Julie’s Gift — Birthday Powder at Valhalla

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 18, 2012      
Julie enjoys her birthday present, a few thousand vert of Kootenay cold smoke.

Julie enjoys her birthday present, a few thousand vert of Kootenay cold smoke out of Valhalla Mountain Touring's Ruby Creek Lodge. Click images to enlarge.

Julie is legend. Co-owner of Climbing Magazine as it achieved astounding success back in the day. Lifelong skier who’s been around the planet at least thirty times on Ptex. Mother of alpinist Hayden Kennedy. Founder of 5Point Film Festival. And now proud owner of two new bionic knees — doing the ultimate in gear testing by logging laps in the Selkirk mountains of Canada. Makes binding testing look kind of meager (though she’s a WildSnow Girl so she does that too). Happy Birthday Julie!

Another Julie shot, this time by husband Michael. Kootenay powder, Valhalla!

Another Julie shot, this time by husband Michael. Kootenay powder, Valhalla!

That's Julie's husband Michael.

That's Julie's husband, Michael. She taught him how to ski.

A few words from Julie:
“Wow, I have had some amazingly memorable days in my life, but my day as a WildSnow Girl, celebrating my birthday with friends and family at Valhalla Mountain Touring is right up there as the best day I’ve ever had on skis. So much to be grateful for – thank you Dawson family for making such a magical family holiday become reality, lodge owners Evan & Jasmin for including the Kennedys, Hayden and Louie for coming along and giving us such joy as our wonderful sons. You all have totally rocked my world!”

It’s always fun having someone’s birthday at a hut (Linzer tort birthday cake, toasts and singing, all better with a few meters of snow on the ground). More, today was one of those powder festivals that they say are common up here, but for those of us in Colorado are not exactly an every day event. A few more photos.

Our group

Our group, oh to toil, headed up for more human powered pow. Us, we just draft those guys up front.

Obligatory shot of Louie seeking the white room. We tried to get photos of Hayden but he moves too fast.

Obligatory shot of Louie seeking the white room. We tried to get photos of Hayden but he moves too fast. I asked Hayden if he enjoys skiing, since he's usually after some huge climb on a huge mountain. 'When I put on my shell pants it usually means the suffering will commence,' he said. 'Nice to have that signal some easy fun for a change.'

Valhalla Mountain Touring continues to deliver the goods. Wow. Check them out here on the web.


22 Responses to “Julie’s Gift — Birthday Powder at Valhalla”

  1. Stiarnadad December 18th, 2012 10:05 am

    So, what about those bionic knees? Any discomfort or issues?

    Those of us who are confronted with the option in our future would love to hear from those who have already replaced their knees!


  2. Dan December 18th, 2012 10:22 am

    Ditto on the knees and Happy Holidays to y’all.

  3. Julie Kennedy December 18th, 2012 10:35 am

    Anyone out there struggling with significant knee pain while skiing should absolutely bite the bullet and don’t hesitate. Get total knee replacement. If you are in good health, and you have two bad knees, get them done both at once. I feel totally reborn. I can’t describe how wonderful. No swelling, no pain. These photos are 8 months post op, and I feel better on my skis than I have for 20 years, maybe ever.

  4. Mike December 18th, 2012 10:50 am

    Hey Julie, did you break out the Coconuts like you did for Lizzie’s b-day in Chamonix?

  5. Julie Kennedy December 18th, 2012 12:00 pm

    Busted! I’ll bring those out tonight. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Gail Jensen December 18th, 2012 12:17 pm

    Hello to Birthday girlfriend Julie, my old friend Michael, and of course Jasmin (remember hut slaving at Selkirk Lodge on St. Patrick Day – the day we skied Ruby in waist deep powder?)!

    Dave and I are still skiing in the Tetons and sometimes beyond. We hope to get to Canada again very soon.

    Best wishes to all old friends! Gail and Dave

  7. julie Kennedy December 18th, 2012 12:33 pm

    Big hugs to you Gail – a voice from the past, such a sweet surprise! Of course our worlds should connect, we are all still lovin’ this blessed life of skiing, amen!

