Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tincan, Gold Mint, Avalanches

I've delayed posting the most recent update, as we've had had some recent avalanche incidents in South central Alaska that takes the wind out of your sails.  But i'll take it from the top...

TP has received an enormous amount of snow (in the high country) and rain (at sea level).  Me and JD drove to Tincan to do some storm skiing.  The snow was thick and deep, a typical Tincan trees day.  I think we saw the guy who posts as "Dongshow" on Telemark Tips.

Justin breaking trail.

Me breaking trail.

Lobita breaking trail.  Actually not really, just trying to keep her head above the snow.
Justin shredding the gnar.
Justin took some nice footage of the deep powder.

So on Saturday, I headed up to Hatcher's to check out the conditions.  As my luck would be, the reports from Turnagain were "best day of the year" and "dude it was so awesome" and on and on.  Ya can't win when yer losin'!

We decided to veer off the set path of the upper mine area, and headed down the Gold Mint Trail.

On our climb, looking up valley towards the Mint Glacier.
Jody skiing carefully down the less than ideal dust on crust.

This terrain looked nice.  I believe the peak in the background is Arcose Peak, but am not sure.  The ribs and spines looked really nice, but the cover is a tad bit thin.
As I returned home, I started getting a lot of calls from backcountry skiing partners.  There was a common relief, as all said "glad to hear your voice, there was a fatality in the South Fork".  Not knowing the victim, we started a BC ski partner accountability check, and I called everyone I knew.

This happened in an area we call "Three Bowls", which was the site of several avalanche incidents in past years.  The most recent 2 seasons ago that buried a Fort Richardson Soldier, although I dont think it was reported.

Additionally, there was a separate event in Grandview that killed two snowmachiners.  One of which was the President of Conoco Phillips in Alaska.  At the time of this post, his partner Alan Gage, is still missing.

However, lets end on a good note.  Meg and I spent some time down at the Alyeska Resort for V-day.  The skiing was marginal, and was like skiing inside of a ping pong ball during a blizzard.  So we went to Chair 5 for Bloody Mary's and wings.

Meg sporting her "uniquely Alaskan" attire.


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