turnagain pass

Sorry readers, for the extended neglect and disregard of these pages. The ski conditions have been so bleak this winter that taking pictures or writing about the little snow that was found would have been painful, and as there has been plenty of  emotional complaining around about the weather in years past, so I haven’t had anything to share. Winter never came to Cordova and conditions were so bad (the picture bellow is from my last day skiing before I left in early March) that I quit my job and moved to Anchorage. I also broke my arm skiing in Michigan which kept me off the snow for a few weeks, but I don’t think it really cost me more then a day or two on snow. Heney Peak Trail Head March 2015

I’ve been working, but the last couple of weekends I’ve been taking advantage of being connected to roads and taking the opportunity to ride in cars to go ski in Turnagain and Hatcher Pass. That might seem unremarkable but the last 3 seasons I’ve been far more likely to walk or ride a bike to a trail head then ride in a car, and for much of this winter the idea of being able to drive somewhere that had snow seemed like a far fetched dream. Yes, the hour plus drives are annoying, but the ability to drive up from sea level and park somewhere in the mountains that has snow on the ground is an incredible luxury I won’t take for granted again. photo 1

The highlight of the season (which has amounted to less time on snow then a normal season would see before Thanksgiving) was a pleasant sunny tour up Pastoral with Charlie and Dave last Sunday. Firm sun crusted snow up Taylor Creek made for quick travel, and once we reached the bottom of Pastoral the snow had changed and was perfectly set up cream.  We didn’t ski any lines of particular interest, but just being in the mountains on a sunny day with glacier views and perfect snow was some much needed therapy.photo 4

With the snow falling Wilson and I took our first day off in a week.  I got some work done while Wilson watched celebrity rehab.  Our neighbor also freaked out on a moose and tried to scare it away from his landscaping with an air horn before shooting it with a bb gun.  This is the same guy that once screamed “winter is over” from his second story window in response to us firing up the snowmachines in mid april.  The moose didn’t even flinch and eventually wandered off.  Anyway, here is the video from Wilson and I skiing from Pastoral yesterday.

I’ve been staring down the chute above since moving here.  Wilson and I finally made it happen late this afternoon.  We started out going up Sunburst, party as I’m terrified to skin underneath it and partly thinking we could hit Elevator Shaft if it looked good and make a quick day of it.  Elevator Shaft had just gotten hit by a party of 6 as we were arriving.  I got discouraged initially, but Wilson and I kept skinning and were cruising up Pastoral a few minutes later.  Upon arrival Wilson and I were a little concerned with how we’d enter the chute, but after 90 minutes of shoveling and cornice cutting we created a couple of options for ourselves.  I took a down climb around the cornice, with the aid of some cord slung around a chunk of ice, and skied out the bottom.  Wilson took a side slip to 15 ft cornice drop we’d cut and straight lined the entire chute.  Good good day, more to come.