It seemed like every skier I know was at the Tin Can lot this morning.  Proper and the Library got destroyed, Charlie (pictured above), Graham and Neil (track pictures here) snowboarded some incredible lines further back.  Luke had mittens on his feet at one point trying to avoid frostbite (it was -5 ish), and a large group of friends with a dog hacked through a giant cornice to ski some nice lines (picture bellow)  just road side of the lines Graham and Neil took.  I even got to see a speed wing descent of Tin Can proper.  So despite not skiing anything worth mentioning (I’ve lost all skills) an all around incredible day on skis that will stick in the memory for a while.

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I went out solo on Sunday figuring I just needed to turn some laps and get in shape, but the conditions turned out to be fantastic with light waist deep snow like I remember from my Alta days blowing over my head at all times.  A couple of pillow lines with cold deep faceshots really rounds out a weekend.  Things were breaking loose down low, but the snow was so light and un-bonded as to not really be a concern.  Hopefully more soon, Wilson is even talking about getting back out there now that his toes seem to have heeled.

It’s been cold with continuous snowfall since Wednesday evening.  Today, we got a brief glimpse of the sun when the sucker hole pictured above opened up.  Andy and I were even considering racing down to the car and driving to Summit Lake for some turns in the sunshine.  Luckily, as soon as we realized what a bad idea that was, the hole in the clouds closed in on itself and it began snowing again.  The last two days have been some slow powder laps.  Incredible conditions for thanksgiving weekend, I can’t wait for the weather to break so we can get on something with some pitch.

It snowed rather substantially Saturday night (I wasn’t expecting it) allowing for some fantastic powder skiing on Sunday.  The sun moved in and out of the clouds, and despite the warmer temps down low the snow stayed nice and light.  I even got a few Alta style faceshots.  All this snow, this early in the year has left me feeling weak and out of shape, as my legs haven’t had a chance to build into the conditions, and everything looks so good it’s hard to hold yourself back and take it easy.

 

Andy and I tried to go elsewhere, but as we drove further the rain only increased, so we retreated and parked at Tin Can along with another 20 cars.  I do love seeing the regional bro’s early season enthusiasm, which gets people out walking through creeks and post holing in the rain for some low visibility turns in some very super sticky snow.  I guess it goes to explain why so many people are burnt out by march, but who cares.  Great times, the circus like atmosphere and drinking beers in blowing snow on Tin Can really made it feel like winter was back.  So pleased

 

Н. Е. Тимков

Driving home after Saturday’s powder fest I was made to believe that Sunday’s forecast called for more sunshine and more cold,  which prompted me to make around of phone calls and set  some semi-ambitious plans for following morning.  So I went to bed with happy thoughts, a stomach full of beer and thoughts  of steep sunny powder to come only to be  woken up early the next morning by both my planned ski partners calling to inform me that it was cloudy and they now had other plans.  Which at the time wasn’t too bad as I was tired and going solo allowed me to sleep a bit longer.

After a customary late start I ended up meeting up with Jeff (recently back from New Zeeland / Antarctica) and Graham and took a couple runs off the south side of Tin Can.  The snow was fantastic, and much deeper then the snow found on Saturday.  So deep that I don’t have much video as the lens was usually covered with snow after a turn or two.  The most interesting aspect of the day was Sue’s continued insistence on finding her own way down each run.  Where as in the past she would normally give chase, now she seems to try to discern where I’m going, and then looks for a solid path to get their.  It’s a bit unnerving when you get to the bottom of each run and the dog is nowhere to be found, but she always arrives after a minute or two so I don’t really know if it’s a problem.  Anyway, on to some video

A week ago sunday I went out for a quick solo snow depth check in Turnagain.  Despite the thin conditions (I had to boot for quite a ways) down low, I found plenty of room for some decent turns up high and I drove home thrilled due the general winteryness of the weather (cars were sliding into the ditch).  Regardless of being back in Anchorage, which seemed stuck in early October, the brief taste of snow launched hope that winter was imminent  and I spent  the next 5 days obsessively checking the weather, searching for reaffirmations that winter was arriving for real.  I don’t think I was alone either, as most of my mornings opened with emails commenting on the radar mosaic or some 948mb low south of the aleutians.  Yet despite all the interest and attention, with everyone seemingly busy or elsewhere, the only confirmation that yes winter was actually arriving  and snow was falling were the various automated snowtel sites.

By Friday, having spent a week watching the weather and thinking about snow, I was a worthless drooling wreck struggling to make it through the day.  Graham was actually able to make it out on Friday and called raving about much snow had fallen over the week,  claiming it already looked like January.  Knowing that pre-Christmas is usually the busiest time of year on Tin Can plans were made to get an early start, but were met with  inevitable delays  Saturday morning and we arrived at about the same time as Max, who’d both slept in and eaten breakfast.  Regardless, we were there before most, and were able to get 2 quick laps in the morning, before it warmed up and became tracked mash potatoes.  With plenty of beers on hand we took two more laps in the afternoon, bouncing off the many small cliffs that will be entirely buried in a couple of weeks.  We didn’t bother going up top, despite seeing others enjoying the upper bowl, we kept it in the trees.  A long tiring day, couldn’t be happier that ski season is back and that long boring other part of the year is over.  More to come.

UPDATE: OffPiste has reminded me to push the Federal Land Avalanche Protection Act of 2010 (Senate Bill 2907), which is aimed at “providing Federal funding for avalanche forecasting and research.” To be blunt, you either support this measure, or I consider you a scummy sack of shit from this day forward, contact your local congress person or click here to register your support.