Author: Chris Kenny
If you’re lucky enough to see one in the mountains, you’ll never forget it.
One of the rarest and most majestic creatures in the high alpine, snowy owls, or “snowies” for short, are part of the backcountry lore that influences our thinking.
Just as we look to Nature to access the material building blocks for our products, we’re inspired by what the snowy owl symbolizes for us, and see them as kindred spirits and gatekeepers of what we love and admire most about the backcountry experience.
Built for the alpine. Snowies are big and strong, yet lightweight enough to cover vast distances, while also remaining one of the most agile owls in the wild. At the core, our skis are engineered to be lightweight and maneuverable, yet built with powerful torsional stiffness when you need to lay into a turn and charge. Not quite like snatching prey during high-speed flight, but close.
Resilient. Native to the Arctic regions of North America, snowies can endure temperatures of 40 degrees below zero. We see this resilience as a metaphor for the gear we make. Gear that holds up no matter the conditions.
Self-reliant. The peaceful, solitary characteristics of this mystical owl remind us of the solitary experiences we seek in the mountains, earning our own turns with nothing but ourselves and our gear. There’s no better feeling than relying on your own power to get yourself and your close friends to the top of a remote, epic descent.
Keenly aware. Snowies have excellent eyesight and remarkable hearing, with the uncanny ability to sense their prey beneath the snow. In the backcountry, we deploy our own techniques to heighten our awareness and of the conditions, and terrain, and calculate the safest, most ideal routes to climb and attack.
Patient. The snowy owl sits high upon its perch and patiently waits before zeroing in and soaring down to pursue their prey. Spending time in the backcountry requires a deep sense of patience and discipline—enduring the climb, assessing the snowpack, refueling, and wisely choosing a line to artfully descend.
Team players. While they are the stoic solitary type (not unlike some alpinists we know!), snowy pairs usually mate for life and work together to survive and thrive. Equally, there are big risks and big rewards in the backcountry—with grueling physical challenges and tough choices to make. As we all know, skiing with an experienced, trusted partner is crucial—and creates life-long bonds.
Kindred spirits. Snowies are an auspicious omen to the backcountry explorer. Seeing these majestic creatures on backcountry tours inspires awe and evokes that feeling of being part of something greater than ourselves. For us, this owl is a reminder of the special experiences we seek in Nature, and what a gift it is to share it with them and our companions.
We hope you see a snowy on your next backcountry tour. Say hello for us.
In Wilderness We Trust,
Tread Light, Charge Hard.