Sunday, March 22, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing

I love March snow storms.

Better yet - I love skiing in March snow storms.

Our latest batch of snow brought nearly 24 inches of snow to Turnagain Pass.

Friends Jon, Sam, Kurt, and Mark headed down to the pass for some storm skiing in the trees on Tincan Ridge.

Jon trudges up the skintrack with the group behind him.

Kurt and Sam, with Jack and Jasper close behind make it up after our second run.

Lobita tries to find a route to the bottom. The snow is literally over her head. Crucial to follow our tracks. This is the deepest snow i've skied all year.
Jon drops into the white room. I think I made about 6 turns the whole day. It was all about dropping nice powder pillows.

It finally cleared up a bit. It gives you a perspective on just how much snow was down there.

It was Sam's first day of skiing in the pass and on his new tele setup. I didn't want him to get lost.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ski Train

Ski Train.....huh?

I know, skiing and riding on a train are not related. However, in Alaska this opportunity ony comes once per year.

Meg and I, and two friends Marc and Gayle, rode the "Ski Train" to Curry. Once a year, the Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol hosts this event where you take the train 4 hours north to Curry, ski for 4 hours, and then return.

Here's the twist....its more drinking than skiing.
Rough Timeline:
0515-Meet at Marc & Gayle's
0600-Load Train in Anchorage
0700-Depart Anchorage
0730-First pour of the Bloody Mary
The rest is history...
Enjoying the early morning sunshine.
The polka band makes its way through the cars to the "Tiki Bar."

Snowshoers, hikers, and skiers make their way up the quarry road. It looks like the Chilkoot Trail. (

Well it was Meg's second day in the backcountry. She's a trooper. A little windy on top, but a great view of the mountains.
Looking at Denali over Curry Ridge.

The group standing in front of the campfire after the ski. L to R: Marc, Gayle, Meg, Matt.

Meg poses next to the train parked in Curry.
Meg and I are shown respecting our Alaskan culture with a "kunik", also known as an "eskimo kiss" - loosely based on a traditional Inuit greeting.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

East Coast Visitors

Well i've been waiting for this for nearly 15 best friend Pat and I to go "out west" for a ski outing. Accompanied by Aimee, the east coaster's spent 7 days in the big AK. I think they'll need a vacation after their vacation. Below is a picture history of their visit.

By coming to Alaska in March, the obvious activity was centered around...duh...skiing.

L to R: Aimee, Pat, Matt, Meg on top of Chair 6 at the Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood. Behind is the Turnagain Arm.

Me Looking into the Christmas Chute. A visually pure couloir that runs into the North Face.

On Sunday Pat and I got up early and headed to the local Eagle River destination of North Bowl. A big wind event on Friday took all of our snow away. We were left with boilerplate hard pack.

Lobita actually hauling ass in front of me.

This picture is at the official restart of the Iditarod, the Last Great Race. 1,049 miles from Willow to Nome.
Matt and Pat write their names in the snow. Beware of yellow snow.

The whole crew on Crystal Lake. L to R: Meg, Matty, Sam, Gretchen, Aimee, Pat. This was a far better way to enjoy the Iditarod. The mushers were about 10 feet from us. Notice Meg's Skhoop, she is very proud of it. Gotta have one? See it at

Matt and Meg watch the stupid snowmachiners... (my favorite pic of this blog)
Lobita in active search mode for food. Notice Gretchen's awesome 5 layer taco dip in the background. It's laced with cocaine.
One of the mushers going past us.

After the race we headed up to a cabin on the Talkeetna spur road. There was 4 1/2 feet of snow on the ground. Shown is Pat and Meg hard at work. Meg has an amazing ability to shovel large amounts of snow with a Mike's Hard Tea in her hand.

Playing games in the cabin.

Me shoveling off the roof because it had too much snow, I got worried. Then both Pat and I were forced to jump off the roof....twice. The Alaska Amber made me do it.

Racked out.

After breakfast in Talkeetna, we drove north 47 miles to Byers Lake. The girls on snowshoes, the guys on skis. It was a little windy on the lake, so we made Aimee and Meg a little snow cave. Pat and I discuss where to ski.

Being from the East, the trees are our favorite. We chose a steep line with deep pow.

Enjoying the fluffy stuff. (this is my second favorite pic of this blog)

On Wednesday, Pat and I headed to Turnagain Pass to ski Tincan Ridge. Pat eats lunch before his first descent into world class Chugach powder.

Pat on the skintrack to take another run. Notice the tight lines in the background. Those are our nicely stitched lines from run #1. But Pat's (L) looks like a part of the male anatomy.

We skied the southern aspect on Tincan. Pat cruises on the flats.

PC drops into the tree shot.

Pat hucking...

Me and Pat in the parking lot of Tincan. Ready to enjoy an Uncle Charlie's.
Matt and Meg at our fav restaurant...Orso. This was the farewell dinner for our New York friends Pat and Aimee.

Just prior to their flight, we headed up to Hatcher Pass for some snow shoeing and skiing. It was cloudy and socked-in back in town, but sunny skies up at the Pass.
Me and LB on the road back to the parking lot.
Aimee and Adam on their way up the Hatcher Pass.

Aimee with an awesome shot of the mines in the background. These mountains are big!

Me and Lobita on the skintrack up to Eldorado Bowl.

Pat skiing a small rib off of the "toilet bowl". Yeah we weren't together because Pat broke my Fritshi's. What a buzzkill on the last day of skiing...

Pat machs on the flats. Lobita does cheetah flips.

And the parting shot. Pat after his run. Eldorado Peak in the background.