    See you in Jackson this winter, psyched to reconnect and ski with my dear old friend.

    Happy Holidays,

  8. Colin Lantz December 18th, 2012 3:29 pm

    Looks like fun. Happy Birthday Julie.

  9. Louie Dawson December 18th, 2012 6:59 pm

    Nice! Best skiing of the season! Glad those knees are working. Happy birthday, Julie!

  10. George December 18th, 2012 7:07 pm

    Julie, Wow you are amazing. Happy birthday in knee+ deep pow. You sure will make your doctor and therapist proud. Enjoy Valhalla!

  11. George December 18th, 2012 7:08 pm

    Happy Powder-Day Julie!

  12. Lisa Dawson December 18th, 2012 7:24 pm

    Julie, we are sooo lucky to be with you at this beautiful place. Wow, wow, wow!

  13. Julie Kennedy December 18th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Happy Holidays George,

    Oh man, I’m reborn with these new knees. Words can’t describe my gratitude to Dr. Adams and team for giving me my dance back.

  14. Julie Kennedy December 18th, 2012 7:56 pm

    Happy Holidays Colin,

    Thank you for your kind words. If only we Coloradians could have just a taste of this Canadian ski action. Sending good vibes for more Colorado snow.

    Cheers to the New Year,

  15. Patrick December 18th, 2012 11:52 pm

    VMT had an esteemed guest in 1981, the renowned Helen Butling from Nelson, BC. Helen also had two bionic knees; she was in her 70s when she skied at VMT. In 1985, the Alpine Club of Canada gave Helen the Distinguished Service Award for all her alpine-related good deeds over the decades.
    My Partner Jane was cooking for VMT that 1981 winter and was wowed by Helen’s zest for life and leadership. I worked for VMT for 5 years during the 80s and have skied there many times over the past 30 years.
    Julie, glad you’re enjoying your new knees so much.
    I’m another who’ll be back in the Tetons this winter.

  16. Bob Olsen December 19th, 2012 3:39 pm

    Congratulations to Julie on her birthday and the two new knees from an old friend from your Climbing Magazine Days. My wife Deb and I will be following in your tracks @ Valhalla in three weeks.Thanks to Wild Snow for the Valhalla update

  17. Lou Dawson December 19th, 2012 4:52 pm

    Hey Bob, Julie broke some trail for you guys today. Apparently the knees have a battery supply for that extra Koot Boost when needed.

  18. Ray Timm December 20th, 2012 12:53 am

    Hi julie,

    Wondering if you would share which Drs. Adams did your surgery. Looks like I’m close to having my knees replaced.

  19. sara ransford December 20th, 2012 8:32 pm

    Yo Julie- unbelievable! just can’t believe how fast you recuperated! Gordon and i have been thinking of you guys all week, and so jealous!Hope that snow just doesn’t stop!

  20. julie Kennedy December 21st, 2012 8:43 pm

    Happy Holidays Sara,

    OMG – words could never describe our Canadian holiday, literally over the top in every way, it just doesn’t stop snowing! Wish you guys were here with us, next year baby let’s make it happen together.

    These new knees are like being reborn, my most favorite dance is finally back, so psyched!

    Can’t wait to play with you in the new year, sending good vibes for snow in Colorado!

    xoxoxo, Julie

  21. Bay Roberts January 6th, 2014 9:12 am

    Julie, Im so inspired about your new knees. I taught nordic skiing at Eldora (front range, Colorado) but had to stop because of knee pain. I stopped tele skiing and tried downhill but the pain and swelling are bad and now Ive quit all together. Reading about your knees give me hope about knee replacement. Can you tell me which Dr Adams did your knees? thanks so much, Bay

  22. Lou Dawson January 6th, 2014 9:59 am

    Bay, it would be the Adams with Orthopaedic Associates of Aspen and Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Lou

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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