Name: Thomas Woodson
Residence: Boulder, CO
Occupation: Photographer, Cinematographer and Editor
Who taught you to ski?
I first learned in ski school when I was 4, visiting Colorado from South Carolina every winter. After years of snowboarding, I found myself relearning when I moved to Boulder 6 years ago. My roommate and I were climbers and inspired by Chris Davenport’s Ski the 14ers book, so learning to ski tour became my obsession.
You recently got to document a ski-touring trip from the fjords in Iceland. What inspired this trip?
My name was tossed into the mix from some mutual friends. This group was primarily centered around the Jackson, WY ski community, and a friend’s father’s quest to find radical ski trips all around the world. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to join.
What is your favorite moment from this trip?
It’s incredible what is possible when it never really gets dark. One day, we had finished skiing, had dinner aboard the boat, then spotted a beautiful line that went 1,500ft up from the fjord. I know Captain Siggi must have been tired, bout around 8pm he fired up the zodiac and took three of us to shore. We began to bootpack up as fog packed the fjord from the open arctic ocean to our north. We ascended above the clouds to a never-ending sunset, then skied back down into the darkness in search of our boat.
What are your current projects?
My winter is a wild blur of commercial ski shoots. I’m writing this on my birthday (February 28th) as I sit in an airport on my way to Greenland to photograph a ski travers of the Arctic Circle Trail. Once all the work is done, there’s a wild personal project in the works to spend 20 days rafting and skiing along Alaska’s Tatshenshini river. This spring is non-stop!
Who do you most admire?
I admire the next round of up and coming creatives in the outdoor industry. I’m incredibly fortunate to have found the friends and mentors walking this same wild path, and it’s so inspiring to see others who are on track to forge their own career. We’re all in this together.
Do you have a ritual before you travel? If so, what is it?
I probably make the most detailed checklists you’ve ever seen… and I lay out all of my gear in a perfect grid before packing in my gear room. Being methodical and minimal during the packing helps me to be much quicker out in the field!
Where would you ski if you could ski anywhere in the world?
One of my bigger goals is to ski Wyoming’s Grand Teton. I’ve been learning to ice climb in preparation, but in no rush to get it. The Tetons are such an incredible range and my stomach knots up every time I think about the first turns on the exposed upper snowfield.
What is the craziest ski route you have ever taken?
With my two best friends and adventure partners, Sam and Joey, I was able to climb and ski the Notch Couloir on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2017. It was certainly my most technical objective yet, with simul climbing, simul skiing and rappelling involved. Our friend Austin Porzak (photo credit) photographed our whole mission from his cabin miles down valley.
Describe the best and worst parts about traveling?
Skiing all over the west and the world is insane. I can’t even wrap my head around it at times. It’s so much fun, and really hard to complain about. But I do get quite bummed to leave my community in Boulder. There are endless inspiring people to be around, and there are opportunities to do basically all sports all year round. I love where I choose call home.
If you didn't ski what outdoor activity would you do?
Well I definitely identify as a skier, but I’ve been a mountain biker and climber for years as well. I got into ultra running last summer, then ice climbing this winter. I’m just really psyched to try new things, feel like a beginner again, and spend quality time with friends up in the hills.