You really have to follow this guy closely... If you don't, he might just lay turns down the world's highest peak without you knowing. That is Chris Davenport, world-class skier and mountaineer. The last I saw or heard of Chris was a year ago, when he hosted his annual freeride camp at Portillo. At the time, he'd also just completed his Antarctic adventure, which was captured beautifully in the ski odyssey, Australis (http://antarcticskiodyssey.com). The daring film is not your typical ski movie, nor is Chris your typical shredder. Almost immediately, Australis proves to be more than just ski porn. It's a testament to the fearsome yet arresting Southern Pole, undaunted exploration, and one man's ability to climb, ski, and inspire like few others. If you think I sound too gushy... then you haven't met this guy.
Did I mention that Chris is just plain nice? Like I said, he was at Portillo last summer, hosting his camp, and, well, being the hotel's most visible ambassador. Chris has been coming to Portillo for years, usually with his young family, and is well-acquainted with the staff. He's totally personable, and although he may not remember this, he and I talked over a beer one night in the disco. I asked him how he'd ended up skiing professionally, what's changed about the scene, etc. Not only was Chris cool talking to a lowly receptionist, but the ski hero even wanted to know about my life. Like I said, the dude is nice. If you continue to think I sound too gushy... then you're a sad cynic with no appreciation for meaningful interactions.
Anyways, instead of resting on his laurels after years in the spotlight, Davenport continues to redefine "professional skier." As Australis and the Everest trip demonstrate, Chris has capably embraced mountaineering, combining it with his first love of skiing. The Lhotse descent and Everest summit took place back in May, which means it may be old news for a lot of you. However, I couldn't resist sharing the trip - two skiers, 50 degree Himalayan sidewalls, O2 tanks, a real f@%#ing adventure. If you're interested, Chris' website has got photos and videos of the whole thing. I personally stumbled across an interactive from skinet.com, where the powder day on Lhotse is elegantly documented.
So congratulations to Chris on the achievement! And to all of you following the blog, I'll be writing more on Chris' adventures once he returns to Portillo later this summer. Now get off your computers and climb a mountain.