Screw boat clubs, join a plane club and your whole life will change! If there would be one group I would try to join and get tight with it would be a plane club in AK. Luckily my roommate is a pilot and has planes in alaska so BOOYAH BUCKY'S GOT WINGS!!!!!! This was the coolest ski trip I have ever done! Flying into the Chugach for a BBQ on a glacier and having the best weather you could ask for is unbeatable. However, not going to lie, flying in a small 3 person bush planes is a little scarier then the movies make it look. In all the ski movies or mountaineering movie the guys look like they are enjoying the ride. The ride always looks nice, smooth, and an enjoyable flight. I might be a wimp but man was I scared! Any little bump felt HUGE! When you are landing and taking off all you can see are cravasses and rock walls, it makes you feel like you are going right into them. On the other hand it was awesome to have Davis's family and friends to take us out for some corn skiing and BBQ'ing on a glacier in the middle of the Chugach! THANKS DAVIS!!!!!!!!!! Life time experience that I will always remember and cherish.
There are so many places in the world to go skiing, how do you pick where to go? I am not a pro skier but I have skied all over the world and hands down VALDEZ ALASKA IS THE COOLEST PLACE EVER!!!! Not only does it have stupendous views of glaciers and rugged peaks, the snow quality is unreal. Since we did this trip in the spring we didn't get the typical steep and deep skiing that most people get, but we still had fun! Also I just have to say that if you do go here the heli skiing would be unreal. Being a broke collage student though I could not afford that. If you are young and fit though you can hike and access all the heli terrain from the pass, so cowboy up and get hiking!
Loveland / DOT GLacier
Dont waste your money and go to a wanna be heli OPERATION!!!!!! ski valdez!!!!!!!! heli, snowmobile, hike, what ever you can afford, its well worth it!
In the land of AK it is all about big open face skiing and AK spine shredding! However being a colorado boy I am addicted to couloir skiing! There is just something about it; booting straight up a gully that has 30 foot walls around you, huffing and puffing, it makes you feel so small! HANDS DOWN, COULOIRS ARE TERRAIN TRAPS, there is a great avi risk when you are skiing or climbing one, however if you can plan the snow right you can have a low risk high reward outcome. With all that being said we had a weather window this weekend with stable snow so we went hard on the pass!
First cooly up was the first cooly I have skied in AK and it was addicting. I have never booted up anything with such solid snow. In colorado when you boot up a cooly normally there is a lot of post holing on scary snow or you are climbing ice to time the corn skiing on the way down. This was miranda's 21st b-day shred and she picked it and killed it! Bomber snow, with a few inches of fresh, made the 45%, 2,000 vertical foot shoot ski amazing!
Skiing? Ski Racing? Training? How do you train for a sport that you have to compete in when your arena isn't ready? The objective of ski racing is to get from the top of the hill to the bottom of the hill the fastest. How do you do this when there is no snow or a hill to race on? If you ask any racer they will all say they face a fear in the starting gate. Some it maybe an injury, others doing good enough to please there parents, doing good enough to keep there sponsorships, there scholarships. You can lift weights to improve your physical conditioning, but how do you deal with the mental part of ski racing? Everyone is different so the real question is what is your fear and how do you deal with it? My greatest fear is not being good enough to please my friends or parents, how do I get over that fear? I feel like I am so concerned about others that I need to get them out of my mind and see why I really ski. Is this stupid or is this actually a good idea, it worked for me I think. With one day in gs gates, four days in sl gates, and the first collage race only 2 weeks away how can you train when there is no snow. BUCKY STYLE, take every thing you have away from yourself and get back to the basics. I cant get on snow training time so how do I train my mind for the up and coming race? Others have had 3 months on snow training and several races, not my case. So with my mind racing I decided to YOLO, loaded the car up with backcountry skis, warm clothes, food, and drove 2 hours to the end off the road, parked the car, and said I was going live there for 3 days! Are you going to have fun and survive or put your tail in between your legs and drive home, FUCK NO cowboy up! There isn't any better mental training then driving into the woods when it is 16 degrees and 100% humidity for 3 days to hike around and ski! The answer to the question here is every one is different but when you have no snow to train and your mind is fucked, strip away what you take for granted and go try to survive, you will learn a lot and enjoy the little things!
