POW! Aztech Mountain x Kate Holstein

Photo by Kate Holstein

Join us this holiday season in our effort to POW—Protect Our Winters!  This year we’ve partnered with photographer Kate Holstein, creator of intensely serene snowscapes, and Protect Our Winters (POW), a nonprofit near and dear to both of our hearts. The environmental advocacy group draws its strength from mountain sports enthusiasts with a mission to affect systemic solutions to climate change. 

Today through December 7th, 15% of all full-price sales will be donated to POW to support its mission.  We are also including a signed print of Kate’s work with the first 20 orders we receive over $750.

Kate is known for her cool—literally and figuratively—landscapes. The Aspen-local for the past 15 years didn’t always have her sights set on fine art photography. As a young adult, she was a competitive skier on the International Freeskiing Association circuit, and almost went into fashion, before her habit of documenting outdoor adventures grew into a career. Now a regular contributor to Conde Nast Traveler, the mother-of-one has developed an iconic style born of her love of nature and snowy mountains.

Photo by Tony Prikryl

Hello, Kate!

How did you get your start in photography?

While pursuing a brief ski career following college, I traveled a lot and always brought my camera with me. It was the very beginning of Facebook and that’s where I would share my travel photos. Friends and family would comment that I should, “become a photographer.” 

In 2014, I blindly submitted some of my personal work to a new British based travel/lifestyle magazine called Cereal. That launched my travel photography career and ultimately my fine art photography career, which is where I am now. 

Your work is very place-based. What about the mountains and snow inspire you?

Nature is everything for me…. being in it, feeling connected to it, capturing it. The natural beauty in Aspen is incredible and endlessly inspiring. I happen to love the “color” white for the way it reflects light and how subtle it can be, which is why I love shooting snow. I find winter in the mountains to be such a peaceful time, and capturing it slows me down and makes me feel all the wonder in the present moment. Through my images, I seek to convey that sense of peace, wonder and mystery that I find in nature.

Do you start with a specific location or idea or both?

Both—and then it all changes! The one consistent for me is the time of day. Early morning and early evening are when the light is most beautiful and the world feels full of mystery and magic. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a photo in the middle of the day that I liked. I don’t even bother shooting in the middle of the day anymore, I just go skiing instead and leave the heavy gear at home.

Photo by Kate Holstein

What does responsible stewardship of the mountains mean to you? 

I’ve been grappling with this recently, but it seems there is so much fear-mongering surrounding climate change/environmental responsibility, and the conversation has become so negative. I find that to be a turn-off, yet it is, of course, a very important conversation to be having. I think that when people spend time in nature and have a positive experience, be it a hike, skiing, sitting under a tree, anything, the result is that they become more connected to it, and by default, want to be a steward of it. So, I would say one of the most important parts of being an environmental steward is simply to spend time in nature! 

Why are you partnering with Aztech Mountain? What about the brand excites you?

I love Aztech’s timeless yet stylish design, exquisite quality and deep appreciation for mountain culture. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, so when I see a brand that is making a very high-quality product with timeless design, for me, this is part of the solution. It means you won’t go replacing clothes every season and it’s made to last. Aztech embodies this principle. 

What’s important in skiwear?

Form, function, quality and details. I think skiwear designers have their work cut out for them, it’s not easy to be both warm and stylish at the same time! I love skiwear that is modern in form and function but also takes a nod from classic ski styles of the past. This is why I love Aztech’s Ruthie’s cashmere shirt and Snowflake Merino wool hoodie. They feel like something you would have seen on a skier in the Alps from the 1920s. Timeless design is probably what I appreciate most, which Aztech does well.

I also love a hint of flair, like the interior colors or photos that differ on each Aztech piece. They are unexpected and really catch your eye, making a piece that comes across as simple on the outside feel very unique, special and cool. 

What is your favorite Aspen…

Coffee place — Local
Mountain and ski run — it’s hard to beat Highland Bowl on a powder day or “Face-to-Six” laps on Ajax.
Lunch spot — Bonnie’s
Après-ski — Ajax Tavern on a spring day
Dinner spot and order — Bosq and whatever Chef Barclay’s latest local seasonal creation is!
Yoga studio — O2, Evan’s classes
Place to shop — The Little Bird
Cultural events — The Aspen Institute or ACES

See You On The Slopes!