sharing the human-powered ski experience

by donny roth


Inspire exploration of the snow-covered landscape and...

self discovery.


There is more to skiing than simply going down hills.  It's not all about the down, nor is it all about the up.  Human-powered skiing requires the fitness and patience to ascend to the goal; the experience to manage one's own comfort in an often harsh environment; the ability to descend in unmanaged conditions; the skill to navigate wild terrain safely; and the wherewithal to make the correct decision in a dynamic environment.  Human-powered skiing is more than an athletic pursuit – it is an endeavor.  

Independent Descents is a website that honors this endeavor.  It is dedicated to the pursuit of traveling in the mountains under our own human-power – physical, mental and emotional – in attempt to capture the ephemeral sensation of floating through powder on our way down a mountain.  To do this without mechanical assistance, without the safety net of a on-location rescue service and without the comforts of an urban-like infrastructure, this is a different game.  In reality, it's not about conquering the mountain, but rather understanding ourselves.  

The reward?  Independent Descents.  

My name is Donny Roth.  I am a passionate skier, focused solely on human-powered skiing.  I am an AMGA-certified ski guide and an ambassador for the sport.  This website is a collection of essays and photos inspired by my adventures big and small.  There are links to my guiding services and social media outlets.  It's a way for you to get to know me.  Hopefully someday I will get to know you.


Instragram is my 'micro-blog.' I share recent adventures with a series of photos and short narratives.

Facebook and Twitter are best used to share stories and exchange ideas.

The "500" icon is for sharing higher quality images.  These are my favorite photos and are available for purchase or to be licensed.

You are welcome to send me an email.  Write to:



Or give me a call:

(970) 497-4132


(I apologize that neither of these are hyper-links, it dramatically reduces the spam I receive.)


The Human-Powered Blog

I ski about 150 to 180 days a year in a variety of climates.  My objectives can be simple runs in search of deep powder or expeditions to ski big peaks.  Even with all of this, I try my best to keep it simple.  When we clutter our shop, garage or backpack we add complexity to the equation and end up diluting the experience.  When I am in the mountains I want to think about where I am and what I am doing – not what I am using.  With that in mind, I still get a lot of people who ask, "What do you use?"  Here's a collection of some of my favorites.

Donny Roth

certified ski guide and avalanche forecaster

ambassador for human-powered skiing

freelance writer and product designer


Got skiing dreams?  Let's make them come true!

Crested Butte


The San Juan Range

Sangre de Cristo Range


August through October

Human-powered Adventure

Unique Itineraries

Small Groups

World-Class Service


Kyrgyzstan in February (2016)

Canada in March

Alaska in Early April

Iceland in May