Local Peaks, Local People and Local Music: A 20 year journey by Mike Whelan to ski the highpoints of all the snowy states coast to coast is encapsulated in many short films and articles.
Skiing States started in 1998 as a casual project to ski the high point of every Northeastern state. In 2012 Mike formed the original goal to ski all of the Western highpoints as a project. Two years later he began exploring the Midwest as well. Working in television and film since 2001, it was natural to shoot the journey and capture the beauty of public lands in each state. In 2018 he began releasing articles and archived videos of the experience.
More than an “athletic goal”
The journey to ski the high points was created as a structured plan to visit new states the author had never seen or skied in before. The simple goal became a complex learning experience unlike any other journey. The reality of economics, indigenous rights issues, climate change, and conservation threats became apparent through the travel. Unlike other ski films which can come across as empty athletic goals jammed into rushed shoot schedule, this one has the potential to tell a bigger story. This is the reason why you will see more videos on topics such as animals we see while skiing, indigenous land and conservation, and local skier interviews. While most skiers are focused on the state or range they love, Mike desires to link the entire fabric of skiing culture that stretches from coast to coast. This scale of project requires many small films over the next 3 years, however if you’d like to see one comprehensive short documentary, don’t worry, that is coming in 2019 after the last peak in the project is completed.
“Skiing States” documentaries by state:
Be surprised by the beauty of states you never thought to visit. See the journey to ski the high point, the search for other backcountry terrain, interviews with locals and the natural winter beauty of public lands. This is set to a mix of stock and local music by local bands or musicians.
This series caters to those with a short attention span and just want to check out the actual approach and descent of a given peak. Beautiful mountain scenery is set to music with little or no narration. These are 1-4 minutes typically. This film series has already broken ground by covering areas never before shown in winter conditions.
The people behind the places. This series is an outlet to release full interviews with locals who have shaped the backcountry/skimountaineering community through first descents, or simply through being a conduit for stoke and history in their region. This series has a mix of oral history, excitement for local places and knowledge about how to start or what organizations help backcountry skiers around the nation. Backcountry Profiles page >
Learn more about animals and the natural world you will witness skiing across the nation. From raptors to bears to buffalo.
People keep asking me about gear, so in this series we review gear I used, or simply show differences between gear and how it is used.
Written Articles – 45 articles and counting
Read about our nation’s high points and wild places. There will be an article about every high point as well as other supporting articles on conservation issues connected. Mike also donates time to write for non-profits about the experience of exploration by skis. If you wish to know about a given state just click on the state listings below.
The effort to produce films on America’s greatest wild lands has been a labor of love and has not been paid.
- If you’d like a donation of an article with photos on your conservation non-profit’s website, that is possible.
- If you’d like to have your winter outdoor gear featured in media, contact Mike. So far Liberty Skis, Big Agnes and a few others have been involved.
- If you are a fellow skier and would like advice on skiing a peak use comments on YouTube or Facebook posts/messages to ask your question under the relevant peak.
Finished articles on each mountain are clickable below:
Click on the state to get guides, articles and videos about skiing the high point.