Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bottomless Powder

I'm calling it the best day of the year!  Others call it "epic"; "bottomless"; "today was as good as it gets"; and "DEEP!"  Turnagain Pass received about 30"+ of loose, low density, bottomless, unconsolidated snow last Sunday/Monday.

Today we reaped the benefits of that storm by setting the skin track and breaking trail with JD and B-real.

-15F at the truck, we made quick time, little stops and hammered it out until we got into the sun.  And a lot of folks gave thanks!  I actually had one guy say "we should have to pay a toll".

This was your toll:  First Tracks!

The sock monkey gave me good luck on a phenomenal day.  But he didn't keep my feet warm.  I returned to the truck walking on two blocks of east coast ice.  Riding the "Mattawatts".
Justin and I after tending to our crops....(get it? farming our turns!)
I've got two weeks break to help a friend a build a cabin, and drill.  Gotta love it!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Get Educated

The last day of high pressure was just like the last 10.  Cold (-26F in Portage), clear and light wind.  I met Josh at Ingram Creek and we decided to get our learn on in The Library.  We also grabbed Brian as they headed back to Anchorage due to -22F temps at the Twin Peaks trailhead.

The Librarian looking for a good novel.
There have been some quite impressive lines skied in the far reaches of Turnagain Pass.  Like these, on the south face of Wolverine and Eddie's.  Somebody really got after the back bowl's at the end of Eddie's ridge.

Brian does his homework (that's funny because he's an Engrish teacher!).
Josh taking the final exam after an all-night cram session!
Sorry for all of the school/library references - it was funny at the time.  Stability has been bomber and a lot of great skiing was had.  But the low pressure has deposited a nice refresh to the Kenai Mountains - we'll have to wait and see how everything flushes out.

In other news, this guy showed up and was ready to shred Tincan.....literally.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

High Pressure and High Lines

We returned from Maui to temps well below zero, and fresh snow.  Not to mention the hurricane that produced 100mph winds throughout SCAK.

I took a quick conditions check tour to Hatcher Pass, and battled my way up through the avalanche laboratory (ie. the west face of Marmot where the snowmachiners were highmarking above me and snowboarders riding three at a time).  I got well out of their way on the ridge top.  Views were nice to the east near The Presidents.
I chose the last prominent rib on West Marmot.  It was a decent 3" of light powder on a super stable base.
 I didn't ski solo (house rules), my new sock monkey was watching my six...
On MLK day I rallied with the Page brothers and Whittier local Josh to ski some lines in the Pass.  We chose some thrilling lines on southfacing Cornbiscuit that were well worth the climb.  Two weeks of drinking beer and eating good food does nothing for your mountain fitness.

Chris slaying the blue and white!

 The Snobomb showing us how its done.
 Josh is glad he kept his AT setup.
The highlight of the day was watching this group of five go huge on Goldpan; with one rider almost rag-dolling over a rockband after getting knocked off his feet by the sluff.
Sluff Management is the name of the game.  Ski fast, take chances!

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Meg and I just returned from almost 2 weeks in Hawaii - 3 days on Oahu and 9 days on Maui.  It was a nice pleasant surprise to come home and shovel the foot-and-a-half of snow that was in my driveway.  But the 80 degree temps and sunshine was a nice break from the sub-zero temps that Alaska has to offer this time of year.
Above is our local hangout - the Grotto Bar at the Grand Wailea.  We would start our day with a Bloody 10:00 am (my Dad's is still the best)!  The hotel was quite grande, we didn't leave the pool area for 3 days to do anything responsible.  Riding the "rapids" with the kids was pretty darn fun!  Packraft not required.
And of course you have to take advantage of the only water elevator in the world, right?!
Speaking of kids, I watched these two teenagers do back flips off the rope swing.  I just couldn't quite get it.  I think the gymnast in the group could have nailed the landing like Kerri Strug.
Every Sunday, locals gather at Little Beach for the fire dance.  The scene was something i've witnessed in Girdwood - good tunes, good vibes, very little clothing and ummmm good herbs.
I would return with friends (and my clothes) three days later for some boogie boarding.  Something I haven't done in nearly 15 years.  The last time being in the Atlantic Ocean near Fenwick Island, Delaware. "If in doubt, paddle out!"
Yours truly shootin' the curl.  "Eddie would go".
We also had to see what SUP...Stand Up Paddle boarding that is.  Meg rocked it.
Excellent friends Marisa & Aaron surprised us with a sunset whale watch cruise on the Hula Girl sailing vessel.  The Doc enjoys the sun while double fisting (ok, my Brunette is holding the Bikini Blonde).
The Humpback Whales gave us some good views of the spouts, breaching and tail slaps.  We hope to see them this summer in PWS.
Certainly the highlight of the trip, and filling up the adrenaline tank, we took a 5-zipline tour with Kapalua Adventures.  I highly recommend this trip, and guides David and Grant were top notch....referring to us Alaskans as the "Other" Hawaiians.
After the tour we had to head to the airport, but by way of the north shore.  We stopped at the Nakalele Blowhole for some pics on a beautiful (and hot) afternoon.
The end of the rainbow doesn't always hold a pot of gold.  Some d-bag fell into the blowhole this past summer.  That's a good way to remove yourself from the gene pool.
Maui is home to the best sunsets when viewed from the western shore.  I was searching for the infamous "green flash" - not sure if I found it in the Longboard Lager or the Bikini Blonde.

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