Backcountry with Ali Lev


As the seasons start to change, there is still a part of us that wants to hold onto the last season. In the Pacific Northwest, the end of February and the beginning of March is a great time to take advantage of the final snowy days on the mountain. Go out solo, with your partner, or with your pups, and of course, don’t forget to throw some Underwood cans in your pack. Our friend, Ali Lev, tells her story below.

Union Wine Co Backcountry Skiing

My name is Ali Lev and my husband’s name is Brad Burnham, and we have two Husky’s named Fiona and Tucker.

Tucker is very much a mama’s boy and very rambunctious but wants to do whatever I’m doing, and Fiona is a typical husky in being very independent and beats to her own drum and comes when she feels like it. But they’re both really good. One of the motivating factors to get me outside is to see them happy and running in the snow.

Union Wine Co Backcountry Skiing

When I was a kid, one of the things that I hated about skiing was being uncomfortable, whether it was being too hot or too cold or too tired or too windy.

I hated the constant fluctuation of discomfort.

And as an adult, I kind of have embraced the discomfort a lot more because I feel like that’s when I’m challenged and I am able to, like, feel those raw feelings more. As they say in back-country skiing, you’ve really got to earn your turns. And even if you’re only doing one lap, you really got to work for it and enjoy the entire day, not just the downhill part. Oregon has been a really pleasant surprise for both Brad and I.

Union Wine Co Backcountry Wine

There’s something really special about having so much greenery all year round. You just feel like there’s life around you at all times. I think that for myself and a lot of others that struggle with mental health issues, whether that’s anxiety and depression or other things, the outdoors is a place where you can let go of all the stresses in life and just be present; creates a sense of freedom that I often don’t feel in other areas of my life.

Union Wine Co Backcountry

It’s not always about going out and having big powder turns.

Sometimes you’re not going to get that, and it’s just about getting fresh air and getting the dogs exercise and being out with friends or your partner and just enjoying the day itself.

Union Wine Co Backcountry

Find a few mental health resources below:

NAMI Oregon
Better Help
The Loveland Foundation
Bigger Than The Trail

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