Monday, October 20, 2008

April Bowl in October...


Bluebird day....check!
Fresh powder.....check!!

Nuff said??? I ditched work half day on Friday to ski "April Bowl" up in Hatcher's Pass. Although many don't realize it, you can view the Alaska Range and the peaks surrounding Denali right from Anchorage.

This is another pic looking back towards Anchorage and the Chugach Mountains, or the "front range" as its usually called. In the foreground is the peaks surrounding Hatch Peak and Government Peak (farthest large peak in the mountains up close).

While everyone was at work, I got to drop into this nice pocket of snow....enjoy!!!

I do all the hard work, and Lobita just follows my tracks when it gets deep.

On the way down to the road that leads to the actual Hatcher's Pass. This is the bottom half of Hatch Peak.

Because the skiing was so good, good as in calf-deep powder, I headed back to Hatch Peak and April Bowl on Saturday for some more fresh turns and steep lines. This is a pic of my line down a steep little couloir in April Bowl. [A couloir (from the French word meaning "passage" or "corridor,") is a deep gorge or gully formation found on the side of a mountain. These physical features make the use couloirs popular for both skiing and mountaineering.]

Friends Jon and Jessica getting ready to drop into the bowl.

Putting the climbing skins back on and quickly chugging a Red Bull for another run.

Probably the best shot of April Bowl. I skied the "coolie" on the "lookers right" of this picture.

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Alpenglow (from German: Alpengl├╝hen) is an optical phenomenon. When the Sun is just below the horizon, a horizontal red glowing band can sometimes be observed on the opposite horizon.

However, in the Anchorage area it is also known as a small ski area atop Arctic Valley, a portion of the Fort Richardson Military Reservation.

I decided to head up after work and get some early season skiing.

Conditions were marginal, with some nice pockets of snow, but the views were awesome. While Anchorage was socked in with clouds and dense fog, I had some great views of the surrounding peaks and the Eagle River Valley.

The South Fork of the Eagle River is one of my most favorite places to hang out.....Lobita too!!!!

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Hatch Peak

For the first bluebird powder of the season, my buddy Sam and I headed up to Hatcher's Pass to ski Hatch Peak.
After the skin to the base of Hatch Peak, we decided to play it safe with evidence of recent avalanche activity due to the new snow and heavily loaded leeward slopes.

We made two runs down "1000 dollar run" and then back to the car to enjoy a ceremonial frosty Coors Light.
The "Dogfaces" (Lobita on the left, Jack on the right) had a tough day in the deep snow....dogtired!

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Jewel Glacier

We decided to head south to the Jewel Glacier for some turns. Starting from the Crow Creek trailhead in Girdwood, we only had to walk for about 30 minutes before skinning up. After getting about half way up the Jewel, we got chased off due to low visibility and high winds.

On the return trip we ran into some folks who were heading to the Jewel but instead we booted up the saddle that overlooks the Milk Glacier.

A steep little line with decent firm snow.

The reward was Oktoberfest at the Alyeska Daylodge!

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 5th, Knee Deep Fresh Powder

I can't believe its the 5th of October, and I skied knee deep fresh stuff on Lane Glacier in the Talkeetna Mountains....
After the 3 1/2 hour slog through boulder fields and scree, snowing like a 'Noreaster, we reached the top of Lane Glacier greeted with about 20 other folks who had the same idea; early season skiing in Hatcher's Pass.
The Glacier received about 4-6" of new snow during our trip, making the return voyage a little easier. All said and done, a great first day on the snow with many more to come.