Girdwood snow bonding to Joes Porch

Girdwood snow bonding well

First, I’ve got to thank Dr. Joe for coming through and offering us the use of his empty cabin. Consecutive sunny days of skiing 3 feet of new snow is hard to improve on, but staying at Joe’s place in Girdwood gave the last two days a more exotic far from home feel, which was an improvement on our usual routine of commuting from Anchorage.

I sensed we were about to get lucky and enter a sunny period while watching the weather thursday, and that night I convinced Kim to use my snowmachine to accompany Mikey on a Turnagain reconnaissance mission on friday. I spent the day scanning the FAA web cams for disruptive clouds, but found nothing but clear skies as my excitement for the weekend blossomed. Their reports of light snow and clear skies made getting to sleep difficult.

We spent both Saturday and Sunday in a dark seldom used valley on the Kenai Peninsula. Max and I were the only skiers there. Over both days we saw a total of 6 people other then Max, Mikey and Myself, and 3 of them were hunting ptarmigan(with mini 14s!) and the rest were too busy rescuing two stricken sleds to enjoy the light untracked snow on offer. I’ll take sharing the slopes with hunters over skiers any day, long may it continue.

Tell-A-Lie Creek at Dusk

Tell-A-Lie Creek at Dusk

The access route to the area pictured above is a smooth 15 mile trail, that snakes up the side of a mountain before turning to enter the long elevated valley, dotted with sparse stunted spruce trees and gentle alders, with a rocky 5,000 foot peak at it’s head. Locals, hoping to keep the place from becoming another Turnagain with a Bush Company like social scene, have instructed us to refer to the place as Tell-A-Lie Creek. It’s a hope I myself share, as dropping in Saturday near dusk, on the first big face I’ve skied all season, while the entire valley was bathed in subarctic pastels and without another ski tracks for miles, I realized how rare a treat I was in for, with the Turnagain Pass becoming a Wasatch-esque experience, complete with filmers traveling in custom bedazzled trucks, righteous christmas tree cutting hicks, and gapping hoards intent on spending their holidays laying waste to any powder in sight. Both Max and I found easy skiing cream powder in our chutes before firing up the sleds and heading home in the dark.

Saturday Evenings Line

Saturday Evening's Lines

Saturday night remains a bit confusing as my memory has serious gaps. Max had issues with his woman, and had to drive to Anchorage, giving Mikey and I a head start on getting drunk that both of us were keen on taking advantage off. I ended up passing out face down (still wearing wet ski clothes and xtra tuffs) after I had crashed off my bar stool at the Stitzmark and staggered back to Joe’s cabin. Hangovers had both Mikey and I up well before dawn, and our stumbling around in Joe’s cabin in the dark while looking for water and dry clothes roused Max soon after. With the moon shining through the window I knew it’d a clear day; so being motivated, we opportunistically parlayed our hangovers into a super early start, and after breakfest at The Bake Shop we were on the road as the sun was just starting to peak over the mountains.

Turnagain Arm at Dawn

Turnagain Arm at Dawn

Despite a short delay caused by an annoying snowplow driver intent on scamming the DOT by clocking needless overtime while plowing on a gorgeous sunday morning, we were motoring up the trail just as the peaks above Tell-A-Lie creek were bathed in a pale orange from their first moments of the sunshine. Our early start allowed us time to play with the snowmachines in the flats before venturing a mile further then the previous day and up into an enormous elevated cirque surrounded my dozens of rock lined chutes. I picked a north facing shot and began booting. Max had forgotten both his jacket and ski poles in the mornings chaos so he decided that with only a Consumer Direct fleece for warmth and alder branches for poles, he was better off working the video camera while drinking R&R and coffee watching Usau make Alberto Tomba turns on his snowmachine, as I post holed and swam through chest deep snow.

fleecing the DOT on a sunday

fleecing the DOT on a sunday

The chute skied like it was spring, without any rocks or wind crust, but I unfortunately skied slowly as it’s still early winter, my legs were exhausted from the climb, and not yet conditioned to extensive daily use. But being over 15 miles from the nearest skiers, in a chute I’d never before seen or heard of, and with last weeks 3 feet of snow to play in, I had the type of super pleasing run that keeps me smiling hours or days later.

My chute in the middle

My chute in the middle

Last night as I watched my recording of El Classico I put together a little video of our weekends exploits, with some early season peninsula skiing bookending Mikey putting his new ski-do through it’s paces. I realize it may be a little long and slow, but you can watch me take my time down the chute or catch Max get flung over the handle bars by a rock if you’ve go some time. At the least it should expand and look decent. Enjoy, I’d keep telling stories but I really need to get back to work, only 2 more days to go and then the chaos begins. I really can’t wait.

HD Version Here

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