Andrew McLean has been pursuing steep skiing challenges in remote locations for over two decades and has accumulated over 100 first descents. In 2007 he completed a long term quest to capture first descents on all seven continents when he traveled to Morocco to ski in the High Atlas Mountains. McLean’s specialty is ski mountaineering, which involves climbing up peaks before skiing down them. This process allows him to ski mountains where motorized access is forbidden or impractical. His passion for this sport has led to him being voted as one of the “Greatest Skiers of Our Time” by Powder Magazine and a featured segment in the Sony Classic Pictures 2007 film entitled “Steep.”
Outside of skiing, McLean’s interests include design, writing and photography. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, he worked at Black Diamond Equipment for thirteen years, creating products such as the Camalot, wire gate carabiners, Whippet, Peckers and Talon rock hook. His writings and photography have appeared in Skiing, Powder, Backcountry Magazine and numerous outdoor gear catalogs. He lives in Park City, Utah with his wife Polly who holds the world record for the greatest amount of vertical climbed and skied in 24 hours. They have a daughter named Mira, one good dog and one bad dog.
Get to know Andrew McLean
- Birth Date:
- Place of Birth:
Salt Lake City, UT
- Current Home town:
Park City, UT
- Primary Sport:
- Specialties within your sport:
Ski mountaineering, steep skiing, expedition skiing
- Other hobbies or sports:
Rock climbing, mountain unicycling, mountain biking, ultralight backpacking
- My favorite Mountain Hardwear products:
Power Stretch Zip T, Synchro Pants, Jovian Jacket, Bokta Pant
- How were you introduced to your sport?
My mother was a Ski Instructor and got us into skiing when I was four years old. Years later, I started rock climbing and met Alex Lowe, who introduced me to Ski Mountaineering.
- What inspires you?
Fantastic days in amazing environments with great friends. I don’t think I’d ski if the sport took place indoors!
- Which athletes or other individuals have been your biggest source of inspiration?
Alex Lowe for his enthusiasm and overall love of the mountains. Lou Dawson for his vast amount of experience and passion for the sport.
- What advice would you give to newcomers to skiing today?
Be patient. Ski mountaineering is a life-long pursuit that can’t be mastered in a season or two.
- What is your favorite expedition / pre-race meal?
Spaghetti carabonara – pasta, bacon, egg and spices. Hard to beat.
- What the first thing you look forward to doing after a long expedition/ race?
Changing into warm, dry, comfortable socks & shoes, eating a meal I didn’t have to prepare and then seeing my family.
- How do you balance your training schedule with your “real” job?
They complement each other. When I am out in the mountains, it helps me clear my mind to think about work related projects, and when I’m working, I try to be more efficient so I can get back out into the mountains.
- Do you have any pre-race/ pre-competition rituals?
Lots and lots of preparation, especially before expeditions. I like to think that once I arrive at the base of a climb or top of a ski descent, all the hard work has been done and the climb/ski is just the icing on the cake.
- In 10 years I hope to be…
Skiing big lines with good friends – just like the previous ten years.
- Six-word bio – In exactly six words summarize yourself
I ski, therefore I need more.
- When singing karaoke, what song do you sing to bring down the house?
“Full Shred” – Yngwee Malmsteen
- What music gets you fired up?
Black Keys, Cowboy Junkies & retro butt rock.
- If you were a super hero, who would you be?
Slice Powderman – Able to leap tall peaks, survive deep avalanche burials, ski vertical panes of glass and straight-line anything.
- Wasatch Powderkeg – March 2012, Brighton, UT – 1st Place Master’s Division
- 2011 – PowderWhore – “Breaking Trail”
- 2010 – Warren Miller Entertainment – “Wintervention”
- 2010 – PowderWhore – “TeleVision”
- 2007 – Sony Pictures Classic – “Steep”
- 2007 – Piton Productions – “Legends of the Fall Line”
- 2002 – WGNH & NOVA – “Trapped in Ice”
- 2000 – TNF/AAP – Shishapangma – “A Celebration of Life”
- 1999 – “The Greatest Snow on Earth: Utah’s Skiing Story”
Other Notable Achievements
- First & only person to ski all of the “Alaska Family” – Denali, Hunter & Foraker
- First descents on all seven continents
- Over 150 first ski descents
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Andrew’s Facebook Page
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Andrew’s YouTube Channel