Mount Townsend 2209

Despite growing up skiing in Australia and coming home to Australia most years , before 2014 I had done nearly no proper backcountry skiing in here. In 2014 I headed up for a weekend at Mt Bogong with friends and had my first taste of earning my turns in the Victorian Alps.

Last year, my sister Anna and I planned a trip to the Main Range in Kosciuszko National Park, NSW. We hadn’t skied together in years and had never been backcountry skiing together.

It was five days to remember or howling winds, storms, blood red sunsets and full moons. In turn, this trip inspired us to embark on a two year documentary film project that we have since dubbed Finding The Line.

Check out this film that cinematographer Lachlan Humphreys put together from our trip. A big thanks to Holly Walker, Teddy Laycock, Lachlan Humphreys and Giorgio for their great company!



Lachlan Humphreys

Cinematographer and creator of digital imagery




Earlier this year I was asked to be participate in an advertisement for sanitary napkins (pads).

At the time I honestly thought it was as a hoax and after realising that it wasn’t a small part of me dreaded ending up being the skiing pad girl….

Two months later the ad aired and I was blown away by it. Not only was it awesome, the producers and directors have put together a piece of advertising that promotes women being themselves and not letting the fact that they have a monthly period hold them back.

So if you haven’t already had the pleasure check out the director’s cut:

KOTEX 30 – DIRECTORS CUT from Cos We Can on Vimeo.

Here are some other sweet things from UbyKotex


Refuge de Loriaz

The beginning of this season in the alps can only be described as grim. While I love staying positive, there is no other way to put it! No storms and warm temps is depressing in December.

However, thanks to huge snowstorm that ripped through Chamonix, my winter base, was finally sorted out with some snow.  But not every storm is just face shots and pow turns. There were giants lurking beneath the surface after such a long dry-spell and sadly some of those giants took good friends and many others away.

Everyone approaches the snowy and dangerous conditions differently but my instinct was to do my best to extract myself from the situation. So myself and some friends headed up to the sunny side of the Chamonix valley to ski low-angle terrain and have some hut time at the Refuge de Loriaz.

The Refuge is a 1-2 hour ski tour from Le Buet train station just a 30 minute train ride up the valley from the town centre. Despite an easy skin track, I had yet to test out my touring set up for the season and suffered all kind of early season ski touring fails. From skins that stuck to the wet snow, to ice covered ski edges and unwaxed skis, I managed a little bit of everything that curses unprepared backcountry travellers. Luckily, I had everything else sorted and a credit card slowly, but surely, helped me sort out my skis and skins. Thank the ski gods for patient ski touring partners :D.

After making it to the refuge through an aesthetic range of tree-filled, scenic hiking trails, we stored our gear and checked out our accommodations for the evening.


The refuge is open in both the summer and winter season and at time can host over 60+ guests. On that evening it was just the four of us, so we got first dibs on the cosy bunk bed just above the main hut.

Hiking up in the fog.

Hiking up in the fog.

After a spot of lunch, we went off to explore the peaks above the hut. After a sunny start to the morning a high cloud descended upon us and left us in a thick fog for most of the ascent. After struggling through clouds and an icy skin track we finally made it to the top to claim our prize- a sweet view and a nice, yet slightly rocky ride down to the hut.


Ready to claim my prize!


Watching the clouds part

After the light got low, there was nothing left to do except relax, make tea and play board games. This is one of my favourite things about hut skiing— After skiing, all that is required is a whole lot of relaxing.

Sun setting over the valley

Sun setting over the valley

Usually hut trips require an early start but with the warm temps during the day and a clear night, we made sure we had an extended breakfast before heading out to mince around in the sun.


Scoping out the beautiful terrasse that we decided was too unstable to ski, we opted for a nice south facing slope that we hit up before lunchtime.


More line scoping over the backside of the ridge. So excited to find such aesthetic terrain!


Cruisy, creamy turns.


GW wanted an extreme face shot.

So we spent a great two days walking about, eating snow and drinking wine. Of course we could have been off hunting serious lines but the rush would never have been worth the risk. Instead I got 2 days in the sun with some seriously awesome friends!


The good, the rad and the gnarly. We’re working on our selfie shots.


The Road to Paris: I AM PRO SNOW

Photo (above): KT Miller, Nat Segal skiing pow in Greenland during the Shifting Ice + Changing Tides expedition.

Re-posted from

Signing petitions and letters has never been something that I take much notice of. I’ll occasionally sign an online letter calling for action, but after receiving so many I have started to become desensitised to them and their worth.

The reality is that one name and one voice aren’t very loud, and unless you’re already in the spotlight, it’s unlikely you’ll be heard.

To the contrary, public opinion does matter. The voice of a crowd is deafening and often it is the primary stimulus and driving force behind change. Just look at current Australian politics. Whether you agree with the recent changes in parliament or not, public opinion had a significant influence on the most recent leadership change.

