I couldn’t move. Couldn’t bend over. Couldn’t shift my neck or my upper back. I was paralyzed. Our group was just getting it together one morning a week or so ago at Lost Trail Lodge, a backcountry cabin near Truckee, Calif. on a trip organized by the team at Patagonia.
We’d skied/snowboarded in from Sugar Bowl Resort the day before, made a few glorious laps in the northern Sierra backcountry before trekking into the lodge to spend two nights. Iris Lazzareschi was one of our guides. And she is a badass.
“Maybe it happened when you fell yesterday,” she said gently.
“Fell,” I asked defensively, trying not to move. “Fell when?”
“Oh, maybe you didn’t fall.” She eased up on my ego. She then proceeded to fill me with home remedies that, as miracles go, saved my week of shredding the backcountry, helping to loosen up the stiff muscle somewhere down in my shoulder blade. And she scrambled all over the mountains that week, helping people put skins on, assisting less experienced riders re-assemble their splitboards into actual snowboards they could ride, petting male egos, and generally keeping the group psyched. Iris has an insane resume: She works for Exum Mountain guides out of Jackson Hole. She’s a former Freeride World Tour athlete. She has incredible style. And she teaches intro splitboarding classes to get women who snowboard out into the backcountry. Something that could easily be life-changing for so many ladies who yearn for wild snow. Even if they don’t know it yet.
“Unfamiliar equipment can be intimidating for novice splitboarders,” she says. “But it doesn’t have to be. I love to get women familiar with splitboard gear, practicing techniques for efficient uphill travel and transitions. It’s really rewarding work.”
Iris teaches her three-day clinics in Wyoming’s Snake River Range and Teton National Park out of Jackson. Late notice here, as her next class is this weekend, March 10-12, but she has one on the books for the third weekend in January 2018, and one in the works for the Tahoe area (date to be determined). And I’m sure she’d be open to private lessons. She also has gear for those that don’t have their own splitboard.
Backcountry touring doesn’t have to be gnarly. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be. But it should be fun as hell. And in some cases, change one’s outlook on life. And Iris is the type of person that can do that for you. Trust me. She definitely turned my outlook around that morning at Lost Trail.
Hit up Iris @ Irismarielazz@gmail.com