Play Reverse Play Icons Cross Icon Next Icon Prev Loader Navigation Icon Search Logo Shape Hamburger Pin icon Icon filter icon Group
Store Icon Find a Store

Carolyn Highland

Skier, Trail Runner, Writer, Teacher  Image
Hometown Yarmouth, Maine
Current Town Truckee, California
Instagram @c_highland

Carolyn is a writer, author and teacher who enjoys absurd sufferfests, pocket cheese sticks and deep, meaningful conversations on the skin track. Carolyn’s work has been featured in print and online outlets such as Backcountry Magazine, The Ski Journal, Teton Gravity Research, and, among others. Her first book, Out Here: Wisdom from the Wilderness, was published by Rocky Mountain Books in 2020. Carolyn was also featured in the Backcountry Magazine film series "The New Class," profiling the modern ski bum. When not teaching students how to use their voices to fight the climate crisis and systems of oppression, she can be found cooking up big ski tours and trail runs in the mountains.

Which of Stio's values personally align to you?

"Outside is for everyone" resonates deeply with me. A connection with the outdoors is something all human beings deserve to have, and yet many communities have historically been excluded from these spaces. It is all of our responsibility to create space for people at all intersections of identity in the outdoors, to cultivate a more inclusive outdoor community and to lift up marginalized voices, stories and leaders. As a teacher, I am constantly trying to instill in young people a sense of inherent responsibility for our collective liberation and an understanding that an outdoor space that embraces all people is what's best for everyone.

How do you create balance in your daily life?

I prioritize a balance of the different connections that sustain me between connecting to community, to loved ones, to myself and to the natural world. I connect to my community through supporting children in their learning and growth at school. I connect to loved ones through quality time spent adventuring outdoors, sharing meals, having meaningful conversations and showing up for each other. I connect to myself by creating intentional time to journal, meditate and read. And I connect to the natural world through backcountry skiing, nordic skiing, trail running, mountain biking, backpacking and swimming. I find I feel the happiest and most grounded when the balance between these manners of connection is right.

What is a bucket list activity you have yet to do or a place that you have yet to go?

A hut-to-hut trail running trip in Switzerland, Italy or France!

What is your go-to workout music?

Get Up Offa That Thing by James Brown—always gets me out of the pain cave!

What is a piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to pursue a life of mountain sports and adventures?

Embrace the stance of a lifelong learner! No matter what level you're at, there are things you can bone up on to enhance your experiences and the experiences of others. Whether it's maps and navigation, wilderness first aid, technical skills in a specific sport, environmental stewardship, backcountry cooking, or communication with your partners, being open to continued growth and progression is crucial! Take opportunities to be mentored, and to mentor others!