Native Skier, Snowboarder Invite You to Share Their ‘Connection’ With the Mountains

This new film from Ikon Pass highlights the stories of two Indigenous snowsports athletes in the U.S.

The purpose of Ikon’s “My Connection” film is simple: to express two Indigenous athletes’ connection to the land — specifically, the mountains many of us now call home — and their desire for everyone to share that connection.

In the video, skier and Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta member Connor Ryan shares his appreciation for the land and explains how “skiing and snowboarding amplify their connection to their ancestors and to the mountains,” Ikon wrote.

Snowboarder lonnie kauk standing on flat snow holding board
Photo credit: Alterra Mountain Company.

In addition to Ryan, the film also features snowboarder and climber Lonnie Kauk, a descendant of the Ahwahnee.

“I want to reach skiers and snowboarders and show them how Native people have always been a part of the stories of the mountains, and how we will continue to be in the future,” said Ryan.

“I’d like the ski community to see themselves as a part of a longer and deeper story with the land.”

“My Connection” was directed by Shaandiin Tome, a Diné woman and filmmaker residing in Albuquerque, N.M.

two skiers skinning up very snowy trail
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Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.

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