Editor's Note: With the Arc'Teryx Backcountry Academy going down this weekend in Jackson, Wyoming, we're taking a look at some of our favorite stories of the past few years related to backcountry skiing and travel. And even though we only published it two months ago, we thought Izzy Lynch's advice on how to balance motherhood with a healthy appetite for backcountry lines was prescient. If you want the opportunity to learn from this master of multi-tasking, sign up for one her classes at Backcountry Academy.
Izzy Lynch just became a mom, but she's stoked as ever to ski. Photo: Adam Clark
Eight years ago, Izzy Lych permanently made Revelstoke, British Columbia home to pursue her dreams of big mountain skiing in some of best terrain the Canadian Rockies have to offer. Those years have been formative in her career as a professional skier; in the meantime she founded a program to help adaptive skiers, she transitioned her career in competition skiing to the realm of skiing big lines on camera, and now, she’s the mother to a newborn son.
We caught up with her to ask about life as a new mother and how she plans to balance it with her career as a skier.
So, for starters, how drastically has life changed in motherhood?
I have a seven-month old, and oh yeah it’s been a huge change from my life before. It’s a full-on transformation, but it’s been great. He was born in the spring, so that gave us a full summer of hiking and camping and spending time on the lake. Now, he’s quite the little human and it’s been a good change for us. Of course, there’s still time for lots of adventures. It’s the end of November and I haven’t been out touring yet because of the baby, but the season is long and I’m sure I’ll be out there soon enough.
How do you see this affecting your ski career?
It’s definitely a new element, and will definitely be a challenge to balance everything. But I am so lucky to have friends and my mom and sister who live in Revelstoke to help us out. They’ll be able to have some fun with the little guy while I go out and rip some laps and pursue my goals in the mountains this winter. It’s definitely not about me all the time anymore, I’ll have to figure out a lot of moving parts to make it work smoothly!
Lynch has made Revelstoke home, but still chooses to pursue her passion all over the world. Photo: Adam Clark
How’s Revelstoke These Days?
Revelstoke is gaining a lot of popularity these days, with so many people moving here. For sure the hill has been busier than ever in its 10 years of existence, but it’s still got that down-to-earth vibe, with a ton of really good energy. There are so many good shredders here, it’s so inspiring!
Let’s talk a little about the lesser-known side of your career; you started an adaptive ski program in Revelstoke a few years ago, correct?
I co-founded a nonprofit foundation called “Live it! Love It!” and that is all about making adventure more accessible for people with disabilities. We have done a bunch of adventure camps, mostly for youths who have sustained spinal cord injuries from sport accidents like biking, skiing or snowboarding. Secondly, I helped to establish the Revelstoke Adaptive Ski Program. It’s really small, but we have some equipment and we set up the protocol for accessible skiing on the mountain.
That’s quite the undertaking, what were your motivations behind this?
My partner at the time Live it! Love it! was founded in 2010 had a snowboarding accident and ended up a quadriplegic. Through his recovery, we met all these other young people who had sustained similar injuries and were going through a radical and sometimes crazy life transformation. They were all huge talents, and a lot of what we live for is adventuring outdoors, but we realized that there are still so many ways that people with disabilities can get outside and go do the things they love to do. It just takes a little support and extra effort. So we started Live it! Love it! to address these issues. We started in Whistler, because they already had these protocols in place. But when I moved back to Revelstoke, it became really important to me to make this incredible place accessible to people with disabilities.
There were a few people in the community already in wheelchairs that wanted to get up on the mountain, so there was a group of locals who got together to make it happen.
The Revelstoke program is pretty small and basic. It was just collecting equipment like sit skis that people can use, as well as training mountain operators and establishing protocol to get these people on chairlifts and up on the mountain safely and comfortably.
Her upbringing in the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies really helps in making this all look easy. Photo: Adam Clark
Outside of skiing, what does life look like now?
Well, now I’m a full-time mom, but I did a lot of work in sales and marketing in the ski industry. Of course, I live right here in the mountains so I take advantage of that as much as possible to go running, biking, climbing and exploring in the mountains.
I grew up in Calgary, which meant growing up skiing in the Canadian Rockies as a ski racer. When I was nine years old, my parents started a backcountry ski touring lodge, so I spent a ton of time perfecting my ski touring and backcountry skills out there with my family. That’s definitely what made me fall in love with mountains and skiing powder and exploring on skis.
When I was in college in Calgary, that’s when I decided to dedicate my life to skiing. Revelstoke Mountain had just opened, and I wanted nothing more than to be a part of that buzz. It was amazing, and it snowed so much that first season. So I moved out there and have not left!
Can you take us through the evolution of your ski career?
From a competition standpoint, I started off racing, but of course my love of the backcountry and skiing big mountains led me to competing in events like the Freeride World Tour. It started with the Canadian freeride comp circuit, and then moved up into a couple of FWT events all over the world. At the same time, I coached freeriding for many years, including a program I started here in Revelstoke when I first moved. From doing all those things, my career evolved into getting hooked up with my sponsors and filming a little bit with outfits like Sherpa Cinemas. This led to transition out of competing and more shooting and coaching the next generation.
This season, Lynch plans a little something new: her own film project. Photo: Adam Clark
Any cool plans coming for this season?
Yeah! This year, I’m working on my own film project. It will be based at Amiskwi Lodge, the place my parents built when I was nine, and I’ll be working with my sister Zoya who is a ski photographer. We’re putting together a little project based up there and in some mountain ranges in the area. I’ll be doing plenty of coaching, specifically with Arc’teryx and their Backcountry Academy program as well as some girls ski camps up here!
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