Idahoan solo skis across Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness

Donnelly, Idaho, resident Dan Noakes solo skied across the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in 2021, the result of which is a film series he produced.

Dan Noakes courtesy photo

Skiing and hiking started simply enough for Dan Noakes. It was a way to spend time with his father. But then it got complicated.

In Noakes’ freshman year of high school, his mother and father divorced. He moved to Utah, his dad stayed in California, and connection was intermittent, a week or two each summer. But Noakes continued to hike and ski, gravitating toward thru-hiking and other physically challenging, even painful, endeavors.

“Why am I doing this?” he asked himself years later. “And it kept on going back to my dad. I came to the conclusion that I’m doing this thing to connect with my dad.”

In college at Brigham Young University, he dove into backcountry skiing, an activity that combined hiking with skiing. After graduating, he expanded his exploits, summiting and skiing all nine of Idaho’s 12,000-foot peaks and backpacking the length of Idaho on the 950-mile Idaho Centennial

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