By Derek Taylor
I love this shot of Kip only for the backstory. We were in Portillo and had just skied the Super C Couloir. The Roca Jack lift was down, so we had to hike from the bottom of the lift, adding an extra 1,000 feet or so, and making our entire ascent about 3,000 feet. On top of that, it had been dumping, so the boot pack was a full on wallow fest.
Kip broke trail just about the whole fricken way. All 3,000 feet. He made us a nice little shelf over the exposure and laid solid steps for us the whole way up. I, of course, was the fat kid of the group. That’ll happen when your team is Kip, Ingrid Backstrom, Eric Hjorliefson and Sam Von Trapp.
So, with Kip leading the charge, we make it to the top of the Super C, a 5,000 foot shot back down to the road, the top 3,500 feet or so hemmed in by huge rock walls. It’s one of the most epic runs I’ve ever skied. We get through the couloir and have just the apron left to go. Kip skis up to Eric and I, and as nonchalant as if he were asking the time, says, “Hey guys, check this out. I have a little bit of altitude sickness.” And at that, he starts puking. I should have been more concerned, but he was so cavalier about it, I just laughed and snapped this shot. I love the look on Hoji’s face.
We finish the run, and while Eric and I settle down and relax, Kip and Ingrid need to pack, rush to Santiago, and catch a 12 hour flight back to Tahoe so they could make it to Burning Man the next week. I don’t know how he managed.
Kip, thanks for the memories, the inspiration, and all the amazing runs!