Monday, April 25, 2011

Powder Baskets

The easter bunny greeted the day with baskets filled with powder, a whippet, and Utica Club.

Not to mention an early morning run to Hatcher Pass before brunch.  B-real and I toured up into the Rae-Wallace bowl, looking left and right, debating on what to ski.  To the right was a nice north-facing chute from atop Fish Peak (or Marmot or the Rae-Wallace Headwall depending on nomenclature).  To the left was my all-time favorite run off the north side of Microdot - Nosebleed.  This is a top contender for always holding good snow.  We decided to ski Nosebleed and were pleasantly rewarded with soft powder in April!

B-real makes his way out of the Rock Garden.  Sorry I don't have any good ski pics - we were doomed by flat light.
 Lobita shakes it off....aint' nuthin' but a thang.
In other news, some folks have been getting after it - skiing Mount Bold.  It seems that this is the time of year when people start slaying big Western Chugach peaks.  I've heard that Mount Rumble and Yukla also got tagged.  Others have slogged it out to ski Bench Peak in the Kenai's....very nice and worth the powder preservation. 

And you can tell its that time of year.  Roman and Timmy J made the first run down Six Mile.  This always happens....the skiing is so good that I dont want to give it up; but boating season is upon us!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taming the Lyon

“Even the boldest zebra fears the hungry lion.”

I guess that's how we approached Mount Gordon Lyon.  The tallest looming peak in the Arctic Valley drainage begs to get skied as you drive down the Glenn Highway and stare at its inviting north face.  Fellow Eagle River skiers B-real, Eric and The Hoff set out to climb and ski the inviting powdery slopes of the Site Summit ridge.

B-real makes his way towards the Cook Inlet.
Eric being chased by his own lion, Stella.
Contemplating why they call this Mount Gordon Lyon...
So I looked it up.  Its ironic that Gordon M. Lyon was an employee at the Corps of Engineers in the Alaska District as a project engineer in charge of construction of the Army Nike Missle site , and later engineer in charge of the Site Summit Nike station. 

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Hairline Triggers...

If you ski in the backcountry, you've heard about the remotely triggered avalanche in Hatcher Pass this past weekend.  There was a flurry of pictures on TTips, and various other blogs who posted about the touchy conditions.  But you couldn't help but notice the cold smoke (yes in April!) on north facing aspects.

I put together a quick little vid of some of the pictures I took and video of my bonding tests.  The bottom line is that they correlated perfectly to the activity we saw on the hill.  Wide propagation and clean and fast shears.

Enjoy the April pow and ski safe!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Winter is Still Here...

Thank you Mother Nature for the Front Range refresh!  Two minor storms dumped about 6 inches of spring powder and reset the brutally wind hammered western Chugach.  Spring really hasn't sprung yet, and places south of Anchorage are currently on the receiving end of the fire hose.

The deteriorating snow conditions allowed me to make good use of my Level II skills and geeked out in some snow pits on Harp and Tincan before having to go back to work.  109 days off - but now I don't have to shave everyday and I get to pick out what I wear each morning.

B-real and I refilled the stoke tank with an apres-work ski outing to Hiland Road.  There was a small wind event that gave us just enough trouble on the uptrack to be spooked.  Some fat and bulbous pockets of soft slab were noted, with whumping above slope, underfoot, and down slope.  It took some careful and conservative route finding. 

But we finally found what we were looking for.
 Straight line distance to Anchortown - 14.37 miles!
 Me and LB enjoying April cold smoke.
We caught the perfect soft light weather window.  There is a "mega-storm" wreaking havoc in Alaska right now.  This monster will hopefully prolong our ski season.
And finally, a ski guide was caught in an avalanche which resulted in a full burial yesterday afternoon while conducting snow assessment.  Good job on the rescue!  Read the report in today's advisory.

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