Saturday, April 28, 2012

Site Summit Couloirs

I spent the last two nights searching for the goods in a popular backcountry ski destination at the top of Arctic Valley road.  Folks from South Anchorage call Peak 3 their home; people from Eagle River call places like North Bowl, Harp and Arctic Valley their home.

We made quick time past the Nike Missile silo and searched for our line that we had recce'd earlier while skiing Gordon Lyon.  The weather was splitter, no wind and bluebird; perfect day to enjoy a Silver Bullet and enjoy the panoramic views which encompassed the Talkeetna's, Alaska Range, the Revelations, Tordrillo's, Chigmits and Neocola's - pretty impressive view.

We chose a nice open bowl.  The corn on the bottom was perfect - in the midst of winter we'd call this "hero snow".  But you really can't ski powder in shorts...
The Lone Ranger.  Lobita decided to have a meltdown and didn't follow me.  B-real had to ratchet down her collar and give her a swift kick in her fourth point of contact.  All was good once she dropped in.
 A little bootpack never hurt anyone.  Up and over the saddle for a late evening corn run back to the truck.
With fear of low pressure and rain for the weekend, we rallied again on Friday night for a quick trip to snag a couloir that we had eyed the night before.  We were a little late as the clouds rolled in, winds ramped up, and yes..... it was snowing sideways.

Tyler contemplating his entrance.
Justin jump-turning down the throat of the Site Summit Couloir.  The apron was much nicer and softer - perfect afternoon corn. (and yes that's a snow squall moving past us!)
The shenanigans that ensued would be best discussed over a beer - preferably with cheese fries at the Eagle River Ale House.  All i'll say is that it involved a missing ski, self arrests, trading ski poles and a little bit of skiing and bootpacking!

Enjoy the corn... it'll be around for a while.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


A few years ago, we all rallied at the Bear Tooth for the CNFAIC Fundraiser to listen to Kristoffer Erickson talk about his Alaskan spring skiing adventures.  It was a sweet presentation and this cat really got after it, but all he talked about was skiing some "Soft Buttery Corn."

Long days and warm temps rewarded us with some nice spring skiing last night in the South Fork valley. B-real and I hammered up Harp Mountain after work.  We arrived at the top wiping the sweat off our brows, dehydrated and looking for a Coors Light.

When the Mountains turn blue, It's as Cold as the Chugach!

I think Eddie said it right... "if you know someone who’s still looking rather pasty, tell em to get off their ass and get into the hills."  And if you haven't check his latest footie from his seggie, do so; it's pretty tight.

Its the time of year when all of the season ending parties take place like the Champagne Brunch and this years inaugural "Corn Harvest" sponsored by the CNFAIC.  And we all have those good "farmers" tans.

B-real harvests his own crops...
As this epic record-breaking winter winds down we all have to answer the question, 

"Whoa, where have you been, vacation?  

"Nope, ... Alaska!"

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Other Twin Peaks

I decided to head off the beaten path a bit out towards the Valley.  Usually I take that route to explore the granite spires of Hatcher Pass, but this time deviated towards the Old Glenn Highway with valley local Mitch.

The saddle between East and West Twin Peaks was the destination (the obvious low point in the center of this photo).
We didn't make the best terrain decision, as the back side of this skin track required us to descend about 300 vertical feet that had been baking in the sun all day.  We lived to ski another day.  We did see some other tracks over near POW/MIA, which appear to be these guys.

The approach and ski back to the truck was one of the worst i've experienced.  Alders and Devils Club as thick as thieves.  Made the beers back at the truck taste extra good!

Things will slow down here a bit.  Working next weekend, playing the last weekend in April, and then working again for my 15 days of mandatory fun!  Then we head to the Gulkana for Memorial Day, followed by the real work - building a cabin!

Until next time.  I'm still picking Devils Club out of my arms and legs...

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