On Tuesday, June 21, 2022, Colorado elementary school student, Keira Nicole Lipp, broke the world record for the youngest person to ski on all seven continents. Having skied Antarctica in February 2022, and Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America before Antarctica, South America was her last continent. High in the Andes Mountains of South America, accompanied by her father (Jordan Lipp) and her younger brother (Maddock Lipp), Keira (age 10 years and 23 days) skied at Portillo, Chile to break the world record. Portillo is located near the towering mountain of Aconcagua (22,838’) in the Andes. The previous world record for the youngest person to ski all seven continents was set back in 2008.
Keira is from Golden, Colorado, and will be starting fifth-grade elementary school this fall. She first learned to ski in her home state of Colorado at age two. She skied with her younger brother on five of the seven continents prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to skiing all over North America, to check off the first four continents, Keira skied in Cervinia, Italy (Europe), Thredbo and Perisher, Australia (Australia), and YongPyong and Jisan, South Korea (Asia).
Then, with her family, Keira ventured to the second toughest continent to ski, Africa. In January 2020 she went to Oukaïmeden, Morocco, in the Atlas Mountains of Africa, to get in her African ski turns.
Keira and her family then turned to skiing on the toughest continent in the world, Antarctica. On February 1, 2022, Keira and her father flew from Cape Town, South Africa to south of the Antarctic Circle, where she climbed and skied two different sides of a nunatak in Antarctica. She accomplished this feat around midnight, with the sun still above the horizon in the endless daylight of the Antarctica summer.
In order to train to ski on all seven continents considering the rigors of skiing in Antarctica, Keira not only needed to be skiing at an expert level as a ski area skier (which she could do by age seven), but she also had to be comfortable skiing in the backcountry. Backcountry skiing – far from any ski resort – means one must climb up to ski down in a mountainous location without lifts, lodges, or ski patrol.
Keira put in many backcountry ski days in Colorado to prepare for her Antarctica ski and climb. She has skied at least one day every month of the year in Colorado since age seven. During the summer months when the Colorado ski resorts are closed, in order to ski, Keira has had to hike up and then ski down on Colorado’s small glaciers and permanent snowfields with her father. With one of her prior goals to ski a 14,000’ mountain, in June 2021, Keira successfully climbed and skied Quandary Peak (14,271’), near Breckenridge, Colorado.
Her father, who has a ski patrol and ski mountaineering background, worked with Keira not only on backcountry skiing but also on snow climbing techniques and crevasse rescue skills, in order for her to be up for the rigors of chasing the world record in some of the more remote regions of the world.
Keira celebrated her accomplishment in Chile with ice cream at the hotel restaurant at Portillo with her family. Her brother, Maddock, enjoyed the celebratory ice cream with Keira. And Keira’s parents joined the celebration, toasting their daughter’s accomplishment with pisco sours.
Keira loves skiing. Of the seven continents, Keira’s favorite one to ski was Antarctica due to its remoteness, its perpetual sunlight, and the fact that it is a land of ice, with only the occasional mountain poking out above the giant ice sheet. Her second favorite continent is North America, as it’s home.
Having accomplished her goal of breaking the world record for the youngest person to ski all seven continents, her new goal is to be a better skier than her dad while she’s still a kid.