On the edge

KT Miller

Jacqui Edgerly on top of North America's highest peak earlier this summer.

Freeskier Jacqui Edgerly recently returned from a month-long stay in Alaska, which included a summit bid up 20,320-foot Denali. Edgerly, the winner of the 2012 World Heli Challenge in New Zealand, won't be competing in this year's World Heli Challenge, which is scheduled to start this week; instead, she's enjoying summer at home in Aspen, Colo. Over the years, Edgerly has competed on the Freeskiing World Tour and filmed with multiple movie companies. We caught up with her to talk about traveling to Alaska, Japan, Indonesia, Chile and beyond.

So you've recently returned from Denali?
Yep, I returned home from 29 days on the glacier in early July. We cached our skis just below the summit ridge due to high winds. So we skied from about 19,600 feet. Fourteen of us went up just for a fun expedition. For me, it was all about learning from the legends and spending some quality time in the mountains. Conrad Anker and Max Lowe, his son, put the trip together. A few of us had never done a long expedition. Conrad and a few other experienced climbers, including Phil Henderson, Kasha Rigby, Jon Krakauer and Jeremy Jones, showed us the ropes. It was like a ski vacation after we got to 14 camp.

You've skied all over the world. What have been some of your favorite spots?
In 2008 I filmed with Sweetgrass Productions in Japan. You can ski fresh snow at Niseko all night and eat a fresh crêpe at the bottom when you are done. We would ski Alaska-style lines, but with birch trees, and end up at an onsen, a natural hot springs lodge, and soak for the evening. I've also skied in Turkey. We spent a few days in Istanbul, then flew over to Erzurum. We rented a van and a driver to take us into the Kaçkar Mountains, where we stayed in a little lodge where a family of Turks fed us for a week.

On the Edge

You usually head to South America in the summers, right?
I have been to Chile a few summers. The Freeskiing World Tour had a couple stops in Chile. The snow is fabulous for being in the Southern Hemisphere. And I went to Las Leñas, Argentina, to film with Sweetgrass Productions, where we skied in the resort plus the backcountry.

What were your highlights of last winter?
I made three separate trips to Alaska. First, I flew to Points North Heli in Cordova, a prize from winning the World Heli Challenge the previous summer. Second, I flew over to Haines and spent a few weeks heli skiing and shooting with Stellar Media Productions. And third, I spent the month of June up on Denali.

What movies did you film for this past winter?
I was filming with Stellar Media Productions, who is doing a ton of the shooting for "Pretty Faces," Lynsey Dyer's ski movie. We shot at Kicking Horse, British Columbia, and then we flew into Golden Alpine Holidays, off of Rogers Pass, and we spent a week touring. We finished our season up in Haines filming with Seaba Heli, all for "Pretty Faces."

What are your plans for the upcoming ski season?
My sister, Elyssa, is currently in Thailand and I will meet her in Indonesia this fall, where we will surf for a couple months. And when the holidays roll around we will have hopefully made it to meet our mother's side of the family in Noosa, just north of Brisbane, Australia, where we will surf for sure. I am not sure of my plans after that for this winter. I might be itching to ski by then. It'll be full-on winter in the Northern Hemisphere, so I'll make moves depending on my financial situation and sponsorship at the time.

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