Two Pro Skiers Go Green in Greenland

Two Pro Skiers Go Green in Greenland

You’d be hard-pressed to find two skiers cooler than Rachael Burks and Jessica Baker. Or a more awe-inspiring place to ski-tour than Greenland’s west coast fjords. Or a more important underlying message than climate change. All of these come together spectacularly in “Going Greenland,” a new film produced by Baker and Burks, which premieres Jan. 5 in Jackson, Wyo.

Burks, who has long been a professional skier known for her big airs and personality, and Baker, a mountain guide and former World Tour Freesking champion, have been friends for 20 years, and their chemistry and camaraderie make this film shine.

The two women, plus their charming captain, Benjamin Ruffieux, sail the remote seascapes of Greenland on a renewable energy sailboat that runs entirely without fossil fuels. Some of their lines are first descents, sure, but the real first is the journey itself. The boat is powered by sun and wind, which sometimes don’t cooperate with ski objectives, forcing Baker and Burks to continually get creative and reevaluate. The boat is also a metaphor for the compromise we human need to make to stop climate change. “I have a boat that may or may not be able to get me where I want to go, when I want to be there,” Baker says.

The film was inspired by a trip the two athletes took in 2019, which was the second hottest year on record at the time and the first time in history that temperatures on the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet were hovering above freezing. They were alarmed at the massive melting events and unprecedented temperatures on the world’s second largest ice cap. So, cameras in tow, they decided to go back—but this time, they’d do it sustainably.  

“Going Greenland” is a refreshing ski film because it’s not just about the skiing (though the skiing in it is awesome). It’s about friendship, our connection to wild spaces, and how to pursue our passions while having minimal impact on the Earth.

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