I am a skier. It’s my career; it’s my passion and a lot of the time it’s my whole world. Being immersed in this community and culture can sometimes make me feel like I am living in a bubble, where politics and current affairs aren’t my primary concerns – I usually spend much more time researching where the snow is falling than watching the news.

However, right now is different. As someone who spends the majority of their time in the mountains, I see confronting changes occurring right before my eyes.

“Globally, the ten warmest years in the past 134 all have taken place since 2000, except for 1998, and 2014 was the warmest year on record, according to data from NASA. In Chamonix, scientists fear July 2015 was the worst of all summers: temperatures peaked at the highest since measurements were first taken in 1934.” – Helen Fouquet, Bloomberg Business

2015-06-11 11.34.50

The Mer De Glace, Chamonix. This glacier is currently retreating 4 to 5 meters every year. Since 1988 (my birth year), they have had to add 370 steps below the access cable car for visitors to reach the glacier below. Image:: Wikicommons

Climate change is one of those issues that most of us shy away from. It’s because the predictions are scary, the evidence is confronting and the solution requires an ethical revolution.

However, we are not completely powerless.

In less than six weeks, the United Nations are hosting an international summit in Paris, the COP21 Conference, where the goal is to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. This conference is a follow-up to the Kyoto Treaty (1997) – the first Kyoto Protocol commitment period lapsed in 2012.

The successful outcome of this summit is integral for all of us, not just the skiers in the world who are left lamenting bad seasons and a lack of powder snow.

As I mentioned earlier, one voice and one action is nice, but it’s not enough to secure a sustainable future. We need deafening, global change made by corporations, big industry, communities, households and everyday people. While individual contributions are important, it’s only when national governments commit and follow through with emission reduction targets, that we will have any hope of combating climate change.

It is for these reasons, and more that I am going to ask you to do something that in the past I have avoided. I’m going to ask you to sign a letter.

The Climate Reality Project, founded by Al Gore, with the help of a board of ambassadors representing the ski and snowboard industry, I AM PRO SNOW, have carefully constructed a statement that will be presented to the UN in Paris from the winter sports industry. The goal is to gain as many signatories to this letter as possible before the Paris conference begins.

By electronically signing this letter to the UN, you will be joining a strong international coalition of the winter sports community to push our world leaders towards acting on climate change.

Please take one minute of your time to read and sign the letter as an individual or on behalf of your organisation or business.

If you have any further questions about I AM PRO SNOW, The Climate Reality Project or the letter, please do not hesitate to contact Talya Tavor at

I’ll leave you with this:

“Our economic model is at war with life on Earth. We can’t change the laws of nature, but we can change our broken economy. And that’s why climate change isn’t just a disaster. It’s also our best chance to demand—and build—a better world. Change or be changed. But make no mistake, this changes everything.” – Naomi Klein, ‘This Changes Everything’ “

Upside down @ Bounce.

I used to hate backflips and in turn it made me a lot less keen on trampolines. I don’t think this was a problem when I was younger, trampoline time during gymnastics used to be the best part of the session.

I think it all boils down to one afternoon in my friends backyard around the age of thirteen when I tried to huck a backflip  and landed on my face. I’ve always been a stubborn one and when I decide not to do something, only I can take it back. – When I was around four or five years old I scraped my knees trying to ride a bike without training wheels, it wasn’t until the age of sixteen that I decided I wanted to give biking a go again….. I think the term is stubborn as a mule?

I think the whole ‘upside down’ thing went from being a bad day on a trampoline and transformed into a fear that stuck it’s heels in and refused to let go. Even when I started landing them on trampolines the thought of doing them on skis made me want to be sick despite the burning desire I had to fly upside off a jump – everyone told me how incredible it felt.

Finally, after a lot of hard work and anxiety in my stomach, backflips don’t feel like a chore. I love them, I feel like I am floating when I do them, the whole world is spinning but I know exactly where I am.

I know it seems silly to get so sentimental about such an unimportant little speck in the scheme of life but for me it signifies so much more.  It’s years of patience, learning and gaining experience to trust myself, to let got and just do it rather than over thinking. Going upside is awesome. I ❤ Trampolines…… Now I just need some soft snow and a kicker to really get things started….. watch this space.

Hunting turns in midsummer

Photos care of Heather Swift, Women’s Mountain Collective.

It’s been raining a lot lately. The other day I woke up and in my grogginess thought it was winter and that it had just snowed. When I looked out the window and felt the temperature I was jolted back to reality. It’s the middle of summer and that heavy rain falling down.

After two months of summer I’m starting to pine for cold days, snowfall and skiing. I miss skiing, I miss the floaty feeling, going fast and jumping off things while not fearing for my life like I did yesterday while trying to mountain bike.

