Social Media Links: @kay.lee.walden, https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaylee-walden-73469373/,
Topics of Expertise: Skiing, Backcountry Skiing, Expeditions, Mountain Biking, Gravel Biking, Climbing, Trail Running, Ultra Running, Backpacking, etc.
Years in This Expertise: 10+
Number Of Products & Number Of Hours Expert Has Tested: 50+, 100+ hours
My obsession with skiing began at a young age, growing up in Montana. I couldn’t even walk when I had my first ski pass photo taken, and I was sliding on snow before I turned two. I vividly remember chasing around my ski patroller dad on deep, sub-zero powder days, not caring that my little cheeks were freezing cold and on the verge of frostbite. I’ve chased that feeling of flying ever since, building my life around the pursuit of powder days and high summits. That led me to study writing at Montana State in Bozeman, where I could continue to sneak in as much skiing as possible between courses.
During college, I developed my love for both writing and skiing, with an internship for Skiing Magazine in Boulder, CO, where I participated in my first backcountry ski test over a decade ago. During college, I studied abroad in the French Alps, chasing the best croissants, attaining French fluency, and being humbled by some of the most impressive mountains in the world. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a dual degree in Writing and French Language Studies, with highest honors through the MSU Honors College.
After college, I wanted to continue to experience big mountains and glaciers and found a job guiding helicopter-accessed glacier trekking based in southeast Alaska. Since then, I have been slowly working my way through education through the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), currently holding an AMGA Advanced Ski Guide with aspirations of becoming fully certified in the ski discipline. In the past couple of years, I’ve developed my passion for snow into teaching others about avalanches as a recreational course leader for Silverton Avalanche School (SAS), the oldest avalanche education provider in the country. I also guide expeditions on Denali and ski trips in the Alaska Range for Mountain Trip. Concurrently, I’ve developed my writing career, focusing primarily on gear testing and writing trip report-style articles for a variety of publications.
My work and free time often don’t look all that different; I always prefer to spend as much time as I can in the mountains. For several years I’ve been returning to the French Alps for a few weeks a year to continue to develop my personal big mountain skiing. I love the uphill and downhill equally, and I have competed in several ultra-endurance events through the years, racing ultras, skimo, and gravel bikes. I enjoy going fast and the pursuit of gravity, and summers find me on singletrack either running or mountain biking. I currently call southwest Colorado home, but I’m scheming about how to spend more and more of each year in Chamonix, France.
The mountains are all about humility, and I appreciate a life that allows me many opportunities to be a perpetual learner. I’m endlessly grateful to spend my time in the pursuit of memorable experiences and sharing those with others.
Spending springtime guiding in the Alaska Range on skis and expeditions to the summit of Denali
Skiing Mont Blanc and other technical lines in Chamonix
Participating in the Gear Junkie ski test in Crested Butte on a record snow year
Acting as head editor of the Business Journal for Southwest Montana while in college
Becoming an Avalanche Instructor for Silverton Avalanche School, the oldest avalanche education provider in the country
Guiding a helicopter accessed all- women’s intro to ski mountaineering course in the San Juans
Spending two months in the High Atlas of Morocco teaching French
Education & Certifications
Education: Bachelor’s of Writing and French Language Studies from MSU – Bozeman and UPMF Grenoble, France
Years of Writing: 10+
Certifications: AMGA Advanced Ski Guide, SAS Professional Level 2 Avalanche Certification and Instructor Certification, WFR, among others.
Club or Association Memberships: AMGA Professional Member, American Avalanche Association Professional Member
Awards or Recognitions: MSU Writing Program Outstanding Scholar
Previous Publications: Skiing Magazine, 57Hours, She Jumps, Ski Magazine, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Outside Bozeman, Telluride Daily Planet, and many others.
A Word from Kaylee
I’ve built my life around spending as much of my time in the mountains as possible. And, spending all of that time in harsh high-elevation environments demands the best gear possible. As a guide, I put my gear through the wringer, and I’m always looking for the best, lightest, highest-functioning, and coolest new jacket, rope, or pair of sunglasses. While I enjoy all pursuits that bring me to the alpine, I’m by far the happiest when making backcountry turns from a hard-earned summit somewhere, the further out there the better. I’m currently based primarily in southwest Colorado and spend springtime in Alaska, and I’m always scheming to get back to the Alps whenever possible. I love testing out different gear in demanding environments and helping others find the best possible kit to help execute memorable adventures.