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Welcoming winter with outdoorsman and photographer Will McKay

Welcoming winter with outdoorsman and photographer Will McKay

This winter fanatic shares his strategy for getting the absolute most out of his favorite season — setting goals

Winter brings with it a notorious plethora of changes. Whether it is adjusting to the colder temperatures and shorter days, craving comfort foods, or an all-consuming excitement to hit the slopes, it can take intentionality to adjust to the winter season.

In this series, we take a look at how some of the most inspiring athletes and wellness experts welcome winter. It takes more than just willpower to adapt to this season, and each person has their own tips, rituals and philosophies to keep up with their goals while still finding time for enjoyment. Get inspired by the mental, physical and emotional approaches these seasoned winter veterans take to make the most of this winter.

About Will

Currently residing in Salt Lake City, Utah, Will Mckay is an up-and-coming adventure and sports photographer whose work has caught the attention of major sports and outdoors brands. He’s been recognized as Red Bull Rising Talent of 2019 USA and Superior (1st place) Portfolio in NHSJC/JEA National Competition 2015. Traveling all over the world to shoot for brands such as Patagonia and Red Bull has allowed Will to not only capture amazing sceneries but also hone in his outdoor sports skills.

Welcoming winter

For some, the transition to winter can be tough. Changes in temperature can bring with it changes in the body, while less daylight and often less sun can wreak havoc on moods. However, for Will McKay, those telltale signs that winter is around the corner brings with it nothing but good feelings. Every year, without fail, Will is psyched about winter.

The Utah-based photographer’s excitement drives his urge to go after more projects, more slopes and set more goals. Growing up in the Midwest may have conditioned Will to rally for the colder seasons, helping him find an increase in energy and mood. “As it cools down, I begin to experience an overall calm. On top of that, my mood and general mindset improves as I’m a much bigger fan of the cold than the heat.” It also helps if one of your passions revolves around snow. Will may be known for his amazing photography, but he also immerses himself in everything skiing.

Consumed with excitement for his favorite season, it would be easy for Will to become unfocused, letting projects fall to the wayside for days upon days of skiing. However, setting goals keeps him on track. One of Will’s goals is to become a certified ski guide and avalanche educator. In working towards that objective, he starts his day reading the avalanche forecast, spends most of the day training on the slopes and ends with more reading — this time on snow science. Knowing that there are goals to meet helps Will stay grounded in his intentions and find balance between all-out fun and productivity. 

Ramping up weight training, eating more fats and committing to going out skiing no matter his mood are just a few more factors that help Will have a successful season. He changes up his HANAH ritual by adding both Coffee Boost and HANAH ONE to meet the demanding requirements of his day-to-day.

“As winter approaches, I begin to use both HANAH ONE and Coffee Boost before I head out the door to ski. Doubling up allows me to extend my day and stay focused throughout its entirety.”

What it all boils down to for Will is to “ski a lot.” However, most importantly, he wants to "come back alive." Having this in mind further enforces in him the importance of his goals to learn as much as possible about snow and mountains, communicate better with partners and find balance in when to be liberal or more conservative while skiing.

Will more than answers the call to winter. He trains hard, educates himself and sets goals in order to find balance and stay focused while maintaining his excitement. Whether it's studying to keep himself and others safe, adapting his diet to meet higher physical demands or simply rallying his friends for a day on the slopes, Will Mckay understands the importance of checking all the boxes to make this season physically, mentally and emotionally optimal.

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