Trevor Sexsmith was a leading skier in many ways, from big first descents to pushing what was skiable in summer. On Sept. 25, he died in a ski accident near Mount Victoria of the Lake Louise Group after an avalanche that took him over a cliff. Sexsmith and his partner had intended on skiing the Sickle, but turned back due to poor weather. Parks Canada had to wait until the following morning to recover Sexsmith’s body due to conditions.
Sexsmith was from Coldwater, Ontario and moved out west a few years ago to chase year-round skiing. In his short time at the top of his ski game, many friends and other skiers referred to him as a legend in the making.
He was known for chasing big lines on seldom visited mountains. He had noted that September skiing had its risks. In an interview with Darryl Hunt of NewSchoolers.com, Sexsmith said, “September is the hardest month definitely. As the summer wears on, so does the remaining snow. You can go for turns at the start of the month, in order to have just a bit more of last season’s snow or you can risk it and hope for a good September dump.”
One of Sexsmith’s longtime big-line ski partners was Ian Button. The two opened a number of first descents together in the Rockies. “Trevor worshiped skiing and in good style,” Button said after Sexsmith’s passing. “With notable descents in the Rockies, he was in his element when bushwhacking up a valley to ski a remote peak. And even more at home while ascending a steep face, couloir or ridge.”
Sexsmith would spend hours looking at maps, trying to find steep and difficult terrain he could link for a descent. Many lines could be considered alpine climbs. To ski the big lines that Sexsmith was an expert at requires knowledge about glacier travel, snow conditions and other big mountain hazards. He fully committed for days at a time to remote, backcountry projects.
A few of Sexsmith’s first descents were on Tumbling Mountain, Mount Farnham, South Goodsir, Middle Goodsir, Mount Murchison, South Twin and seldom skied lines on Archduke Mountain, Mount Bryce and Rogers. Sexsmith kept detailed records of his adventures on his blog and social media.
Visit PerpetualSki.ca to read about his days in the mountains. “Enjoy his stories and toast to Trevor with a glass of Gibsons Silver,” said Button. With 40 short films, Sexsmith crafted a number of clips that documented his trips. Visit here to watch.
Sexsmith’s final post was called Timing is Everything. It was about his and Button’s descents of Mount Warren and Mount Brazeau, two 11,000-foot peaks in Jasper National Park, in early September. The two skiers paddled over 20 kilometres, made a long bushwhack approach and then skied both mountains in a day.
Reading through Sexsmith’s stories, you realize just how much terrain and how many peaks he visited. A true inspiration for other mountain lovers. His ski trips were about more than turns in fresh snow, they were about being in the wilderness. Watch the clip below about Sexsmith and Button’s last trip to Warren and Brazeau.
“Then halfway down I found a refuge from the wind and skied some great creamy pow,” wrote Sexsmith in Timing is Everything. “After was the final pitch down across the schrund, where I had to go back right and into the worst of the wind-stripped ice, but right across the schrund was perfect, deep pow. The rest of the north face was glorious, awesome snow in the early evening light.”
Our condolences to Sexsmith’s family and friends. We will miss hearing about his most recent adventure.