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Georgina Miranda | 08.01.2019

Lexi duPont is a force and, in her words, a “Carpe Diem Professional Skier and Pilot.” She was on skis racing at 2 years old and made a life and profession that enables her to spend most of her time outdoors and on adventures.

At Outdoor Project, we've made it part of our mission to celebrate and amplify the voices of women in the outdoors, and Lexi not only wants to share her stories and adventures with the world, but also to encourage other women to do the same. In our third year of Women in the Wild, we are proud to share our platform again with courageous and inspiring female figures who are making a difference in the outdoor industry and the world at-large. It’s been an honor to be a guest editor this year for Women in the Wild, and I am grateful and inspired by all of the remarkable women that I got to connect with and interview. They are shaping a new narrative daily, and they show us anything is possible with tenacity, creativity, and purpose.

 

We, women, can do whatever we damn well please! I hope my adventures and projects inspire women to live the life their 9-year-old self would be proud of and blast their stories out into the world to keep the motivating energy flowing.

—Lexi duPont

 

In this interview, we talk to Lexi duPont about living a life of adventure since childhood, equality and equal pay for athletes, and how coming together drives change. This interview has been edited for clarity.

 


Photo courtesy of Lexi duPont.

Georgina Miranda: Tell us about Lexi DuPont. How would you describe your connection to the outdoors/adventure?

Lexi duPont: I was born and raised in the adventure paradise of Sun Valley, Idaho, also the first ski resort in North America. So naturally I come from a family of skiers and adventurers. My grandfather was a ski instructor, my mom was a professional freestyle skier, my dad is a bush pilot and comes from a long line of accomplished aviators.

When you are born and raised in the mountains all you have to do is look out your window and you are inspired to get out there and play. As a family we spent our time outside, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, flying around the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, and bonding in the natural world. Thanks to this unique upbringing and a deep family bond to the outdoors, I have done everything in my power to continue my pursuit of the outdoors professionally. I am a professional big mountain freeskier and bush pilot, but my connection to the outdoors and adventure is so much deeper than just a profession.

GM: Tell us more about becoming a professional skier. Was skiing always your favorite sport? How did your journey get you to where you are today?

LD: I have always been drawn to a life in the outdoors, and skiing is definitely my favorite sport. Yet, when I was younger, I had no idea I would be a professional skier. There were actually a few years when I hated going to ski team because all of my girlfriends were taking dance classes and art classes while I was freezing my booty off on the chairlift. I thank hot chocolate and french-fry bribes, and ultimately my parents, for making me always finish what I started and show up every day.

I started ski racing when I was 2 years old and raced all the way through high school. I actually wasn't that fast at racing, but trained hard and showed up everyday because I absolutely loved skiing. There was no way I was good enough to race in college, which is how I found big mountain skiing. I entered my first big mountain contest in Crested Butte, Colorado, while attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, and podiumed.

After that first contest, when I walked away with a big check and a sense of accomplishment, I knew this was the arena to best showcase my creativity and skills. I went on to compete on the Freeride World Tour for 4 years, got hooked up with my dream sponsors, and had a flash of reality that maybe I could pull off this skiing-as-a-career thing! I have now moved on from competitions and have found my favorite form of expression as an action sports filmmaker and big mountain skier with a little bush pilot action on the side.

GM: What initiatives/projects are you focused on?

LD: I am currently working on a film with Stellar Media and Stept Studios about my 10 years of skiing big lines in Haines, Alaska, which will be coming out this fall 2019. I am also working with Stellar Adventure Travel and Valle Nevado Ski Resort in Chile on the first all-female ski photo contest August 16 through 23.

In January 2020, I am making a web series with my boyfriend as we drive and ski the islands of Japan. Next spring I am teaming up with my friend Keere Smith to fly bush planes and ski around the circumference of Iceland. And my big project in the works is to re-fly my great aunt Alice’s flight path down the Amazon River in a float plane.

After spending the past 10 years deeply invested in the southeastern mountains of Alaska, I am feeling a shift. I feel it’s time to take all that I have learned from skiing the biggest lines in Alaska to more expedition-based adventures. I think a lot of plane-assisted skiing with teams of badass females is in my future, and it gets me so incredibly hyped. There are so many talented females in this world, and it is so cool to be a part of the shift where we are finally receiving the recognition and support we deserve. For so long we had to battle to be the token female among the dudes, and now we are finally supported to work together and it is so incredibly cool!

GM: Where do you draw your inspiration/motivation from? Has that changed over your time? 

LD: I feel like I have always drawn inspiration from the strong women in my life. My mom, my sisters, the young females coming up in the ski world. When I see a female do something incredible, I know I can do it too.

Sometimes when the guys do something inspiring, I somehow come up with an excuse like, “Oh, well he’s a guy, so of course he hit the jump that big, I’m a girl, so I’m going to hit the not-so-big jump.” So when I see another female hit the big jump, I’m like, “fuck yeah, if she hit it, then I will too.” My inspiration is always changing. It’s like a constant flow coming at me from every direction. It almost as if every person I meet or read about or watch on TV has something special to bring to this life. You just have to be open to it and listen.

GM: What have been some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome related to your outdoor pursuits or your career? What helped you overcome those challenges?

