassadors.
￼One of those athletes, 33-year-old Forrest Coots, spent a good chunk of the 2013-14 season on the go, from the French Alps to the peaks of South America. All it takes is a quick conversation about recent travels for his stoke to bubble to the surface.
After spending the month of February skiing pow in Chamonix, Coots was keen for a new adventure and hit the road with Bozeman, MT- based photographer Jason “JT” Thompson. “We ended up going to Italy, to the Hellbrunner side of Courmayeur. There’s one little cable car that runs there. It services some of the better tree skiing in the Mont Blanc region. Later we headed to La Grave for two weeks. That place is probably the most magical ski resort in the entire world. Everyone rips—they all have this crazy energy.”
Forrest Coots with that Rooster Tail. Photo by Jason Thompson
Coots spoke of the tramway there, the Telepherique as it’s known, which rises almost 6,000 vertical feet out of the tiny town and grants access to some of the most amazing skiing on the planet. “One night, we stayed up top. There’s a refugio there. We had dinner and partied a bit,and under a full moon, we skied seven grand back to town without headlamps— just the moon and no cloud cover. You could see your shadow. It was so amazing.”
Come the month of May, Coots and JT made for Peru, where they spent four and a half weeks in the Cordillera Blanca. Their goal: climb and ski Artesonraju (19,767 feet), the peak said to be depicted in the world famous Paramount Pictures logo.
“Over the course of 20 days,” says Coots. “I think we skied three days, due in part to the approaches, acclimation periods and fickle weather.” Coots and Thompson made it to just 1,000 feet shy of Artesonraju’s summit before being forced to turn around due to incoming inclement weather. “We got to ski a portion of that face but not off the top,” Coots says.
Coots walks the tunnel. Photo by Jason Thompson
Regardless, Coots was thrilled. The approaches, the portering—for him, these things are all a part of the adventure. “I’ll have to get back down there at some point to get that last 1K,” he says. “That kind of skiing is so inspiring. Slow going up, slow, precise skiing down.”
While a return trip to Artesonraju is on Coots’ radar, he’s schemeing about other adventures, too. On the list: a web series in conjunction with Thompson, another outing to La Grave and potentially a mission to the Republic of Georgia.
All the while, he’ll be putting Dynastar, Look and Lange gear through the wringer—making sure that it can get you up and down, whatever mountain you choose.
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