Lou Dawson Profile – Medium Length

Lou Dawson skiing the south face of 14,197-foot Crestone Needle, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, San Isabel National Forest, Colorado

Lou Dawson skiing the south face of 14,197-foot Crestone Needle in 1991, during his quest to ski all 54 14,000-foot Colorado peaks. Glenn Randall photo.

Born: 1952

Home: Colorado, USA

Favorite Mountain: Mount Sneffels, Colorado.

Interests: God, family, skiing, computers, old Jeeps, history, photography, music, reading, building, mountaineering.

Contact: Please use contact link in menu above.

Mountaineer, writer and photographer Louis Dawson climbed his first peak at age nine. Since then his mountain adventures have ranged worldwide.

Lou Dawson during Trooper Traverse re-creation.

Lou Dawson during Trooper Traverse re-creation.

In the 1970s and 1980s Dawson made his living in outdoor education and as a carpenter. During that time he did a notable amount of pioneer rock and ice climbing in Colorado, then combined his ski skills with his mountaineering savvy to become one of Colorado’s most prolific ski mountaineers and backcountry skiers.

More than three decades ago Dawson began his career in outdoor media with the publication of his first book, Colorado High Routes (re-editioned as Dawson’s Guide to Colorado Backcountry Skiing, and now out of print).

Hall of fame, Louis Dawson

In 2005 Lou was inducted into the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame.

Lou’s writing is soulful, insightful, and at times controversial. While much of his work is basic exposition of mountain routes and equipment, he’s also known in the backcountry skiing community for his history and opinion writing. Beginning in 1999, he wrote an opinion column and numerous feature articles for Couloir Magazine until it folded in 2007. He was also the magazine’s webmaster for many years.

In 1998 Dawson established WildSnow.com, the first backcountry skiing dedicated website in the world. He wrote and edited for the website from that date onward, eventually producing more than 4,000 substantive blog posts that became go-to content for both recreational backcountry skiers and the industry folks who marketed to them.

Lou Dawson backcountry skiing.

Lou Dawson ski touring in Europe.

Dawson is the first man to have skied down all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks. His grand adventure began with a ski descent of Castle Peak in 1978.  He soon added a few others to his list, then in 1987 he set out in earnest to ski them all.  He accomplished his goal in May 1991 with a climb and ski descent  of Kit Carson Peak in the Sangre de Cristo range of southern Colorado. A few of the “fourteeners” offer wide and gentle ski slopes, on others, Dawson contended with pitches of 45 to 60 degrees.

In 2005 Lou was inducted into the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame for his contributions to Colorado backcountry skiing, including his fourteener skiing project.

Dawson still does a prodigious amount of ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing, but says he does not consider himself an extreme skier. He climbs and skis the high peaks for the joy of exploration, spiritual awe, athletic challenge, and fellowship with family and friends. “Nobody does what I do for bragging rights,” he says. “It is too hard and it’s too dangerous — you’re there for other reasons.”

Following photos of Louis Dawson are copyrighted and for media use only. For publication, in the case of an image with credit other than “Lou Dawson Collection” or “Craig Dawson Sr.” you must obtain permission from the creators.

download high-res print tif version of Dawson ski photo, credit Brian

download high-res print JPEG version of Dawson ski photo, credit Brian

download high-res print version of Lou portrait, credit Brian Litz.

download high-res of Lou portrait, Denali 1973 , credit Lou Dawson collection.

download high-res Lou portrait, Denali 1973, blue parka, credit Lou Dawson collection.

download high-res shot of Lou’s first peak, age 9, credit Craig Dawson Sr.

download high-res shot of Lou skiing Crestone Needle , credit Glenn Randall.

download shot #2, Lou on Crestone Needle , credit Glenn Randall.

download high-res shot of Lou skiing Longs Peak, 1990
Longs peak image info:
– Lou Dawson skiing fourteener Longs Peak, 14,259′ Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
– Ski descent May 14, 1990.
– Route: North Face.
– Number 49 during Dawson’s project to ski all 54 Colorado fourteeners.
– Credit Glenn Randall, use by permission only

download high-res shot of Lou during Elks traverse 1979 – 8 MB Tiff version, credit, Lou Dawson collection.

download high-res shot of Lou powder skiing in 1980s, credit Michael Kennedy.

download high-res shot of Wild Snow history book cover, no credit required.

Lou's Recent Posts on WildSnow.com

Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's personal website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners.

All material on this website is copyrighted, the names Louis Dawson and Lou Dawson are used here for authorship and content creation and are trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

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Ski Touring and mountaineering are dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information, news and opinion on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of LouDawson.com as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive LouDawson.com owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.