Elizabeth Koutrelakos

In high school, Elizabeth Koutrelakos was introduced to the competitive side of snowboarding through boardercross. Later, rails momentarily drew her attention. But working on a trail crew in college sparked a fascination with exploring remote and wild places that only backcountry snowboarding allows.

“Working on the trail crew you see all these places that are hard to get to in the summer because they’re rocky,” she says. “I just wanted to explore those places in the winter.”

Elizabeth is originally from Maryland — where there’s cows and trees, not the city part, she clarifies. She started snowboarding in seventh grade at a small ski area in Pennsylvania called Whitetail Resort.

“I was terrible, it was icy East Coast stuff, but I made it,” she says.

Her ties to Jackson, Wyo., stem all the way back to her youth, when her parents would tote her along on month-long family vacations to the Tetons.

“All we would do is hike every day,” she remembers, “and not just a little bit. It would be like these 20 or 30 mile hikes. When you’re 10 or 11, it’s not cool.”

That outlook changed entirely when she went to college at the University of Colorado in Boulder and realized that she could hike with a snowboard. And her trips to the Tetons as a kid planted a seed that would bring her back to Jackson in the decades that ensued, moving to the area full-time about 10 years ago.

“What kept bringing me back were the mountains themselves,” she remembers, adding that scrumptious Teton huckleberries had a lot to do with it as well. “I just really like the Tetons. They’re so accessible. Everyone says they’re crowded now but they’re really not.”

Around 2007, Elizabeth obtained her first splitboard after becoming tired of post-holing for turns. Since then, she’s climbed and descended many of the peaks in the Tetons. Her perfect day consists of waking in the dark to some good coffee, carpooling with a friend to the trailhead while jamming out to shitty pop music and starting to skin under still-dark skies amid a sea of crystals. Then comes the sunrise as the touring crew reaches a high spot, stopping for warm beverages and a snack.

“And both people have really surprising and delicious snacks to share,” she says, adding that she prefers to avoid ski partners with shitty treats.

Then the descent — in corn, powder, that doesn’t matter so much. “I actually think any condition is good if it’s with good people,” she says.

After a season atop a Voodoo 154, she prefers the control the board offers on slick terrain, as well as the deck’s penchant to float over powder.

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