When I first arrived in the Alps this summer a little part of me had a secret goal to try and ski every month of the year. However, with the warm temps and my plans to head to New Zealand on my home having fallen through, I have only realised that this little goal may have to wait for another time.

This did, however, leave me to reminisce about my last summer skiing adventure, where Heather, Rich and I managed to bridge a ski trip over June and July.


Dream team…

June 30th.

I woke up groggy on the couch, after working until the early hours of the morning I snuck into Heather’s place for small nap before waking up around 5:30am up to head to Italy.

6:30am – We’re running a little behind schedule, partly due to my tiredness and other small factors. Car is getting packed with skis, glacier kit and extra gear, just in case.

Sometime around 8-9:00am – Arrived at the carpark of Cervina. Were excited to see other skiers until we realised they were going to ski at the resort and not ski tour up mountains and glaciers. After some mismatching of gear, giggles about skiing when it was so warm and finally gearing up we jumped in the lift and put our skins on.

11:00am– Important moment at the refuge involving me cleaning the chocolate milk that leaked through my backpack, that managed to inundate my avalanche rescue gear, eating creamy pastries, buying lunch and sipping coffees. Left with a cleaner bag and full stomachs towards Kleine Matterhorn, dodging alpine racers and park rats. After making it to the top we slipped off to the side towards Breithorn.

12pm- Starting to feel the altitude as we skin out of the resort towards Breithorn (4100m). There are lots of mountaineering parties but no one else has skis. Feel a little outnumbered here.

Heathers victory dance

Heathers victory dance on the summit with the Matterhorn covered in clouds behind her.

Sometime early afternoon – On top of Breithorn. What a view, the Matterhorn lurks just to the left, while Pollux and Castor, our goals for tomorrow stare us straight in the eye to the right.


Rich and I looking super trendy on the summit of Breithorn

Line spotting, Pollux to the left and Castor straight on.

Line spotting, Pollux to the left and Castor straight on.

Epic smoo all the way down to the bottom.

Epic smoo all the way down to the bottom.

Slogging up wet snow for an hour at altitude was worth it. The corn and smoo that we skied to the bergschrund was just what the doctor ordered for this ski-sick little girl. I only wish that it was longer! However, that wasn’t the end of the day.

Our game plan was to ski Breithorn and descend down to the Rifugio Guide della Val D’Ayas. On paper it seemed simple enough. Descend from Breithorn, keep on going, traverse across the glacier and then make your way to the hut. Yes simple on paper but sketchy on wet, summer snow.

Beginning the route finding process to the hut

It began ok but after a few soggy crevasse lips we began to realise that and earlier descent would have put us in much better stead for a safe descent. The consistent calving on the lower flanks of the glacier only heightened our feelings of anxiety.

After several hours and too many crossings we made it to the final traverse to the hut, the crux of our descent.

Our favourite part of the day, traversing scary seracs at 5pm

Our favourite part of the day, skiing below seracs at 5pm


Team meeting before our final crevasse crossing to the hut

There is nothing better at the end of the day than stepping onto solid ground

There is nothing better at the end of the day than stepping onto solid ground and getting a big meal in your belly.


Heather and I gratefully taking in the view from the hut

After a good refuel, a beautiful sunset and a sleep we were ready for the next day. Unfortunately were decided not push forward with our plan to attempt both Pollux and Castor in the same day as a result of the poor conditions on Castor and the exponential warming that we had experienced during the day- we still need to make it home before the close of the lifts.

July 1st

Woke up to an incredible sunrise and a cracking morning. After an interesting breakfast of dry bread and nutella (not sufficient for this ladies breakfast needs), we started back up towards Pollux.


Early morning shadows on the way up to Pollux

I knew that the route up to Pollux involved a little more rock climbing in ski boots than I was used to but halfway up when the route turned to straight rock, my skis and I started shaking in our boots.

Belaying Heather on the mixed rock route up to the summit of Pollux

Belaying Heather on the mixed rock route up to the summit of Pollux after a little ski tour and a boot pack.

However, with a strong leader we make it up, albeit slightly awkwardly with our skis, to the top of the rock route, ready to attack the snowy ridge to the summit.


Heather taking in the afternoon with the Madonna

We made it to the summit around noon and despite concerns that the snow may have already transformed, we found the opposite on the descent. One could almost call the top section boilerplate (really icy). Nevertheless with was a super fun, steep descent with just a few creamy turns at the bottom.

Skiing down the the bergschrund on Pollux

Skiing down the the bergschrund on Pollux


Content after two fun days of skiing and adventuring

To date, these two days were some of the best I have spent in Europe this summer. We had a great crew, a super interesting route planned and two fun descents. It’s crazy how much you can learn in two days but spending the time on the glacier like this helped me to consolidate so many things I have learnt over the past three years. I can’t wait for winter!!