Lynsey Dyer: Back from India

Powder’s 2010 Female Skier of the Year talks about her non-profit, She Jumps.

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Lynsey Dyer has just gotten off a plane from India at New York's JFK airport, and she sounds a little shell-shocked. Even over the din coming through the phone line, it sounds like Dyer might need a vacation, but that doesn't look likely. It's the onset of a La Niña winter in North America, and she is just about to throw herself back into filming and skiing powder and cliffs as one of the ski industry's most recognizable female freeskiers.

This season, however, a lot has changed in Dyer's world. She split with longtime sponsor Rossignol for a new contract with Blizzard/Tecnica, she's joined Eddie Bauer First Ascent's team of athletes, and she has plans to film with the Sherpas for their two-year film project, "All.I.Can," which is due out next fall.

Blizzard scored a major coup in snapping up Dyer, for years one of Rossignol's top female big-mountain athletes. Dyer says that Blizzard is a good fit for her. "They're making a push with really progressive products, and I am really excited to be part of it and to help develop products," she says. The company also plans to use her artwork (she's a graphic designer) in addition to product development, according to team manager Frank Shine. "We are really proud to have such a high caliber athlete, but also to work with her other talents in our branding and marketing," Shine said.

Dyer also recently received a grant from The North Face for She Jumps, a non-profit she co-founded that focuses on getting girls into the outdoors. She Jumps will use the newly acquired funds to partner with The Boys and Girls Clubs and host events involving pro athletes to introduce children to skiing.

And just to throw a little more into the mix, Dyer decided to head to India this month to spend some time with children who have been rescued from the slave trade, loom mills and the sex industry. In a partnership with 88 Bikes and sponsor Eddie Bauer First Ascent, Dyer has spent the last several weeks with boys and girls living in ashrams (safe houses), teaching them to use and maintain their bikes, make art and hopefully, look toward a brighter future.

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Lynsey Dyer, in pictures. <a class="launchGallery" href="http://espn.go.com/action/freeskiing/photos/gallery/_/id/5927512">Launch Gallery &#187;</a>

"The experience was a life-changer," says Dyer. "I know I can't go around trying to save everyone -- but I want to continue to educate girls on how they can be empowered."

She extended her trip in India to do some yoga and meditation at an ayurvedic clinic (which included, oddly, a cleanse of drinking clarified butter to saturate the body and soak up toxins). Sure, she admits that the lessons she learned while in India sound new-agey and that her friends and family will call her crazy, but she says that after her trip there, she now has a new perspective on being a pro skier.

"I think skiers and athletes are some of the people who will change the world," she says. "We love being outside and are proving to the rest of the world that humans can do more than most think is possible. We are celebrating the mountains. And as long as we keep our egos in check, we can create healthy communities that support the bigger whole."

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