SASS Argentina alum Emma Lande has come into her own this year, enjoying her first year as a competitive big-mountain skier and sponsored rider.  The Vermont native has relocated to Aspen, Colorado, where she’s been slaying the backcountry as well as making trip after trip to Jackson Hole, Utah, and Europe.  We’re super proud of Emma after all the hard work she’s put in slaying it over the years in Argentina.  Emma checks in with a recap from an amazing 2011 season…

Emma in the Jackson Hole backcountry.  Gabe Rogel photo

I just blinked and it was May…where did the winter go? It was an incredible season, but it seems like it just flew by. From traveling across Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, to heading overseas to ski in France, Italy, and Switzerland my winter was nothing short of busy. It was a winter of firsts for me and I really had an inside look at the dedication, commitment, and, perseverance it takes to live the life of a skier.

Emma in the Aspen b/c.  Gabe Rogel photo

I started out the competition season with a 6th place finish at the Jackson Hole stop of the Freeskiing World Tour, landing a spot on the pre-qualified athlete list. However, the competition side of skiing went slightly downhill for me after that. With the following two events, I was unable to stay on my feet and was a little burnt out from the mental stress of competing. After the tragic death of fellow Vermonter and friend Ryan Hawks, I wanted to refocus my skiing. Ryan had a great attitude towards life and skiing, he could put a smile on anyone’s face and it could not have been more apparent how much he loved skiing. With his death comes inspiration, which only further ignited the passion I have for skiing and the realization of how fortunate I am to lead the life I do.

This year marked my first official filming experience, and boy what an experience it was. I was filming with Futuristic Films, who is putting together a movie sponsored by Marmot, which documents the lives of the Marmot ski athletes. First off, I headed to Utah for a few days of filming, and then a few weeks later continued filming in and around Aspen. Not really sure what to expect for my first film venture, I went into it with an open mind, and came out of it dead tired. Logging twelve-hour days in the backcountry, skinning and boot packing up lines till you can’t do any more laps, really wears you out. But it was a great time, tons of fun, and definitely rewarding. I can’t wait to see the final product, which should debut in the fall entitled “Our Backyards.”

Chamonix, France.  Gabe Rogel photo

Come April, it was off on another new and exciting journey. I headed over to Chamonix, France for ten days. While I have skied some glaciers in Europe in the summer, I had never skied over there in the winter. What an experience that was! Hmmm…there seems to be a recurring theme of new experiences and amazing times this winter. But Chamonix was great, granted they didn’t have the best snow year there, the mountains are just awe inspiring. While there, I also headed to Switzerland and Italy each for a day, trying to cram in as much of the European ski culture as I could.

Climbing off the Aguille Du Midi Glacier, Chamonix, France.  Gabe Rogel photo

My return from Europe couldn’t have been better timing. As I returned to Aspen in the early morning hours I managed to cram in a few hours of sleep, before concluding the lift-served season in Aspen at Aspen Highlands closing day. With a foot of fresh snow in the Highlands bowl, a hike up proved to be a great season ending run, and then it was time to celebrate. Now my body’s craving a little warm weather and sunshine, but I have already been dreaming about making turns in South America this summer.