Leilani Bruntz

Age: 28 | Vitals – 5’2, ~125 lbs | years skiing: 25 | Current Residence: Crested Butte, CO

Background

While outdoor recreation was ingrained in my upbringing in Vail, Colorado, my passion grew with age and independence in the mountains. For most of my childhood, my parents had to bribe me with Starbursts and Skittles to get me to go skiing. Discouraged by my constantly cold hands and my brother’s poorly fitting hand-me-downs, I wouldn’t say skiing was love at first ski.

The candy bribes only lasted so long, and eventually, the expansion of disciplines turned me on to skiing. Preferring the physical challenge and comradery that came from cross-country skiing, I raced through high school and college. To keep things more interesting on the mountain, I picked up telemark skiing while racing for the Middlebury College Nordic team. I dabbled in the Big Mountain Telemark scene as my interest in incessantly training for nordic dwindled, but it wasn’t until my discovery of backcountry skiing that a fire in me immediately ignited.

Awestruck by the rugged and raw Sawtooth Mountain Range that I awoke to every morning working as a raft guide on the Salmon River, after graduating college, I wondered what it’d be like to ski such captivating terrain. That winter, I traded my skinny skis and training plans for an AT set up and avalanche education. After honing in my backcountry and mountaineering skills, and gathering experience traveling through avalanche terrain, I’ve slowly knocked off objectives I scouted that first summer looking at the Sawtooths. Each time I return, I am just as captivated as the day I first laid eyes on this wild, dramatic terrain.

After spending the past four years living on the road, fully immersed in the mountain bike world, I’ve settled into one place for the first time since leaving Idaho: Crested Butte, CO. I’m here for the winter, working with Irwin Guides, continuing to expand and develop my skills to better understand snowpack, backcountry travel, and everything that comes with cat-ski guiding.

Between cat skiing, backcountry skiing, and coaching nordic, I’m on skis just about every day of the week, making up for my past four endless summers.

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