As the wind fiercely blew across the mountainside, strands of hair blew across my face, filling my nostrils with the smell of gasoline. Toes and knees dug deep into the snow, with a backpack anchored between me and the slope, I got my camera settings dialed in for the shots I would soon be taking of my business partner and husband, Andy Mahre, who would soon be dropping in from atop the mountain above me. We were out exploring the Goat Rocks Wilderness and after a 10-mile snowmobile trek followed by a three-mile ski tour, we were finally fulfilling the task that had brought us out here in the first place.
Prior to heading up to his perch, we had discussed where he would be making his most crucial turns, and with that in mind, I set up the photocomposition and made sure that the test shot was up to par. “Ready when you are,” I relayed to him via radio. “Dropping in 10,” he answered back. Counting down slowly from 10, I prepared for him to enter the frame. And just as the powder snow began to fly into the wind, my finger was set free and the shots started stacking up. I followed his path down the mountainside, turn after turn, as he gracefully wove down the slope over cliffs, around trees, and through the final shoot at the bottom. As he came to a stop in the safe zone, I smiled, knowing how happy he was that he had just had the chance to ski a line that he had been dreaming about for so long and also knowing that I had captured every exhilarating moment.
• • •
Andy and I are a team, in life and in business. Both growing up as athletes and from skiing families, our passion for the mountains and the outdoors eventually brought us together a few years ago and we have been inseparable ever since. For nearly half of his life, Andy has been a professional skier, globetrotting around the world skiing, getting filmed, and representing major companies within the industry. My soccer career took me around the world as well, but when it came time for college, I bowed out of the professional athlete game and spent the next five years getting my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business. Meeting at a ski industry event, we had an instant connection and as they say, the rest is history. When Andy and I first began our venture together a few years back, we both had worked over 10 years in the outdoor (bike and ski) industry. Although our individual experiences were in different aspects within the industry, we figured out a way to use both of our assets to their fullest potential, while at the same time making a living doing what we love most – adventuring and working in the mountains together as a team.
At 31, Andy is still sponsored for skiing (K2 Skis, Evo and Eddie Bauer; all companies of whom I represent as well) and still travels quite frequently for sponsor-related trips, shoots and video projects in the winter months (many of which I too am also a part). He also plays a role in product testing and development for K2 and Eddie Bauer soft and hard goods.
As a professional photographer, writer and brand ambassador for more than a handful of outdoor companies, I take the lead on marketing our brand, designing and managing our websites, editing photos, getting content out to our clients, and writing about our adventures for blogs and other publications from our home in Naches.
We are also both ambassadors as mountain bikers, adventurers and stand-up paddleboarders, representing companies such as Juliana Bicycles, Raceface, Werner Paddles, Superfeet Worldwide, Intuition Liners, Banshee Bikes, Cane Creek USA, Smith Optics, Subaru of America, Stewart Subaru, Qalo, to name a few.
When we aren’t traveling around the world on trips for our sponsors (together or individually), we are off on adventures of our own, creating content as a team for our clients. While out exploring, Andy and I switch off shooting photos of each other. He has become adept at using a remote trigger to get action and portrait shots of us together, which is extremely helpful when we are the only two people around for miles. Not only talented in front of the lens, Andy is also very savvy behind the lenses of our cameras, as well as from the pilot’s seat of our drone. With Andy shooting video and photos from the sky and me shooting photos from the ground, we work together to get shots from every angle for our clients. Whether we are getting action content for White Pass Ski Area, creating virtual tours of new construction for local building companies, such as Ablegate Homes, or keeping the social media content going to our sponsors, the communication and ideas are always flowing and the reliance on one another to perform our individual duties is constant. Teamwork, a deep level of respect for one another, and a mutual belief that “can’t” should never be in our vocabulary, keeps us working as a well-oiled, and most of the time, smiling and extremely stoked machine.
• • •
As the wind blew softly against my sun-kissed cheeks, I took in a deep breath of mountain air and let it all out as I looked back at the mountain we had just descended. It was nearly dusk as I reminisced on the last 12 hours, another day living the life that we had always dreamed about living together, as a team. Back at the snowmobile and getting ready to make the trek back to the truck, I gazed one last time at the mountains behind us and pulled my helmet over my head. The mountains would still be there tomorrow and we would definitely be out among them once again.
From exploring and touring around the backcountry of the local Cascade Mountains on our skis, to biking across mountain ranges in British Columbia, to paddling down the rapids of the Naches River on our SUPs near our home, Andy and I focus on the things in life that matter to us most – our happiness as a family, our passion for the outdoors, and our goal to inspire others to follow their dreams just as we continue to do everyday. Moments and memories like these make every hardship worth the struggle. Life is full of mistakes, failure and defeat, but that isn’t for what we live. We live for the feeling after descending a powder-filled shoot of untracked snow, we live for the rosy, but smiling cheeks after pedaling up a crazy steep mountain pass, we live for the moments that take our breaths away, especially when in those unforgettable moments, we are standing side by side.