Outside magazine, September 1997
Ten years of tumbling down rapids will teach you things, among them how best to explore the wilderness. "It's difficult to see Alaska on foot," McCool says. "So rafting is really the best way to see how fantastic it is." Spoken like an owner of a rafting company. Still, McCool would likely slap down some praisology even if he weren't economically wedded to rivers or even to the
Alaskan outback, about which he can philosophize mightily. "When you live up here you have to know how to do everything, from how to handle animals to how to deal with insects," says McCool. "We're so far removed, it requires a very resourceful attitude." Ribbed cotton zip-neck sweater, $135, white
Bush pilot, ski and snowboard instructor. Shown at Rust's Flying Service Dock, Lake Hood, Anchorage.
"It seems like the fishing should be idyllic," Butt says of the summer work on salmon boats. "But it's intensely competitive. And people play dirty." Cram 600 boats into a small section of Alaska's Bristol Bay, churn in some intoxicatingly desirable salmon, add a blink-and-it's-over season, and some ugliness is sure to erupt. "Boats ram each other; people beat each other up, cut their nets," Butt says. "A couple of people usually die each year." But the evenings on the ocean are lovely, especially when, as Butt does, you bunk down on deck (less for the view, admittedly, than for some privacy from the all-male crew snoring away in "Man Camp"). And then there's the joy when the run is finally over. "You just pick up your fish, turn the hoses on, and rinse everything away," she says. "I just drop my clothes and leave them behind." Green slicker, $67, by Helly-Hansen; Merino Puffer Ribchunky turtleneck, $225, CK by Calvin Klein; tab front low rise khakis, $48, by CK Jeans; Saranac boots, $65, by Sorel. Also shown, left to right: Stove 2 In One polyfill jacket, $195, by Tommy Hilfiger. Orange PVC parka with zip-out vest, $278, by Fila Sport. Down-filled, fleece-lined waxed jacket, $450, by Greg Norman.
Mountain guide. Shown at Base Camp, Mount McKinley.
Kemppel's hoping for medal success in Nagano this winter — having been the top American in nordic combined at the last Winter Games — so the exhausting work of her seasonal day job, helping the Park Service pluck people off Mount McKinley, serves her pretty well. Not well enough to skip the regular three-and-a-half-hour-long training gruels to Alyeska's summit, of course, but at least on these excursions she has company: Anouk, her Siberian husky. Good thing, too; a moose once rushed Kemppel during her run, pinning her with a platter-size hoof while it readied a final stomp. "Anouk charged her, barking like crazy, and chased her off. I wouldn't be alive without her." Training jacket, $80, Dri-F.I.T. tights, $48, and Air-Humara trail running shoes, $95, all by Nike; Ray-t-ator T-shirt, $38, by Sierra Designs; corduroy cap, $15, by Gap.
Sled dog racer, sportfishing guide. Outside her home in Willow.
pants, $48, all by Eddie Bauer.
People don't usually jump from the Alyeska tram, but when MTV came calling last year the resort agreed to let the cast of Road Rules II take a dive. It also chose the surest hand around to lead — and in one case, coax — them: Vance. Good pick, since Vance knows his way around camera; he's logged hours as a director, stunt man, and actor for commercials and films (his oeuvre includes the sublime Hot Dog...The Movie). Even though he got the balky MTV kids into the air and then back safely, the resort doesn't plan to make bungee jumping a regular thrill ride anytime soon. Which means Vance has to sneak his leaps in wherever he can — usually under the guise of his adventure "club." "If you don't laugh and life isn't fun for you," he says, "then don't join." Power Stretch Titan top, $84, by Sequel; sweatsuit, $135, by Nautica; Air-Nezium shoes, $80, by Nike; glasses, $79, X-Ray by Ray-Ban.
Warren Rowe, Michael Day, and Josh Marks
Snowboarders and, respectively, forestry worker, construction worker, and hotel caterer. Shown at Mount Alyeska Ski Resort.
Jennifer and Merrick Johnston
When Jennifer Johnston tells her 14-year-old daughter, Merrick, to go play outside, she goes through the usual motherly checklist: Got your mittens? Insulated bibs? Ice-ax, crampons, climbing rope? "I used to try to get her to watch TV," says an exasperated Jennifer. "But she won't sit still." She never has; Merrick is so fidgety that Jennifer agreed to join her in climbing McKinley in 1995 — mostly to keep her quiet — making Merrick the youngest person to summit the peak. Daughter has tackled many big peaks with mom but hasn't yet cracked the mighty Himalayas. It's a pricey excursion for a 14-year-old, especially when you earn your expedition funds in that time-tested teenager way: by baby-sitting. Nut Shell Jacket, $110, by Mountain Hardwear; Titan Power Stretch bibs, $140, by Sequel; Air-Terminus Zoom shoes, $95, by Nike. Powerfill down vest, $90, Retroflex stretch fleece zip-T, $79, and Retroflex stretch fleece tights, $79, all by Sierra Designs; Leadville Racer shoes, $110, by Rockport. Tiros Assault CD tent, $375, by Sierra Designs.
Commercial pilot. At the Talkeetna Air Taxi office.
Marten Martensen, Kjerstin Lastufka
The Mount Marathon doesn't seem daunting on paper: only 3.5 measly miles. But as Lastufka, this year's runner-up, points out, "There's a gain and drop of more than 6,000 feet in 3.5 miles." Lastufka was chatted into running the gut-buster by her childhood buddy Martensen, who first tackled the mountain's shale cliffs and treacherous scree when he was 12 years old and presumably knew no better. He's since bagged the title three times. "It's more grueling than a regular marathon," says Lastufka. "The trick to winning is to control your fall on the way down. Because that's all you're doing — falling." The champ's winning tip? Scree-proof armor: duct tape from arch to ankle. On Kjerstin: Twilight ICR Hyperactive vest, $120, by The North Face; Thermastat T-shirt, $38, by Duofold; tights, $48, by Adidas; Ironman Triathlete watch, $55, by Timex; Leadville Racer trail shoes, $110, by Rockport. On Marten: Ninja Hoody jacket, $155, by Lowe Alpine; CoolMax T-shirt, $26, by Duofold; nylon/Spandex pants with reflective piping, $155, by DKNY; Daddy-O trail shoes, $90, by Rockport. For more information turn to page 132.
Biathlete, wilderness guide, high school cross-country coach. Photographed at New
Text by Lolly Merrell. Research by Michael Kessler, Stephanie Gregory, Claire Martin, Laura Slavik, and Lorien Warner.
Fashion by Vicky McGarry
Photographs by Daniela Stallingerk
Filed To: Snow Sports