Friday, December 23, 2011

Cuttin' Skins

So I finally put my new Black Diamond Ascension Nylon Split STS Climbing Skins on the "Mattawatts".  This is to give thanks to Ullr (and Mr. Claus!) for 14" of nice fresh new snow which blanketed the Anchorage Front Range!  Bout dang time after three back-to-back Chinooks.

Hopefully i'll test out the new boards on a dawn patrol (Dawn Patrol: Verb, noun. To extricate oneself from bed at ungodly hours of the morning in an attempt to bring some life to a mind numbing corporate existence) tomorrow morning before the Christmas Eve festivities.

Hopefully i'll post some Christmas Stoke!  Happy Holidays!

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Level 3 Prep/Observers Course

I brushed up my forecasting and observer skills this past week with the Alaska Avalanche School.

The Level 3 Prep/Observers Course focused on the the standards presented in the Snow, Weather and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States - also known as the "SWAG".

Led by Tucker and Brad, whom I always seem to run into, we spent the day touring and standing in snow pits on the lower elevations of Tincan.  It was a beautiful bluebird day in the morning, turning to greybird in the afternoon with the winds ramping up - with 70mph gusts on Sunburst and 84mph on Rendezvous!

The previous ~6" of new snow dried out nicely and made for some pretty awesome skiing (...or so i've heard).  We ran into some familiar faces who skied Tincan Proper and Todd's Run....dang jealous!

The view from our snowpit basecamp.  High winds over on Pyramid Peak and the north side of the Arm.
 2mm surface hoar...something to watch out for at mid-lower elevations.
 Five snowpits....looks like craters from a CBU-31 JDAM.
Any snow geeks can find my observation here.  We wrapped up the course at Chair 5 over a beer.  I always recommend brushing up on your early season avy skills with some type of "continuing education" - and the crew at the AAS is top notch!  Thanks Tucker!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Boards

I apologize, I think all of this rain was my fault.  I got my new skis mounted on Friday, and woke up on Saturday to heavy rainfall and Hurricane force winds (Beaufort Force 12, or Category 2 Hurricane force winds according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale)

Shown above is the Black Diamond "Mattawatt", with the Dynafit Vertical ST binding.

Now all we need is a big powder day.  This reminds me of last February's "anti-tracks".  I'm calling it the DMFC - "December Melt-Freeze Crust", and at lower elevations you might even find some DRC - "December Rain Crust".

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Monday, December 5, 2011


It was just too good to be true.  November was an awesome start to the ski season, with some phenomenal visibility, cold snow, and stability over the Thanksgiving weekend....and we gave thanks! (yeah this is a repeat photo, but it was an awesome day - Down Under bound Matt Hage slaying the big mountain powder!)

But the recent Chinook winds have produced gusts up to 101mph on the top of Rendezvous Peak at Arctic Valley, and Breal told me 118mph gusts on the Hillside at Glen Alps.  This is the only Chinook that i'm used to....the CH-47 type....
I can only explain it as "jumping into a big screen TV".

I'm glad I had to work this weekend, because it wasn't a good weekend to enjoy the skiing.  I think the upper elevations got some decent snow, but heavy rains blanketed the front range.

Time to burn some skiis in the name of Ullr.

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