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Exclusive: Adventures with Dav

Big-mountain skier Chris Davenport finds steep lines and narrow couloirs in Norway.

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“At the entrance to the Svalbard airport is this sign, which reminds you how far you are from anywhere else.  It also reminds you that polar bears…

“At the entrance to the Svalbard airport is this sign, which reminds you how far you are from anywhere else. It also reminds you that polar bears are around and caution should be taken.” —Chris Davenport

“Before we embarked on our journey north from the capitol town of Longyearbyen, we did a training tour above the town to loosen our legs and check…

“Before we embarked on our journey north from the capitol town of Longyearbyen, we did a training tour above the town to loosen our legs and check the snow. This face made for some double-black diamond skinning.” —Chris Davenport

“This is a memorial to some Russian coal miners at the Russian mining town of Pyramiden, which we stopped at on our sail back to Longyearbyen at the…

“This is a memorial to some Russian coal miners at the Russian mining town of Pyramiden, which we stopped at on our sail back to Longyearbyen at the end of the trip.” —Chris Davenport

“Loading up the boat is a really fun process.  Everyone is filled with anticipation for an awesome trip but are a little nervous about the open-ocean…

“Loading up the boat is a really fun process. Everyone is filled with anticipation for an awesome trip but are a little nervous about the open-ocean sailing. Our blue sailboat, Arctica II, is just hiding behind that white boat on the left.” —Chris Davenport

“Everywhere you look there are lines to ski.  On this day the light was really flat, and we debated just going out to climb this diamond shaped face,…

“Everywhere you look there are lines to ski. On this day the light was really flat, and we debated just going out to climb this diamond shaped face, which had a couple of couloir options on it. In the end we opted to cruise and check out some other new zones.” —Chris Davenport

“I think this may have been my last ski photo from the trip.  The clouds began pouring over the peninsula we were on about a half hour after this…

“I think this may have been my last ski photo from the trip. The clouds began pouring over the peninsula we were on about a half hour after this shot was taken, so we decided to retreat back to the boat. The couloir-filled zone in the distance is called Kong Haakons Halvoy, which was one of the best zones we skied during our trip.” —Chris Davenport

“Ingrid Backstrom, myself, and James “Heimer” Heim (from left to right) worked our way up a nice, wide, warm-up run.  There is our little sailboat in…

“Ingrid Backstrom, myself, and James “Heimer” Heim (from left to right) worked our way up a nice, wide, warm-up run. There is our little sailboat in the fjord. The machine, otherwise known as photographer Christian Pondella, had put in the boot pack.” —Chris Davenport

“Ice is everywhere on Svalbard.  In fact it covers the majority of the land up there.  These big valley glaciers are beautiful but dangerous.  They…

“Ice is everywhere on Svalbard. In fact it covers the majority of the land up there. These big valley glaciers are beautiful but dangerous. They can move meters in a day and surge even more.” —Chris Davenport

“Ingrid Backstrom and I ascend our first couloir of the trip after about 18 hours of sailing north from Longyearbyen.  We were really excited about…

“Ingrid Backstrom and I ascend our first couloir of the trip after about 18 hours of sailing north from Longyearbyen. We were really excited about the quality of the snow and fired up to stretch our legs by climbing upwards.” —Chris Davenport

“This is me in the same first couloir that Ingrid and I climbed.  The sense that you are skiing right into the ocean is very real.  I love skiing at…

“This is me in the same first couloir that Ingrid and I climbed. The sense that you are skiing right into the ocean is very real. I love skiing at sea level because you don’t get tired. There is so much oxygen that your muscles just keep firing.” —Chris Davenport

“Yes, we ski with guns on Svalbard.  There are bears everywhere and you do not want them to get close to you.  Here guide and long-time friend Andrew…

“Yes, we ski with guns on Svalbard. There are bears everywhere and you do not want them to get close to you. Here guide and long-time friend Andrew Eisenstark inspects a couloir for signs of polar bear farts (no, not really).” —Chris Davenport

