Tuesday, April 20, 2010

After Work Commute

Tis the season for after work skiing.  Newlyweds Matt and Agnes Hage headed up to Peak 3 for a quick ski.  Conditions didn't look like spring skiing from our point of view.  We saw other usuals headed up to get the goods, like Billy Finley.

The Anchorage Ants making the nightly commute.  It looks like Peak 3 is erupting.  Not another Mount Reroute, I mean Redoubt.
The weather was calling for high winds.  Spindrifts and plumes coming off of Peak 2 and Flattop.
Conditions were better than expected.  We found decent wind buffed powder on the top 1/3, and breakable styrofoam wind slab on the lower reaches of the valley.  Not bad for an afternoon jaunt.

"The Misses" (AKA Agnes) ripping it up.
"The Mister" (AKA Matt, #1, The Shralpster) dropping the knee.

Quotes I heard during the tour:
"Lets go find some windslab!!"
"If you want summer, go to Fairbanks"
"It doesn't look like spring up here."

Happy April 20th you hippies!

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Champagne Brunch

Well it's that time of year again.  Every third Saturday in April we head up to the Rae-Wallace bowl in Hatcher Pass for the Formal Champagne Brunch.  This event is sponsored by the Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol.

Bottom Line: dig a table in the snow, drink beer/bubbly, eat good food, ski.  Nuff said??

Here is the table shown and everyone enjoying themselves.
Meg and Gretchen all dressed up, enjoying the drinks.  Jasper providing rear security.
Meg behind our grill.  Yes, I said grill.  I almost had a heart attack dragging our Coleman portable grill up to the festival in a sled.
Indiana Chamberlain.  Sam gets to wear this tie once a year.  And its like 60 years old.
Who's hungry?  LB waits patiently for someone to drop some food.
This guy's all dressed up.  Did I mention this is a formal event.  Nice flannel.
It's time for some skiing.  Cowboy Sam dropping the knee.
Meg showin' us how its done.
Our setup, shown from above.  And LB headed back to the ranch.
Let's go make some turns!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pigot Bay, Prince William Sound

Sam C and I have been planning a ski trip to PWS for a while now.

We reserved a USFS cabin in Pigot Bay, and skied for 4 days in and around the cabin and surrounding drainages.  I took some good advice from friends who had done a similar trip last winter, and brought along a 14' Zodiac and 15hp motor.  And it paid dividends...

Sam, Justin and I landed on the beach to find bluebird skies and lots of snow.  Estimated snowpack depth was about 12-15 feet!

Preparations started early.  I brought the Zodiac, Sam brought the kitchen sink.
We got a water taxi from Cap'n Mike Bender at Lazy Otter Charters.  His boat, The Explorer, devoured all of our gear.
The shooting gallery.
Yes we have a maritime snowpack.  Heavy and wet gives way to cold smoke.
After setting up camp and downloading gear, we headed out for a maiden voyage of the Zodiac to ski from the USCG Communications Tower.  Enroute to our objective.
Lots of up and down, bushwhacking, deep snow, trailbreaking.....and sunshine.
Lobita enjoying the cold smoke April powder.
A look at our tracks just left of center below the tower.  Beautiful steep tree skiing.  Reminds me of glade skiing on the east coast.
Out of our front door on Saturday morning.  Its gonna be a good day...
A rare view.  Skis on a boat?  Putting a new meaning to "sea to summit".
Just about the only wildlife we saw.
We climbed in the sun and gained the ridgeline.  Justin drops over the north side to find more April powder shots into Pirate Cove.
Another run of the goodness.  We actually wanted to ski the couloir in the background, but were thwarted by cliffs/nogo terrain, and tidal flats.
Dogface got quite the workout.  I've never seen her do this before.  She made a bed and took a power nap, like a sled dog.
Literally skiing to the ocean, from summit to sea.
Cabin life.  The PB cabin was really nice.  It got an upgrade recently, and has a nice propane heater and some new furniture and woodwork.  Thanks CNF!!
Sunday was a bit of a touring day.  We were headed for the backside of the cabin, but Jack got quilled by a Porcupine.  We returned to the cabin for first aid, he wasn't having it.  We headed out again in the Zod, and were turned around after a puking snow storm, bad vis, and one hell of a bushwhack.

The staples of a skiing trip.  Summer Ale, pontoons, and a PFD.  Glad we had them.  We received about 12" of fresh the morning we left.  We ate like Kings.  Sam C grilling steaks from Mike's Meats in Eagle River.
Storm skiing in the P-dub!  Justin contemplating the drop in.

All in a days work.  The Cap'n and his second mate (Meg would be the first) headed back to the beach.
Not sure exactly of the totals, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 7000 vertical feet skied.  Here is a map of our climbing (red) and ski descents (blue).
This type of trip is certainly on the agenda for each spring, and to explore what else PWS has to offer.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Resort Storm Skiing

Megs and I hit the resort on Easter Sunday in hopes of catching some fresh snow and small crowds.  And we got lucky and found both!

About 6" of snow had fallen while we were skiing, and Alyeska Resort received about 35" of snow total from this storm system.

Meg earnin' it in the low vis powder conditions.  Quote from Meg while tearing it up, "I was following the pow..."
And the problem with April storms is that they come in heavy and wet.  Meg and I enjoying the wet portion of our day.  

Meg and I enjoying the Bloody Mary portion of our day at Chair 5.  Look at all that stuff!  

We are on a quest to find the best Bloody Mary (besides my Dad's) in the Upper One.  But all in all.......good powder, and good apres ski!