Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Turns

What to give thanks for in Alaska...???

Good friends, good beer, good food, and awesome snow.

We toured out of the South Fork, Eagle River area in search of some fresh snow in North Bowl. We ended up making two runs in the bowl and then heading to Sam &Gretchen's for dinner.

Lobita gets chugached as she bounds through head-deep snow.

Kurt practices his expert alpine turns in the bowl. Later he would "double deck" his new Dynafit setup and face plant.

Kurt smiling after his yard sale.
Marc rips through the fresh powder. It was his first outing of the year. He has some catching up to do.
Bernadettemachs down the bowl in her new Black Diamond Joule fat powder skis. They slowed her down a bit.

So much that she thought she needed to summersault down the mountian. Elegant...

Me and Lobita pose for a quick self portait while we wait for everyone to put their skis on. Lobita takes good photos.
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

North Bowl

Its not what it seems....

Weather in Anchorage: heavy, thick, grey fog. Similar to being inside a golf ball.
Weather at the South Fork, Eagle River trailhead: Clear, cold, and the sun setting rather quickly.
Looking back north towards Eagle River proper. Notice the thick layer of fog in the valley,and the Alpenglow setting on the mountains.
Samuel-son snowshoes up the skin track. I have to do all the hard work...

Looking into Anchorage and the Cook Inlet. All the Anchoragonians are stuck in their house and i'm on top of the clouds...literally.

Another look at Anchorage. The body of water beyond is the Cook Inlet, which drains into the Gulf of Alaska and feeds both the Knik Arm and the Turnagain Arm. The mountain range in the far background is the Tordrillo Mountains (R) and the Neacola Mountains (L).

Sadly to say, I have no pics of us skiing. By the time we gained the ridge, took skins off, and geared up, it was pretty much dark. We signaled each other by headlamp and it was survival skiing for the last half of the run. The top 1500 feet was awesome. Nice light Chugach powder!

And of course the reward was a cold can of Coors Light!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Early season Hatcher's Pass is great, but nothing compares to the snow in Turnagain Pass. For my first turns in Turnagain, approximately 50 miles south of Anchorage, I headed up Sunburst Ridge with friends Jon and Jessica. While it was socked in back in town, the Kenai Peninsula welcomed us with bluebird skies and a little bit cooler temps.......oh yeah and 34 inches of new snow in the past week!
On the uptrack. Hannah, Jessica, and Jon. The "sunnyside" on the other side of the highway; usually reserved for snowmachiners, but there is not enough snow yet.
Pastoral Peak in the background; Magnum Ridge on the right, Sunburst on the left.

The word on the street was instability. A whole lot of new snow sitting on top of cold faceted October snow. Large natural avalanche activity was witnessed throughout the Turnagain and Girdwood area. We decided to play it safe and stick to low angle terrain. Fine with us...the snow was outstanding. Face shots optional, smiles required.

Jessica perfects expert tele turns into the main bowl of Sunburst.

The Powderhound makes her own tracks in her own "puffy" coat.
Chris skiis a pure southern aspect down Sunburst towards Taylor Creek.
Lobita joining the group after getting Chugached.
On the way out. With the shorter days ahead of us, alpenglow creeps in around 3:00PM. Looking towards the south end of the pass towards Silvertip.

Looking north towards the Turnagain Arm. You can see the highway and the motorized area of the recreation area.
A cool pic I took of all the snow on the trees and the sun in the background. It was a little bit of an alder bash on the way out.

Age old Question: why do dogs lick themselves?


Monday, November 3, 2008

Skyscraper Peak and Eldorado Bowl

The weather has been perfect for the last week in Southcentral Alaska. Clear and cold.

Me, Lobita, and Chris head up the uptrack.

Denali looms over the low cloud cover. With bomber safe ski conditions on Saturday, we headed up to Eldorado Bowl and then to Skyscraper Peak for some nice fresh powder on northern aspects. The snow in the bowl was protected from the recent wind effected snow of our Sunday destination of Hatch Peak and April Bowl.

After two runs in Eldorado Bowl, we headed off the "sunny side" and down towards the road that goes up to Hatcher Pass. The snow at the top was perfect, but quickly turned to a sun crust and "cliffed out". We had to gingerly make our way to the bottom through the rocks and thin cover. It was worth it.

On Sunday we toured up to April Bowl, but the snow was not too good. Very wind hammered and punchy. After a big day on Saturday, it was only two runs and down to the A-Frame for soup and beer.

Looking out towards Government Peak and the rest of the Chugach Mountains. The possibilities of lines are endless.....

Alpenglow sets on the peaks behind the Gold-Mint Trailhead in Hatcher's Pass.