Every day for the month of October we gave away free stuff. More than 31 skiers won everything from skis to boots to helmets, goggles, jackets, and socks. We were psyched to stoke out so many people with gear, but the grand prize—a five-day heli ski trip for two to Alaska Rendezvous and a full setup for both from Blizzard Tecnica—well, that was the big enchilada, the prize we’ve been the most excited to give away to one lucky reader.
And we couldn’t imagine a more deserving person to win this trip than Walter Shanley of Weston, Connecticut. Walt, who is 52 years young, works for a boutique insurance company in Westport, and is on the Weston Volunteer Fire Department, has been an avid skier since he was 4 years old. Shanley’s father built a house in Stratton, Vermont, in 1970, which is where he learned to ski. He became captain of his high school race team and won first place in the state champs his senior year. After graduating from the University of Vermont, his father took him to Snowbird to celebrate. His brother went on to become a ski patroller at Taos, New Mexico, and did his sabbatical at Chugach Powder Guides, where Shanley visited and got a big enough taste of heli skiing in Alaska to know that he wanted to do it again. Today, Shanley is teaching his 9-year-old son how to ski. (He also has three teenage step-sons who all ski.) His son has only skied the East Coast, but Shanley promised that someday they’ll go heli skiing together, so long as he gets good grades. That promise may have to wait a few years, though. Shanley’s still struggling with the difficult choice of who to bring with him to Alaska Rendezvous this winter.
“I entered your contest, posted the link on my FB profile saying, ‘You can’t win, if you don’t play!’ And here I am,” says Shanley. He added, in all caps: TOTALLY STOKED! THANK YOU ALL POWDER MAG, BLIZZARD/TECNICA, AND ALASKA RENDEZVOUS!!!