Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ptarmigan S-Couloir

All of my normal partners bailed on me as they were in search of warm weather, and had already applied their "summer wax." I linked up with a guy from Telemark Tips - Todd, and headed out to the Ptarmigan Peak S-Couloir (also known as the North Couloir).

We walked about 4 miles in ski boots to the base of the coulie. (Note: this is not comfortable)

The "S" Couloir about midscreen. Named for the turn you make about half way down. As Todd says, "Its a shooting gallery."

We were able to skin about 300 feet before having to put on crampons.

Making my way up the steep chute. I didn't measure, but would guess the slope angle is 45-50 degrees.
Todd kickstepping with some clouds blowing over to keep the temps cool. We were a little worried about pinwheels and the snow heating up with direct sunlight.

Almost to the top. The powerline trail and Anchorage in the backdrop.

Eastern Chugach peaks. The chute in the middle looked pretty inviting.

Dropping in. I'll admit, the first 5 or so turns were pretty exhilarating.

Todd slayin' it midslope.
Quick jump turns kept my speed in check, and my quads burning...

More burning quads...

Todd skiing with the Wedge Couloir in the background.

Stopping to watch from a safe spot (and resting my legs).

Todd making his way down to the lower angle slopes and nice soft corn snow.

More corn please.
The S-Couloir after being skied.

One of the most memorable lines of the year. Oh yeah, I would run out of water just after finishing these turns. I had to walk the 4 miles back to the truck with no aqua. Luckily I had ice cold beers in the cooler.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swiss Bowl

So with the run of awesome weather Anchortown has been having lately, I decided to ride the Tsunami and take a tour back to the South Fork Valley. Prior to this, I had swore off skiing in the front range. Things changed today...

This is the person I was chasing all day long...
I was without my BFF today - both of them. I dropped Meg off at the airport so she could go to Seattle. Lobita is on the Injured Reserve as she nurses a paw injury - a medical hold for the Backcountry Ski Team.
On my skin up. A picture of Mount Spurr way in the distance.

This shot is overlooking the Ship Creek valley.
On my way to my first run. This one doesn't have a name, but I skied this shot a year ago for my 30th birthday celebration. I'm a little early, but Mt. Redoubt had a vote with taking all of our snow away.
Nothing but saucy goodness. A little rotten midslope, but overall skied very nice. I heart spring.

Another look during my bootpack up to the top. I hate bootpacking.

Another angle. Notice the plane in the upper left. This is the second day in a row I was able to get a plane in my photo. See post titled "Whittier Glacier."

The token "i'm getting ready to drop in" shot. This is Swiss Bowl proper.
Turns #1 and #2 - good.
Turns #3 through #15 - not so good.
Turns #15 through exhaustion - off da' sichter, bra.
Butter sauce goodness.
Swiss bowl when I was changing into hiking shoes. Last year I was able to ski all the way to the parking lot. I had to hike the 1.5 miles back to the parking lot.

Viewing tracks laid down on the way out.

I really heart spring corn!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Whittier Glacier

With the recent run of excellent weather - clear blue skies and temps in the 60's - I decided to head down to Whittier (,_Alaska) for some spring skiing.

A large rock slide has closed the Whittier tunnel for the past 3 weeks, so I took advantage of the free train offered by the Alaska Railroad. I loaded up my skis, and enjoyed the scenery.

Skinning up the Whittier Glacier. We started at the Begich Towers and hiked above the town.

Jon and Jessica make their way up the glacier.

Jon flashes his gang sign. Jessica says he should dress and act more his age.

Going to the top of this ridge was a group call. But the views were worth it. It took about 3 hours for this view. Overlooking Prince William Sound.

Me taking in the scenery.

Some terrain I would like to explore in the future.

Jon and Jessica perfecting their "Corn 8's".

Jon getting cornholed by the nice corn snow...

Tracks being laid down on the Whittier Glacier.

Overlooking our run to the bottom. We had to stop 5 or 6 times to rest the run was so long.

This is a shot of Whittier. The last pitch to the bottom.

Jessica drops the knee.

Jon drops the knee.

I fix my heel. I made one more run by myself and found this nice shot, which access required skiing a narrow couloir. Very much worth the 45 min hike.

I was back on the train by 5:00PM and met Meg at Maxine's in Girdwood for some dinner.