© Holmlands by Matt Grayson
Professional skier, climate change advocate, storyteller and mother, Izzy Lynch, has been skiing since she was a child and started ski racing at the age of nine. As an adult, she competed on the Freeride World Tour and since retiring from competing has focused on backcountry skiing, combining her love of powder adventures with her talent for filmmaking.
Based in the mountain town of Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada, Izzy features in Holmlands’ latest film project, The Revelstoke Diaries (watch the trailer below), set to be released online on Sunday. With a new winter just around the corner, we caught up with Izzy, who is mum to three-year-old Knox, ahead of the release of the project to learn more about her life in the Columbia Mountains, the work she does with Protect Our Winters Canada and her upcoming film, Motherload.
You wear multiple career ‘hats’ and you’re a mum to three-year-old Knox – how often do you manage to get outdoors?
Daily time outside is necessary for me, so I get out very regularly. As a mom, I am balancing a lot, so there are less big days in the mountains as before, but I am ever more appreciative of them when they do happen.
You live in Revelstoke, a dream destination for winter sports and the outdoors. What does a typical day in your life look like these days?
These days it involves an early morning wake up by my three-year-old, followed by a bike ride down the street to his daycare. I am spending my days working at the Mountain Colab (a co-working space in downtown Revelstoke) on projects with Protect Our Winters Canada. I try to fit in a trail run or mountain bike or ride or hike almost every day, which isn’t too hard since access to trails is pretty amazing around here.
Can you tell us about your upcoming film, Motherload, and what inspired it?
Motherload is a film that celebrates our connection to the mountains and how it helps us heal and grow when life presents us with challenges or takes twists and turns that we don’t expect. It is about going through loss and really living (not just surviving) through it. It was inspired by our kids and our own moms who never let life get in the way of them getting us and themselves out in the mountains.
Embracing motherhood without losing your former identity can be tricky and emotional. As a high achieving athlete, what has your own experience been like?
It has been challenging and rewarding in every possible way. Some parents are good at compartmentalizing the ‘old’ them and the ‘new’ them and playing those roles separately. But I have a hard time doing that. I have observed many women go through the transition to motherhood in my community over the years and the ones that made it look the most fun and fulfilling to me were those who fully accepted the metamorphosis that goes along with it rather than worry about losing their former identity.
I know that becoming a mother doesn’t erase the fact that I am an athlete, just like it doesn’t change that I am a sister or a partner or a friend. Whether you become a parent or not, constantly transforming as a human is something that none of us can avoid. It is not always the most graceful process, but for me, it feels better to accept and celebrate evolution in myself, and all of the growth and growing pains that go along with it.
Do you have a circle of fellow outdoor parents and athlete friends in similar positions with whom you can share the highs and lows?
Oh ya. I am surrounded by badass moms and dads who I can celebrate and commiserate with.
You’ve said that Motherload is about ‘the absolute absurdity of taking your kids skiing’. Have you had any funny or disastrous experiences getting Knox on the slopes?
The first time I took Knox on a chairlift I loaded him on, we high-fived and I suddenly noticed his ski boot and ski had completely fallen off. Luckily I had him on a harness that attaches around the ankles so the boot/ski combo was just dangling 10 feet below us. I was able to hoist it back up and pop it on his foot.
We’ve had forgotten gear, meltdowns, crashes, not enough snacks, freezing cold hands, diaper blowouts and naps half-way down the run. It is always an adventure and there are many times when I’ve carried him across a flat section or through deep snow sweating and wondering what drives me to do it. But at the end of the day, it’s so much better than being inside, and for him, there is nothing a hot chocolate and a nap in the car on the way home can’t fix.
You work with Protect Our Winters Canada (POW). Can you share what this involves?
As the Program Director, I work closely with a staff of two other people to develop programs that get outdoor enthusiasts excited about climate action. Ultimately, we are working to create enough momentum in the outdoor space to push our federal decision-makers to enforce policy solutions that will give us a fighting chance against climate change.
Has working with POW led you to make any lifestyle adjustments or changes of your own?
I am way more conscious of my daily activities. I bike and walk more and drive less, I travel less, I feel immensely guilty if I ever forget my reusable cup or shopping bags. I also pay a lot more attention to local and federal politics.
Have you any thoughts regarding what we can all do to enjoy the outdoors and winter sports responsibly and sustainably?
There are zillions of little decisions you can make, from taking better care of your gear so that you don’t need to replace it as often to recreating closer to home, ski touring instead of heli-skiing or snowmobiling, carpooling to the ski resort, thinking about what you pack in your lunch … the list goes on and on.
You started ski racing when you were 9 and went on to compete on the Freeride World Tour. Do you ever miss competing?
Not at all! I loved it while I was doing it, but I have found other ways to push myself in the mountains that are much less stressful. If I missed anything it would be the community that goes along with competing, but luckily I still get to ski with lots of the friends I made ski racing and doing freeride competitions.
In terms of skiing and adventure, is there anything left on your bucket list?
Ski powder until I am 90.
What are your favourite items of kit for outdoor life right now?
Right now my Arc’teryx Norvan LD running shoes are what get me out the door the most often – and are hopefully going to get me in shape for skis season.
Are you sponsored by anyone at the moment?
Arc’teryx, Atomic, Giro, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Thule.
Follow Izzy at www.instagram.com/Izzy_lynch to keep up to date with her adventures and for updates on the release of her new film Motherload (follow via www.instagram.com/thisisthemotherload). In the meantime, check out her first film project Kindred.
The Revelstoke Diaries film and web series will be available on the Holmlands Vimeo and YouTube channels, as well as Amazon Prime. The main film drops on Sunday October 4th with web series episodes dropping daily the following week. Stay tuned to updates via Holmlands’ website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.
Watch the full The Revelstoke Diaries film online here on October 4*:
Watch Episode two of The Revelstoke Diaries we series featuring Izzy Lynch and Greg Hill here on October 13*:
*You can set reminders to receive a notification as to when the films go live.