“This is an awesome angle of Ingrid shredding a steep, narrow couloir on Kong Haakons Halvoy, an incredible peninsula of couloirs and faces.  This…

“This is an awesome angle of Ingrid shredding a steep, narrow couloir on Kong Haakons Halvoy, an incredible peninsula of couloirs and faces. This was some of the best snow of the trip. The first day the sun came out, we tried to climb back up a neighboring couloir and almost got killed by a big avalanche. We were beginning to climb when I noticed a cloud near the top, and after about a second, I realized it was a powder cloud—there was an avalanche coming our way. I screamed at Christian Pondella, who was above me, and Michelle Parker, who was below me, to run to the side of the couloir and get out of the way. A split second later a massive slide came ripping past us at full velocity.” —Chris Davenport

“This would be a typical start to our ski days on Svalbard.  We would land the zodiac with some idea of what we wanted to do, only to find something…

“This would be a typical start to our ski days on Svalbard. We would land the zodiac with some idea of what we wanted to do, only to find something else that looked amazing. Leading the group here is Ingrid Backstrom, followed by me, James “Heimer” Heim, and Michelle Parker. Our sailboat, the Artica II, is there just off my tips.” —Chris Davenport

“Michelle Parker, a Red Bull teammate of mine, is just beginning to dial in her ski mountaineering skill-set, so this trip to Svalbard was a great…

“Michelle Parker, a Red Bull teammate of mine, is just beginning to dial in her ski mountaineering skill-set, so this trip to Svalbard was a great skills builder for her.” —Chris Davenport

“Michelle Parker and I climbed up this steep, rocky pinnacle to access this couloir.  We could have climbed straight up, but we decided some light…

“Michelle Parker and I climbed up this steep, rocky pinnacle to access this couloir. We could have climbed straight up, but we decided some light alpinism on the rock and snow would be more fun and better training. Our sailboat is hiding down in that little bay in the distance.” —Chris Davenport

“This was our final ski day of the trip, and we were just looking around to see what we could find.  Sometimes you just have to open up your senses…

“This was our final ski day of the trip, and we were just looking around to see what we could find. Sometimes you just have to open up your senses and let the terrain find you. Sometimes things are right in front of you, and it’s not until the sun moves across the sky and the light changes that the ski lines become apparent. As we crested this high pass, a curious arctic fox joined us.” —Chris Davenport

“This was another one of my favorite moments of the trip.  The light was so amazing on this high ice field. We could look into the fjord where we…

“This was another one of my favorite moments of the trip. The light was so amazing on this high ice field. We could look into the fjord where we started skinning, and, in the distance, we could see the open Arctic Ocean. This is guide Jason Mack and myself checking the zone.” —Chris Davenport

“This was one of my favorite lines from the trip.  We were at a bit of a loss on what to ski after a mid-day session on the other side of this ridge.…

“This was one of my favorite lines from the trip. We were at a bit of a loss on what to ski after a mid-day session on the other side of this ridge. Out of curiosity we ski toured over a small pass and into this valley that had all these amazing lines on a north-facing wall. Climbing that snow spine at the top, near the ridge, was a real highlight for me.” —Chris Davenport

“This is James “Heimer” Heim shredding a ridge of soft, wind-deposited snow.  I was so psyched he decided to join us in Svalbard.” —Chris Davenport

“This is James “Heimer” Heim shredding a ridge of soft, wind-deposited snow. I was so psyched he decided to join us in Svalbard.” —Chris Davenport

“After an awesome day of touring and filming, sometimes you just want to throw a group air-split.  Obviously James 'Heimer' Heim and I ate too much…

“After an awesome day of touring and filming, sometimes you just want to throw a group air-split. Obviously James ‘Heimer’ Heim and I ate too much on the boat because we couldn’t get off the ground as quickly as Michelle Parker and Ingrid Backstrom. That wall of couloirs in the distance was one of the coolest spots we skied and has tons of options for future trips.” —Chris Davenport

Click here to watch the Faces of Dav video series.