Now That The Playa Dust Has Settled: Pro Skiers At Burning Man

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Big mountain freerider Sage Cattabriga-Alosa has been to Burning Man 11 times. When there, he lives in a solar-powered air-conditioned tipi with his lady,Annie Weinert. September 30, 2011 — Sam Petri Burning Man,the annual weeklong festival held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert doesn’t just attract average hippies. It attracts professional ski-hippies, too. While the flat, arid landscape would seem to be an unlikely place to find people who slide on snow for a living, it’s the location of a huge party. And skiers like to party. Now that the playa dust has settled, caught up with a handful of pro skiers to find out about their experience at Burning Man, an event that attracted 50,000 people this past August. Read below for a Burning Man account from Freeskiing World Tour competitor Jacqui Edgerly and from Burning Man veteran Sage Cattabriga-Alosa. Freeskier Lynsey Dyer attended with climber, skier, mountaineer and photographer Jimmy Chin. Nick DeVore and Cody Barnhill were spotted in the crowd. And even though she didn't attend this year, Edgerly says Ingrid Backstrom has been to Burning Man 10 times. All the skiers agree that Burning Man is a place where freedom, community and radical self expression abound. Sounds kind of like Gaper Day, only a weeklong and in the desert.

Professional freeskier Jacqui Edgerly rides her bike across the playa during the 2011 Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada. Jacqui Edgerly: I was in Chile skiing for a Freeskier Magazine feature with Angel Collinson, Ingrid Backstrom, Adam Clark and Nicole Birkhold. All summer I had been on the fence about going to Burning Man because I wasn't sure where I would be or what I would be doing late August. But as the last days of my trip were rapping up in South America, I received a few emails from my sister, Elyssa, and her boyfriend, Josh, who had been the year before and had been trying to talk me into going. They had a ticket for me. I had a ride. … All I needed to do was pack up and be ready the day after I got home. I figured, what the hell?

Edgerly takes a rest in an art hammock. And a big part of my decision was Ingrid. She has been for like ten years or something and couldn't stop raving about it, telling me what an amazing experience I would have. Plus, I had twenty friends all going together as the Elk Mountain Tribe. Nick and Katrina DeVore were also camping with us. While I was there I ran into Sage, Lynsey Dyer and Jimmy Chin. So Burning Man, whoa. Freedom, unity and inspiration. It is a place where everyone is there to BE. Be who they truly are and connect and share their experiences with who ever is around at that moment. There is self expression with minimal judgment. It is a place where you could never get bored. There is everything and anything ... your wildest dreams to your worst nightmare.

Edgerly takes in the sights at Burning Man. Sage Cattabriga-Alosa: This was my eleventh Burning Man and every year it’s a different experience, and the highlights are always something unexpected and unique. We were in the desert for 11 days, living in our solar powered air-conditioned tipi. I love living in the tipi, it’s such a great space to really get to settle into. I ran in to several other skiers out on the playa, Cody Barnhill and I spent some good time together. I ran into Jacqui Edgerly several times all over the playa, checked out the apres ski party that a Tahoe-Whistler crew puts on, and I also ran into a few fans.

Sage is ready to hit Black Rock City with his lady, Annie. Lynsey Dyer: Burning man is this place where people get to be who they really are. There's no cellphones, no computers, no one with an agenda trying to sell you anything and everyone leaves their judgments at the gate. It's inspiring to see so many people put so much effort into everything from giant art projects to music venues to costumes all because they're passionate about it.

Lynsey being Lynsey at Burning Man 2011. No one's making money off this stuff so inspiration can flourish. Refreshing would be a good word for it, in so many ways by being able to ride your bike as far as you can see into the flat desert with no rules, to the art that no amount of describing could convey, to the tribal living where everyone takes care of each other. It's simplifying life for a few days of the year to reflect what you choose to see. Expect the unexpected! You can happen upon some crazy lecture on a topic you never thought about like oil bathing or a Madhatter Tea Party to a parade of jellyfish. For us, its a place to really connect with friends we don't get to spend much quality time with during the rest of the year, disconnect from the digital world and experience things we'd never be able to otherwise.

Jimmy Hartman and Jimmy Chin in the Nevada desert. Sure, it has a reputation of a place where a bunch of hippies go to do drugs in the desert, and if you're looking for that it's there. but overall it's expanding experience for all, and a real life example of conscious community. If you come with an open mind and the right intentions, it can be profound. As with everything, it comes with good and the bad. But overall, I find it's an expanding experience and as always, it's what you make of it.

Lynsey Dyer and Jimmy Chin together at Burning Man.

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