Sunday, January 27, 2013

You don't know, if you don't go...

With clear skies brings cold temps.  I wearily checked the Marmot weather station to find a balmy minus 14.5F temp at the ridgetops.  We put off the dawn patrol to get a later start so it could "warm up".  

After coffee at Jitters, we rallied to the Marmot lot to find lots of sunshine and two stroke.  At least the sno-go's can't high mark on Marmot this year, thanks to the new Hatcher Pass management plan.

It was great to skin in the sun, finally warming up by mid mountain.  But we weren't alone.  About 15 of our friends decided to join the slayfest of Marmot's west face.  But there is always room for everyone - where today we were greeted with good stability and soft plentiful pow.

I invested in some new partners by taking Eagle River locals Gnarly Gnikki and the Cock Doc on their first backcountry outing.  Although it can be slow slogging your first time out, we all had a blast and were glad to make it back to the car for a warm up.

The Cock Doc gets a rise out of his new DPS Wailer skis.
 Gnarly Gnikki shows her man how its done (yes this Girdwood native skis better than him...)
And then we warmed up at the Fishhook bar.  Interesting place...they even had their Valentine decorations already up.

Might be a bit before the next update.  Cabin weekend and then I get to serve this great State!

Oh yeah, in other Alaska news Lonnie Dupre bailed on his third solo winter attempt of Denali.  Good work and climb on!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Air Time at Pete's North

For day #2 of the season we tried to get away from the crowds at Pete's North.  B-real and Meesh rallied while the girls met for lunch, to find soft snow in the trees and only a couple of our closest friends.  

When I was a teenager I could huck cliffs.  But my knees can't take that kind of abuse anymore.  Myself and dogface have no problem taking pics.

The 12 year old hucking his meat.  He weighs about 75 pounds soaking wet.  I actually think he's levitating.
 Mitch goes huge.  Seconds later he double decks it.
Although the approach can be difficult, it was worth the climbing through the brush and rain crust to find great powder, lots of meadows and no one boot packing on the uptrack.

And to think that 5 years ago to the day I stood witness to one of the scariest moments in my backcountry skiing career (which was very short back then - and still is!).  See the accident report from the Sunburst avalanche.  Ski safe!

Friday, January 18, 2013

First Turns (part deux)

I took the day off and took advantage of fresh snow throughout southcentral.  Snow totals seemed to be in the 10-12" range in the Peters Creek/Eagle River valleys, but we decided to tour around Hatcher Pass.  It paid off, as the low cloud and fog cover seemed to lurk around the western Chugach for most of the day.  We were greeted with clear skies, cold temps and crown faces.

But skiing is skiing, and for my first turns of the '12-'13 season I joined Mitch, Eddie, Brian and Abe for some mellow shots above the Independence mine and lower slopes of Gold Cord.

Mitch Hatches the Uptrack.

Despite seeing some serious carnage, the ~5-6" of new snow was just enough to make it worthwhile.  A nasty crust was evident from this past weekends "atmospheric river."

Tomorrow is a newb day, as i'll be kickin' it with the Cock Doc and Gnarly Gnicki.

It's good to be back on the snow.....I belong here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

First Turns

Its official.  First turns of the 12-13 ski season were not had by yours truly.  The Shrink officially chalks up "first turns" for the Uptrack this year.

Quote: "I was following the pow!" - referring to the conditions off of Chair 6; "a stable groomed base with a couple of inches of powder".

So there you have it.  If I wasn't keeping the State of Alaska safe, i'd be out there gettin' after it too...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mad Pow Disease

It's been nearly two months since an update.  The only two planking i've done typically involves a #8d nail and a two-buh-fower.  The best news that I have is that the cabin is complete.  We had an absolute epic New Years Eve bash with about 16 of our closest friends splayed out across the loft.  We partied until 0430, something I haven't done since college - Cla$$ick!  Complete with tons of food, more than $500 worth of fireworks and stack cup.  My Dad's Bloody Mary recipe was crucial the next morning.

So now I can ski.  Too bad I have to work this weekend.  So next weekend will be my first time on the snow this season.  Its great that we have tons of snow in Turnagain Pass - nearly 10 feet of snow since December 22nd.  Too bad its sitting on ball bearings.  There have been some pretty substantial and scary avalanches as of late - one on Tincan and the other on the uptrack to what I call the Avalanche Laboratory (motorized side of TPass).

Not much to speak of in the South Fork.  The pack resembles what you'd find in early October.  Even the Telemark Tips forum was renamed the "Facet Epicness Thread".  There's a time to go big, but not this year.  And it might not get much better for SCAK.  The National Weather Service is forecasting an "atmospheric river" this weekend.  Thanks Hawaii, but we'd rather visit you - the Pineapple Express is getting a little old.

Speaking of going big, what contributed to all of these facets also contributed to some amazing mountain views.  Like this one:  Sunset on the Great One.
And the weather geeks may know the above clould to be a Lenticular.  Very commonly seen on Denali.

I know this blog needs a stoke bump, but it just wouldn't be right without some pics of the finished product.  All were taken with my GoPro to appreciate the big picture of our small cabin.

Just like The Shrink said today, we are thankful for all of the hard work by friends, family and co-workers - we couldn't have done it without you!  To think that we went from here:

To here in just 6 months is amazing.  Every weekend and lots of time off.
Special thanks to Lee Snowberger of North Ridge Rustics for his fantastic log work, attention to detail and excellent craftsmanship.

And now I promise to bring back the stoke.  The title track to "Superheroes of Stoke" will get the blood flowing:

Superheroes of Stoke Trailer from MSP Films on Vimeo.

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