Friday, March 23, 2012

Shredding in Thompson, Hatcher and Turnagain Pass!!!

We woked up under some beautiful weather in Valdez. 

The village has received so much snow this winter that the highest structure in town is a snowpile right in the middle of the town. It is actually so big, that you can carve turns in it (and of course, I did!!!)

All stoked to finally have a nice day, we drove up to Thompson Pass all hope!  We headed towards an area call Promise Land. This little plateau is suppose to have a lot of couloir that should have protected the snow from the wind of the past days. 

We started with decent weather, but the wind quickly picked up! From our experience, the gust were probably around 80 km/h to 90km/h. We were hiking from one tree to shelter to an other one to avoid frostbites.

Then Amelie got cold. I'm sure you all know that there isn't much you can do when the lady is getting cold beside then taking the skins off and skiing down!

The snow wasn't deep but it was nice and steady. 

We enjoy this rather short day of skiing to shower at the Rendez-Vous Heli-ski Lodge. The warm water really contrast from the cold temperature of the day! We also cheated on our cook-our-own camp-stove diet for some nachos, burger and beer!

After spending as much time we could inside the lodge, we finally slept in their parking lot. We woke up the following morning with the helicopter taking off which was a sign of great weather!

A bit bummed from our turnaround of the previous day, we headed back to Promise Land (you need to park around Mile 35.2). On our way up, we catch up with Wendy and Brendan who were heading pretty much towards the same area. The hike this time was much nicer with the wind much lower. 

On the way up, Wendy suddenly disappear!

She fell in a 'crevasse' created by the detachment of the huge cornice from the slope. She was unharmed and was able to climb back up of the 'crevasse' by herself!

We kept going and finally got to the Promise Land. The area certainly deserves its name! There are multiple of couloirs to be hike and shredded.

Unfortunately, we found that the higher part of the couloir has been wind hammered and was featuring a breakable crust. We stayed low and were able to get some nice turns!

The lower part of the run was mostly windbuff and wind pack snow and wasn't the greatest skiing but fun anyway!

This allowed us to leave Valdez on a good note since this was probably the best day we had during our stay there. We started our journey back towards Anchorage as Babiche was landing the following day! 

Since I've already told him that I wouldn't be at the airport when he will land since I will be out skiing (he was landing in the middle of the day!!!), we stopped in Hatcher Pass to carve turns. 

We didn't get the perfect day like we did the last time we skied it, but it didn't looked like the wind has hit the area as much as in Valdez. We worked our way up to a peak (don't know the name of it!) and were able to get some really nice turn in the areas that hasn't seen the sun. 

On the drive down from the pass, we saw a moose about 10m from the road. He was certainly not impress by our presence since he kept eating like we were not there. 

We then understood why he wasn't scared. Apparently, there is about 2 moose per day that are getting into car accident in the road nearby! I guess it must be quite an awesome place for hunting!!!

Babiche was at the airport waiting for us. We now had to puzzle how to get his stuff and him into our Matrix. After a rather successful Tetris game, we were all onboard and ready to go!

We drove down to Girdwood (home of Alyeska resort) to camp out. 

The following day has brought about 10inches of snow in the parking lot. Amelie was a bit tired from all the consecutive ski days we've done and decided to rest for her last day. 

I took off with Babiche and drove back to Pete's South in Turnagain Pass. The poor visibility we had made us move towards somewhere I knew there would be great tree skiing and not any open snowfield hanging above us. 

Babiche is now alpine skiing and it was my first time with him on his locked heels. He didn't get the chance to ski much this winter around Tahoe since they have had quite a terrible winter. He quickly showed me his new alpine skills!!!

…. as I was just enjoying nice soft turns!!!

After a few laps, I guess he was a bit more into it and was able to get some nice deep turns (his deepest of the season so far!) 

We drove back to Girdwood where Amelie has spend her day off. Apparently, the Alyeska resort has received 22 inches at the top and most of the good terrain was closed!

Looks like we have some resort skiing lining up for tomorrow!!!


beendu islam said...
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maria sultana said...
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