Into the Wild

NASH junior Anthony MacDonald has two intense passions outside of school — ski mountaineering and photography — and he hopes to combine the two into a dream career.

Isha George, Staff Writer


When did you start skiing, and what got you into it?

I started skiing when I was around four or five. When I started skiing, I was more forced to go out and do it. But the more I did it, the more I really fell in love with skiing and everything about it. 

What do you typically pack for your trips?

I have a backpack designed for skiing on me, but what’s in it changes. A simple resort day would mean water, quick food, my phone, a few tools, and any layers or camera equipment I might want or need.  A backcountry/climbing day is pretty much the same, just more along the lines of more food and water than usual. My phone, tools and cameras, as always. And additionally a MyFAK first aid kit, skins and crampons (depending on location), an avalanche safety device (like an avalanche beacon), retractable poles, and even more layers. 

How often do you go on ski trips?

I try to ski every weekend at local resorts. In terms of actual trips where I’m driving over two hours or flying, I would say once a month from November to March usually to Vermont or Colorado, but it’s all over the place.

Do you have any dream locations? If so, where and why?

I would love to climb and ski down the highest peak in the Grand Teton National Park. When I first visited the park, I fell in love with the mountains and the scenery, and when I got home I learned that people climb and ski down it.  I was like, “Yep, that’s my goal now.” It doesn’t stop there, though. After I accomplish that goal, it’s off to the next, even harder challenge. Maybe Mt. Denali…we’ll see.

What do you love most about ski mountaineering?

I just love the snow, the smell, the look, and the feeling. The feeling of being above 14,000ft is unmatched. Above that altitude, the world is almost different, it’s natural. Not many people get to be at that point, and when you do, you can see everything for miles. The adrenaline rush and obsession with getting better and better, going to more and more remote places, going higher and higher, and chasing harder and harder challenges — that’s why I love ski mountaineering. You are in that fraction of a population that gets to see the world from a different perspective, and when you do, it’s amazing. 

What does your family think about your endeavors?

They support more traditional skiing but get nervous when I do anything more dangerous than resort stuff. At the end of the day, only you know what you are comfortable doing, and I’m comfortable skiing backcountry and climbing.

Do you hope to pursue this professionally?

In terms of getting paid to just ski and nothing else, I don’t see that happening. It would be cool to one day be a ski patroller or ski instructor or guide, but that’s more of a retirement job than anything. 



What sparked your interest in photography?

When I was really young, I was given a small little toy camera, and I used that thing like crazy and when I got a little bit older, around 10ish, I got a hand-me-down point-and-shoot camera from my mom and just loved recording videos and taking photos on it. It just was something I was naturally attracted to, I guess. And as I entered middle school, I got my first DSLR camera, which really launched my interest in photography. My DSLR camera over the course of around five years has taken a lot of photos, and I didn’t really know what I was doing back then. Don’t get me wrong — my photos weren’t horrible, but they could be better if I retook them today. Now that I am studying it in high school, it’s really made me so much more interested in getting out there and improving my skills as a photographer, so much so that I invested some good money into a nice, top-of-the-line Sony camera.  

What made you take photography seriously?

When I got to high school and started actually studying photography, I realized I have a huge passion for this thing. I have always had the urge to get better, take more photos, and learn new ways to do things. I realized after posting some of my photos online that people wanted to see and buy my work. More importantly, people genuinely liked my work and style, so I started taking it really seriously and improving myself and my work with every photo I take. 

What are the essentials for good photography?

The essentials are probably along the lines of sharp, correctly exposed, palatable photos. There are rules you can use to make your photos better and certain tricks and stuff, but at the end of the day beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Get out there, take some photos, talk to people, see what works and doesn’t. Then apply rules and techniques as needed. Experiment with it. Eventually you’ll find style and subjects that are especially enjoyable to photograph. Everyone can learn something new about it every day. 

Do you have a dream shot? 

A photo of me during sunrise or sunset at the top of the world, either on Mt. Everest or K2. K2 is not the tallest in the world, it’s second, but it’s a much more technical mountain and for me a cooler accomplishment than climbing Everest. 

What’s the best/ most captivating thing about photography?

The ability to share views and perspectives people don’t often get to see. Showing everyday things from a new point of view or showing how they exist in my style. 

Do you hope to pursue this professionally?

I would really like to pursue a photography or videography career. It’s not stable in the beginning, but I have my hopes. What would be cool is if I could combine both my love for photography/videography with skiing to make something amazing. That’s really at the end goal. I want to show the world through photos and videos and inspire people to get out and explore all the beauties of the Earth.