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Saranac Lake native racks up outdoors writing awards

June 27, 2012
By MIKE LYNCH - Outdoors Writer ( , Lake Placid News

Saranac Lake native Lisa Densmore has won four awards in the Outdoor Writers Association of America's annual Excellence in Craft contest.

Densmore won two second-place awards in the magazine writing contest and two photography awards.

She won second place in the Outdoor Fun and Adventure category for "Powder Trip," an extensive story on lift accessible backcountry skiing in Montana. The article was published in the Winter 2011 issue of Montana Headwall.

Article Photos

Lisa Densmore
(Photo provided)

Densmore said the assignment was to ski all 15 ski areas in Montana in a single year, write about them and choose the best ski run in the state.

Densmore said she skied the mountains in the winter of 2010-2011, which was a "pretty epic" year for skiing because it was good snow year. She wound up choosing a run at Lone Mountain at the Moonlight Basin resort as the top one.

The run started out in a very alpine environment, with a big open snowfield and windy weather and packed powder, she said. The mountain then transformed after that.

"We came down about 2,000 feet on this big steep face, then we ended up in glade," Densmore said. "There was this magical glade where the trees were perfectly spaced and the powder had just piled into this glade. Then at very bottom, after literally 4,000 vertical feet, it kind of shot us out for this nice groomer run for the last little bit. It was the most diverse run.

"A lot of it is right place, right time, and that was definitely one of those right time, right place moments."

Densmore's other writing award came in the Gear/Technical category, which recognizes excellence in relaying information about outdoor gear or instruction in how to use outdoor equipment in an entertaining and easy-to-understand manner. Her second-place entry, "Savvy Shotgunning for Women," was published in the January/February 2011 issue of Colorado Outdoors.

"It was really fun to write because I could weave some of my experiences of learning to shoot a shotgun on targets and also bird hunting," Densmore said. "Give some advice girl-to-girl, so to speak."

Densmore also won two awards in the photography contest. Her entry "Snowshoeing Girl," published in the Winter 2011 issue of Around Concorn Magazine placed third in the People category, which recognizes excellence in photography, emphasizing people enjoying the outdoors.

Her entry "Aster," published in the Spring 2011 issue of Best of Burlington Magazine won third place in the Flora category.

Densmore currently lives in Red Lodge, Mont. and has a seasonal residence on the Chateaugay Lakes. She will receive her awards at OWAA's annual conference in Fairbanks, Alaska on Sept. 6.

An Emmy-winning TV host and producer, Densmore specializes in sports, adventure and outdoor programming on PBS and Outside TV. She's a freelance writer for 30-plus regional and national publications, and author of seven books including "Ski Faster" and "Backpacker Predicting Weather: Forecasting, Planning & Preparing" and five guidebooks. Densmore is a nature photographer, workshop leader and frequent guest speaker.

The Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience.

OWAA's professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio and television show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered in Missoula, Mont.



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