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Volcano Voyage: Skiing the PNW’s most recognizable peaks

This Spring, skier Lucas Wachs, photographer Pete Alport, videographer Fletcher Hukari and a rotating cast of friends collectively laid tracks on 12 of Oregon and California’s most recognizable peaks.

Dubbed the “Volcano Voyage,” the light-hearted, go-with-the-flow mentality of the trip led to an abundance of good times and radical springtime footage showing what it looks like to carve and jump all over Mt. Shasta, Mt. Thielsen, Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters and more.

FREESKIER caught up with Wachs on the back-end of his journey through the Pacific Northwest to find out what it’s like venturing into the backcountry and why the lasting effects of “earning your turns” are always worth it. Stay tuned for a complete photo gallery of the project to be released next week.

I’ve always wanted to do this trip. Realizing while traveling to different places that there was still a bunch to explore around Oregon and where I grew up… I got inspired to climb more and go on longer tours, instead of riding the park all day in the spring.

We weren’t trying to have this super strict hit-list style project. There was no order to the trip… no expectations. We were able to take it easy, build jumps and hang around certain locations.

This was one of the first projects where I had enough control to carry out my vision for the edit, from start to finish.

The camaraderie on a mission like this is really fun. Getting to ski with such a random assortment of people, [including] friends I haven’t seen in a long time… the fact that you can go on these accessible missions and share in that experience is really special.

It wasn’t like a film project, where the roster is outlined beforehand. It was super loose and [all about] just enjoying the moment, not stressing about getting shots, more-so just going to see these places and enjoying what the mountains have to offer.

Every mission or adventure is going to be different. You don’t have to do crazy shit or drop mega-cliffs [to have a good time], you can just go out and do whatever with your friends. I hope to inspire people to go out in their backyards and explore what’s there. Lots of people travel to far away places to get the “experience,” but there’s also a lot to say about what’s close to home.

Some volcanoes were easy for me… while other hikes that were not as steep totally beat me down. You can’t ever let your guard down or have expectations about these kinds of missions. We hiked and skied the Three Sisters all in one day, which was about 15 hours total. It was brutal… there was no wind, it was hot and after the first one I didn’t think we’d make it. Eventually things cooled off.

It’s a really fulfilling feeling [you get] after going on a big backcountry mission. There’s so much more you have to go through: Logistics, organizing the crew, dealing with weather, having food and the proper equipment, knowing your route, which line you want to ski—there’s a lot that goes into [each trip] and when it all comes together, it’s amazingly rewarding.

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