An interview with Bix Firer

What outdoor activity is your passion?
I am passionate about wilderness travel, finding solitude and physical challenge in remote and inspiring landscapes, and having fun with people I care about. During the winter, this means a lot of backcountry skiing and Nordic ski touring with my wife, Emma. During the summer, extended backpacking and packrafting trips are my recreation of choice for accessing remote wilderness. I also love trail running and hopping on my mountain bike. Living in Idaho, I have access to a lot of beautiful, remote, public land. Whatever the best tool to access it and have great experiences out on the land, depends on conditions and landscape. Usually, my own two feet are the best tool for the job. As an outdoor educator and guide, my work involves sharing beautiful places and meaningful outdoor experiences with others. This might mean hiking, boating, or rock climbing. But, most exciting to me is seeing the moment where these activities help folks build a relationship with the natural world and see what they are capable of.

How did you get involved in that activity, and how old were you when you started?
I grew up in Milwaukee. Despite being a sizeable city, we were right on the banks of Lake Michigan. I grew up exploring the beaches and waters of the Midwest. A seminal moment for me was a trip with an educational group to Isle Royale National Park when I was in high school. We backpacked across the island, I saw a meteor shower and heard wolves howling, and swam in backcountry lakes. After that trip, I knew that I wanted to create a life centered on meaningful and adventurous experiences outdoors. Being a Midwesterner at heart, canoeing is probably the most comfortable outdoor activity and the first one I felt expert in. I still love it – even if I don’t canoe as much now that I live out west.

What was the most epic trip you’ve ever taken?
I am lucky to have a career and personal life that gets me outside having great adventures day in and day out. My wife and I plan great adventures in all of our free time, but here are a couple highlights: in 2018 we went to Finnish Lapland during the winter to ski and explore the arctic during the winter, exploring Denali National Park in January by ski-joring down the park road and witnessing giant caribou herds and wild northern lights, and celebrating my first wedding anniversary by climbing Mt Rainier in 20 hours with my wife - in AKU boots!

What is the most important piece of gear in your pack? (other than AKU footwear, of course!)
Ski straps, a knife, and Tyvek tape. These three items can repair most anything, and help out with many minor first aid needs. I never leave home without them.

Where do you hope your AKUs will take you in the future?
I have some pretty great trips planned coming up, including a return to Alaska to paddle and hike, a packrafting trip to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and mountaineering trips in the region. I am excited for those and all the unexpected adventures to come!

What AKU boots are you currently wearing?
AKU Montagnards took me up and down Mt Rainier, several peaks in the Chugach range in Alaska, and countless pitches of ice climbing. They were warm, stable, and nimble enough for long approaches.