I grew up in the US in Maine. I was addicted to skiing at an early age and began racing, competing at every rope tow and one lift ski area in New England. I attended the University of Maine since they would pay for my racing and managed to graduate with a degree in Political Science since I could attend all Tuesday and Thursday classes which gave me 4 days a week to race and train. After a short stint trying to make a living as a professional ski racer I moved to Jackson Hole. Working as a ski instructor and guiding ski touring this was my introduction to big mountains and climbing. VW bus, Grateful Dead concerts, and tens of thousands of hours skiing and climbing, you know the story.
Telemark skiing was pretty much non existent but having seen photos of turn of the century Norwegians I became interested and began experimenting. Surprisingly the sport grew and with a few years competitions were starting up in Colorado. Beginning with a few fun loving hippies the tongue in cheek named “North American Championships”. As much a festival as a race, things became seriously completive with racers eventually showing up from all over the world. Being a dual elimination format with 32 racers qualifying, the race required 11 (including qualifying) flawless runs to win. Somehow I managed to put together 44 high speed runs with 50mm skis and leather boots winning four North American Championships in a row. In 1990 I won the GS race at the first official world telemark championships. http://www.ustsa.org/2017/09/25/whitney-thurlow/
During these years I was doing back to back winters after discovering the delights of winter in New Zealand. My “summers” were spent running the ski patrol at Cardrona (two rope tows at that time) and helping set up a Nordic skiing operation in the Pisa Range. After 25 winters in a row I settled down in New Zealand with my new partner Susie, our wonderful son Beach materialized a year later. Needing summer employment for the first time I began my guides training gaining IFMGA status after many years hard work. I lived a life of working heliskiing in the winter and guiding climbers in the summer. I was attracted to doing long treks in the NZ backcountry many of which required climbing skills. Since no one offered this type of trip commercially I started New Zealand Wild Walks with Rabbit Pass becoming my home away from home. Wild Walks grew and soon it required administrative staff so a merging with Aspiring Guides provided both companies with a new opportunities. Running Aspiring Guides with business partner Andy Oxley absorbed all my energy until we sold the company in 2017.
Since selling Aspiring Guides I have been pursuing my interests guiding in New Zealand and Italy and Norway and Peru. I have an annual “kite surfer in residence” program in Northern Peru where along with other mountain guides we climb no higher than from the hotel steps down to the longest wave in the world.
Awards & Professional Qualifications:
- Winner of 2017 NZMGA Andy Harris Award
- Owner-Operator Aspiring Guides Ltd.
- Founder of New Zealand Wild Walks
- 75 Ascents Mount Aspiring
- 30 Years Heliskiing with Harris Mountains Heliskiing
- Assessor for NZMGA Climbing and Skiing
- Training Officer NZMGA 5 years
- IFMGA Guide
- World Championship Telemark GS 1990
- United States Telemark Ski Team
- North American Telemark Champion x 4
- Member of PSIA Nordic Demonstration Team
- Fully Qualified Alpine ski Instructor PSIA
- Fully Qualified Nordic Instructor PSIA
- Captain University of Maine Div. 1 Ski Team