Interview: big-mountain skier Chris Davenport

Skier Chris Davenport talks about the boots he built, where he's been, and where he's going next.
Chris Davenport freeskis in Denali National Park, AK, USA, on 12 April 2012.
Chris Davenport, freeski line in Denali. © Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool
By Dave Waag

World class ski mountaineer Chris Davenport has made a name for himself by climbing and skiing some of the worlds most iconic mountains. From the Rockies to the Alps and even Mount Everest, Davenport has proven time and again that he can rise to a challenge with style. Dave Waag sits Chris down for some questions. 

Red Bull: The big question – what’s next?

Chris Davenport: I leave on November 1 for my fourth trip to Antarctica. It’s my favourite place in world to climb and ski. It’s so pristine, the terrain is incredible and there’s very little avalanche hazard. You also start at sea level, so there’s no altitude issue. You can really go for it.

Portrait of Chris Davenport, taken in Chamonix, France, on 17 February 2011.
Chris Davenport in Chamonix. © Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

RB: What was your role in the new Scarpa AT boots?

CD: I signed on as a Scarpa athlete to help develop the new Freedom series AT boots. It’s Scarpa’s first effort to make a ski boot with alpine foundations rather than AT. I flew to Italy straight from a mountaineering trip on Denali with a vision for my ideal boot design in mind.

Characteristics like low volume – not clunky and big like many AT boots - and overall weight were important factors. I wanted to maximize the power and control to weight ratio. Tech compatibility and regular alpine binding compatibility were important, too.

After my presentation, the Scarpa team brought in a mock-up, and we knew we were on the same page. The Freedom performs as well as any alpine ski boot on the market, and they draw on Scarpa’s alpine touring experience to set a new level of touring performance. 

RB: Your film Australis, filmed entirely in Antarctica, opened many eyes to the skiing opportunities there.

CD: Yeah, my first trip to Antarctica was eye opening. I wanted to share the experience. I thought, if I’m not aware of the opportunities in Antarctica, there are a lot of people who don’t know, and I wanted to share how great it is.

Chris Davenport freeskis in Denali National Park, AK, USA, on 11 April 2012.
Chris Davenport, downhill on Denali. © Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

RB: Any other projects you can share?

CD: The Centennial Skier Project – climbing and skiing the 100 highest summits in Colorado with two partners, Christy and Ted Mahon. The list includes the Fourteeners [53 peaks above 14,000 feet (4,270m)], which all three of us have climbed and skied, so now we’re focusing on the Thirteeners [47 peaks above 13,000 feet]. It’s been a great challenge. Last spring we climbed and skied 30 peaks in 36 days – the logistical and technical challenge has been really rewarding. You can follow us at

Chris Davenport high up the mountain
Chris Davenport walks up a mountain in Chamonix © Christian Pondella/Red Bull Content Pool

RB: You skied all of Colorado’s 14ers in one season, climbed Everest and now the Centennial Ski Project. Goal oriented?

CD: The more you achieve and put it out there, the more great ideas fall in your lap. One of my favorite sayings is by French alpinist Gaston Rebuffat; “A goal without a plan is just a wish!” Once you’ve got a goal and plan, it’s game on, let’s do this thing. It’s deeply rewarding for me to pull it off.”

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