LD: I think the biggest challenge is comprehending how innately dangerous big mountain skiing is and pursuing our goals when friends keep dying doing what we love so much. Yes we do everything we can to mitigate the risk and handle the uncertainty that exists every time we step out, but I have been asking myself a lot lately if it’s worth dying for, and I don’t think it is. When you’re dead, you’re dead; your friends and family are the ones who have to live with the loss every day. And for what? The selfish, euphoric satisfaction of flying down mountains. I don’t know if I will ever know the answer.

GM: What do you see as the most important issue or set of issues affecting women in the outdoor/adventure space? Where do you see yourself having the biggest impact on these issues?

LD: There are lots of issues, but the first that comes to mind is equal pay. It is absolutely shocking how much female athletes get paid compared to the men. I mean we are all taking the same amount of risk, we all contribute the same amount of hours to product development and storytelling, most of the women have a larger following on social media, and (let’s be honest) women do more shopping than men.

I think if the snow ladies come together and put the facts on the wall, we may have some pull. I mean look at the World Surf League: The men and women have equal prize money thanks to the women standing up for themselves. I think I could help unite the ladies because it's only going to happen if we speak up together. Let’s go ski and snowboard the world!

GM: What opportunities do you see for better equality standards in the professional skiing community?

LD: Equal pay and putting more females in the movies. We are starting to see a transition that includes more females in films, but it’s still way less than half. There are a ton of deserving, talented females, and they all deserve to be featured and represented. It would also be great to see ski companies make more ladies specific skis and boards. K2 Skis has done a great job with putting a lot of time and money into the development of women’s equipment, but the other brands need to fall in line and do the same.

GM: What can the greater outdoor community and companies like OP do to better amplify and celebrate the voices of ALL women in our community?

LD: Just reach out! We are all poised and ready just waiting for an opportunity!

GM: How do you keep your pursuits going? How did you get it all to a point where this is a feasible lifestyle for you? How do you support your adventures/passions? Has this changed over time?

LD: Thanks to my sponsors, my agents, and my publicist, who have all made this life possible. Without them, who knows what I would be doing. I know I would definitely still be skiing and spending my free time outside because I can’t imagine my life without the outdoors, but it would look a lot different while trying to balance a nine-to-five. I feel very lucky for the support I have received over the years. We are like family, and we have one another’s back.

GM: What’s been the most useful advice given to you along your journey? What advice do you wish you were given when you were younger?

LD: I think my parents instilled a strong moral compass for me to do what makes me happy and to work hard to follow my dreams no matter what it takes. There are a lot of lessons I have learned from the mountains: just keep moving, put one foot in front of the other, and get to the top. I have also learned to befriend fear as catalyst toward change, and I think that can be applied to all aspects of my life. Sometimes you have to take the risk and tip in over the edge of fear to get to the glory. I hope the younger generation remembers that anything is possible, dream big, keep the people you love close, and show up!

GM: Any other tips/advice/encouragement you have for women looking to embark on a similar career or path or wanting to make a difference in the world?

LD: Just do it. Reach out to the people you look up to for advice and practice every day. It doesn’t just fall into your lap. You have to chip away at your goals every single day. Show up to practice, find a mentor, and put in the work.

GM: At Outdoor Project, we put a strong emphasis on the phrase “adventure like you give a damn,” which refers to putting effort into responsible recreation. How can others “adventure like they give a damn”?

LD: We have to give back to the world that gives us so much. It’s the most rewarding work you can do, and if you give back to the Earth she will give to you in ways you never knew imaginable. Playing hard and giving back makes the world go round. Get involved with your community, help people around you to get outside, take only photos and leave only footprints, and you are guaranteed to have a fulfilling life.

GM: What’s been your favorite adventure to date and why? What’s on your adventure bucket list and/or coming up for you? 

LD: I think my favorite adventure so far was my first film trip with Warren Miller to Svalbard, Norway. We took off on a 2-week Arctic expedition to ski the northernmost mountains on Earth. It was challenging and beautiful and a trip I will never forget.

My next big adventure is to fly a seaplane down the Amazon River. It is incredibly daunting to explore unknown territory, but it’s in my blood, and my life up to this point has given me the tools and experiences to execute with precision. I’m super excited about it and the journey to make it happen.

GM: What is the message you would like to share with the world, the outdoor community, and other women in general? Or what is a story you hope to tell in your lifetime? 

LD: I would like to share the mantra that we, women, can do whatever we damn well please! I hope my adventures and projects inspire women to live the life their 9-year-old self would be proud of and blast their stories out into the world to keep the motivating energy flowing.

To hear more from Lexi, follow her on Instagram @lexidupont​​​​​. Find her work online on her official website, and all of her films are available online on Vimeo. For more inspiring outdoorswomen, find all of our interviews and articles at Women in the Wild 2019.

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Women in the Wild 2019

Women in the Wild is a movement that recognizes the amazing women who enrich the outdoor community with their passions, inspirations, and accomplishments. Outdoor Project is proud to grow this campaign in 2019 with the help of guest editor and 2018 #womaninthewild Georgina Miranda, adventurer, entrepreneur, mountaineer, and founder and CEO of She Ventures. We're proud to open our platform once again for the incredible stories and photography of women throughout our community. From in-depth interviews with outdoor advocates, influencers, and athletes to female-focused content from the community, Women in the Wild 2019 aims to amplify the voice of women in celebration of female fortitude, strength, and camaraderie in the outdoors.

For a complete list of content published in correlation with Women in the Wild 2019, visit Women in the Wild 2019: Amplifying Women in the Outdoors.

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