Hatch Peak, Bald mountainn Ridge East Peak, Government Peak
Last post I said we were putting the skis away and bringing the hiking shoes back out, I should have stuck with that plan. I finished finals and was ready to start exploring deeper into Alaska. Everyone I talked to was ready to ski some fun backcountry lines, especially since rumor had it that Hatcher pass got 23inch in 23 hours at the beginning of the week. I spent a long time looking into where to go but honestly I had no idea. With the Hatcher pass avalanche center only putting out advisories once a week and not being able to talk or see anything about resent ski descents I was throwing my cheese into the wind! Sean, Ced, Miranda, and I found are selves piled into the Forerunner at 7 am again, but headed towards Hatcher Pass instead of Turnagain Pass. Before we could get out of town though we were joined by Bella and Silken, we started a caravan and off to the pass we went.
We thought that up high on Mircodot there would be some fun gullies with an ok amount of snow, so we thought. We spent an hour trying to pick our way up the rocky ridge. Tired, cold, over the fact that there was no snow, and it was going to be a scary descent we decided to turn around. As everyone was packing up just for shits and giggles I dug a quick pit. I saw that there was depth hoar, crust, some solid consistent snow, then top with some nice surface hoar. Not the best layers to have but we were on mellow 30 degree slop and just going to pick our way down. People were still getting ready so I set up some column tests. With no surprise both CT test failed on the depth hoar layer after one tap from the elbow with a quality 3 sheer (CT11 Q3). Everyone was ready to go so we VERY VERY VERY SLOWLY picked are way back down the skin track, hitting a rock every turn. We got back to the trail head around noon and watched the sunset as we drove back to anchorage.
With lots of stress from finals week I needed to get out and reset my mind, lucky miranda was in the same vote. We had a window of time this morning to sneak away before are afternoon finals. I picked near point for the shortness of the hike and I finally figured out the state parks tail system. We left the trailhead at 8 and it took us 2 hours to summit. Hiking here this winter is like hiking up a ice rink. I never hike with poles or shoe crampons but this year in alaska they are very useful! We summited at 10, just in time to watch the sunrise. Ya, 10 am sunrise, days are getting dark up here! Two more days of finals, then the true adventures begin in the dark. ALASKA IS DARK, BUT PRETTY AWSOME!
out, if it was safe than we would ski the south west face. if not we would ski the ridge. Miranda, Sean, new comer Curtis and I took off for the pass at 7. We were the first ones in the parking lot and on the trail at 8:30. We got a little lost but after a little bush waking we found the trail, right in time to get lost in the fog. It was so bad at times that I had to tie a 10 foot green rope on my pole and cast it like a fly rod, this gave us some depth perception. After a while we found the ridge and broke through the fog. It was a beautiful blue bird day and the slopes were painted with 5 inches of fresh. A group of two local gentlemen caught up to us and took over breaking trail. They showed us what was up, by running up the ridge and sendong it down the south west face in a matter of minutes. We took our time to get to the top, take some pictures, and got ready to drop. Looking over a 5 foot cornice onto 2,000 vertical of 40 degree skiing is the coolest but sorta scariest feeling ever, this ain't colorado anymore. I entered where our buddies went and checked how the new snow was bonding to the old layers, it felt and looked pretty solid. I did a few ski cuts and nothing moved so I took the drop. EPIC, I skied half of the face and traversed out onto a spire where I was out of the way , not a safe zone but out of the way. I cleared it for the others and watched my friends send this epic line. We all met at the bottom and we where all in awe. Epic line, epic adventure, couldn't have been any better.