Lead Photo Credit: Sophie Danison
The Greenland Ice Sheet is a massive body of ice that covers roughly 80% of Greenland. At roughly 1.7 million square kilometers, it is the world’s second-largest ice cap. With this much white stuff covering its surface Greenland’s allure to skiers is apparent and has been featured in many ski films including Warren Miller. However, for as magnetizing as Greenland can be to skiers and snowboarders there is one major issue. The snow there is starting to disappear, and at an alarming rate.
Both Greenland’s incredible ski lines and its distressingly shrinking ice cap are now the focus of a new film, Going Greenland, set to debut this winter. In an effort to shed light on this major environmental issue, athletes Rachael Burks and Jessica Baker set out on a harrowing journey in a renewable energy sailboat along Greenland’s West coast fjords and towering mountains. Throughout their inspiring journey, they some untouched ski lines while bringing awareness to the seriousness of climate change.
Skiing Greenland in the Hottest Year on Record
The journey for professional skiers Jessica Baker, Rachael Burks, photographer Joey Schusler, and sailboat captain Benjamin Ruffieux began back in May of 2019. At that time, they embarked on a journey to the West Coast of Greenland to explore uncharted waters and un-skied lines from a 50-ft sailboat.
Doing so was an interesting choice in itself. Moving from place to place by boat isn’t exactly the most common way to ski. Combine that with the unknown fact that 2019 was on its way to becoming the second hottest year on record and this could have been a recipe for disaster. On the contrary, it turns out that this trip worked out really well. The corn cycle provided weeks of amazing skiing while the team witnessed massive melting events and unprecedented warm temperatures atop the world’s second largest ice cap. Thus the seeds were sown for the creation of a new film.
Similar Journey With One Key Modification
Fast forward three years. The world is emerging from the pandemic. Borders have opened, travel has loosened and it was time for Jessica Baker and Rachael Burks to return to Greenland. Their mission this time around was twofold. They wanted to observe and document the changes in climate from the last three years and they wanted to harvest some of that corn from the un-skied lines they missed out on last time. There was one tiny change – the sailboat has now been transformed into a renewable energy boat, running purely on sun and wind power.
As if skiing Greenland’s untouched steepest lines isn’t hard enough. To do so while navigating Greenland’s coast and fjords in a boat powered only by sun and wind is compromising as the skiing is challenging. The end result? An inspiring and formidable journey all captured in their new film, Going Greenland.
Enjoying What We Love Without Destroying the Environment
Going Greenland documents this very story. More than just your average ski film, the movie explores humankind’s desire to interact with nature without destroying the very environment we need to do so. How do we continue to enjoy the activities we love, like skiing, as we push forward into the future? Find out as Rachael and Jessica work through some of these challenges while still managing to tick off big ski lines in the remote and wild landscapes and seascapes of Western Greenland and the Greenland Ice Sheet.
Going Greenland is set to premiere on January 5, 2023 at the Center For the Arts, Jackson, WY, USA with additional film tour dates coming soon in 2023. For now, you can check out the trailer for this inspirational journey here:
Rich Stoner is the founder of the après-ski lifestyle clothing and media brand, All About Après, and the co-host of the Beyond the Après podcast. No stranger to the ski and après-ski scene, Rich has been a long time contributor for many publications on topics like skiing, gear, beer and food. However, his passion is on the slopes and enjoying good times with good people. You can find him perfecting his craft carving turns and drinking beers in the Green Mountains of Vermont. @allaboutapres