Kelsey Opstad

Age: 27 | Vitals: 5’3’’, 130lbs | Years snowboarding: 14 | Current Residence: Girdwood AK


Born and raised in Alaska, I have been lucky to live much of my life far from the hustle of our modern world. I was introduced to skiing at the respectable age of six, but eventually switched to snowboarding. Since then, I have only questioned that decision during extremely long traverses.
Kelsey Opstad, Blister
I began splitboarding while attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and was lucky enough to meet people who taught me to do it safely. I started doing longer touring trips with friends and fell in love with snowmachines as a way to travel further into the backcountry. Glaciers became super-highways and soon there seemed to be no limit to our playground. I got my pilot’s license with wild dreams of ski-plane access, and gained an even greater respect for the mountains after experiencing them from the air. I then picked up speed flying and paragliding because flying is fun, but airplanes are expensive. I was even convinced to commit myself to ice climbing for a few years, and though the sport will always carry a “type-2 fun” designation in my eyes, it has produced a lot of stories and increased my confidence in the alpine. I graduated college with a degree in Paramedicine, and a greatly developed thirst for exploration.

Kelsey Opstad, Blister
Kelsey Opstad putting skiing skills to use with the speedwing

My main career has turned out to be commercial salmon fishing, of which I am approaching my 6th season as the captain of my own operation. Fishing has been one of the luckiest finds of my life — it allows me to abscond to the ocean and enjoy the simplicity of living off the land, and also provides freedom for half of the year and enough money to commit fully to a “sports bum” lifestyle. These days I spend most of the winter snowboarding and traveling to pursue all of my favorite sports. Though winter sports are my favorite, I also greatly enjoy downhill biking, climbing, canyoneering, and hiking with my dog.
Kelsey Opstad, Blister
As for snowboarding, it will always be my primary love. I want to be with good friends in the middle of nowhere, enjoying snow that no one else has seen. Glacier camping is a plus. I love the wide open lines of the Alaskan alpine where cold air and blue skies could cure any heartache. It is the most beautiful place in the world, and I intend to enjoy it as much as I can. I love directional powder boards more than anything, as they are best for the riding I pursue.

Kelsey Opstad, Blister
Couloir hunting, South-Central Alaska

Favorite Gear: Burton Con Artist, Prior Brandywine Split XTC, Copper River Fleece base layer, Sparks Afterburner bindings, Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Touring Poles, Mammut Ride 30L avy pack, hot dogger.

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