Skintrack Mind: Thoughts During the Uphill Journey

A letter from the executive director of Winter Wildlands Alliance

Wilderness touches people in diverse ways. For me, wilderness connects, motivates, inspires, and calms my being. I feel an awe that comes with new experiences, or even the same experiences on a different day. Venturing into the wilderness forces me to be truly in the moment, which never fails to give me a new perspective and a certain awareness. The connection I feel to this type of refuge culminates when I experience the wilderness with partners. We have fun while being safe and together we foster an appreciation of wild spaces. I am passionate about protecting winter wildlands because without fail they give us unique experiences.  

Winter Wildlands Alliance is made up of members, communities, groups, and organizations who are all motivated to stand for the places we love. Together, we are a unified voice. It’s our mission to protect and keep these spaces wild and quiet. Our work protects these landscapes year-roundwhat we do is not limited to the season when snow falls. But winter stands apart from other seasons. It offers a refuge and it ignites courage and passion for us to uphold pristine, unspoiled places. Public lands belong to all of us, yet they are constantly threatened.  


Winter Wildlands Alliance is forging a path ahead and the future is bright 

  • Our national SnowSchool program is fostering the next generation of student scientists, explorers, and stewards, giving under-served kids experiences on snow and in the field. This year, our students are collecting valuable snowpack data to help NASA scientists. 
  • In its 15th year, the Backcountry Film Festival continues to grow with a tour that visits over 100 locations nationwide.  
  • At our 8th biennial Grassroots Advocacy Conference, we chose the theme “Growing Equity in Public Lands” not because we have the answers, but because we want to ask questions and do the work to be better.  
  • Climate change is the biggest threat to our future and what we do is geared not only toward saving winter, but saving our planet.  
  • As forest planning continues, we are engaged to ensure our advocacy and policy efforts have lasting impacts and set precedents for quietwild winter places locally and nationally. 


We look forward to continuing our positive impact with SnowSchool, policy work, advocacy throughout the country, the Backcountry Film Festival tour, and keeping you involved. Our mission is always to defend, advocate for, and engage with winter recreation on public lands. And we’re continuing to learn, evolve, and break new trail. 


My personal gratitude goes out to our community, members, and alliances. If you aren’t a part of it yet, we need you.  


Join Us and Keep Winter Wild! 

—Todd Walton, Executive Director 

Become a member and help Winter Wildlands Alliance protect the places you love to backcountry ski.