Thursday, April 5, 2012

Conclusion of the 7th season of SnowChasing!

After a couple coffee at the Alyeska daylodge, we eventually gather enough motivation to get our ass off and leave to go skiing.  We both haven't really been able to figure what it was but we weren't seeing exactly what the forecast was saying. We were able to see much more natural activity than what was on the forecast.

Since the latest snow conditions weren't the most stable, we made it out towards Pete's North for some low angle turns. I wasn't in prime shape, but Babiche was even worst than me! After a rather short day, we took off south towards Seward to check out the options.

There is really a lot of mountains all the way down from Turnagain Pass all the way to Seward. Even straight from the town of Seward, there was a lot of nearby options. Unfortunately, spring has now come and the warmer temperature has transformed most of those options into some not-so-great looking ski slopes!

We drove back towards the Summit Lake Area around Mile 47 on the Seward HIghway. Even if Summit Lake is located only 20 miles south of Turnagain Pass, it is frequented by a handful of skiers. We went to an area called Colorado. The wide east facing bowl combined with a short approach made it a good option for the lazy fellows we now were.

The 1000m vertical of climb went fast and the view, once we were on top, was quite nice! This record snowfall year has nicely cover all of the mountain. Alaska is certainly one of the place that I've travel to that got the most terrain!

After a really nice smooth run and a tasty mustard and sardines sandwich we drove back to Girdwood.
With a forecast of bad visibility in the afternoon we tried (and fail) to have an early start. As we got to an area call Sunburst, after hiking north of the mountain for about an hour, we tried to make it to the mountain, but we face a really deep and steep gully. We eventually turned back and realize that we should have made a hard right (that means south) as we start skinning. 

We eventually called it a day since we were both bummed about what just happen. We spend the rest of the day at the Safeway eating ice cream and watching the classic movie: G.N.A.R.

We eventually took off to drive towards Hatcher Pass. With the little bit of rain that was forecasted for the area around Turnagain, we thought we might have a better chance around this area. 

We woke up in Palmer into a grey sky with small blue openings. Hatcher Pass is renowned to be really hard to ski in bad visibility. We thought we would be ok to get some good turns. 

We drove all the way to the end of the road and aim for a little knoll on the left. After 700m we were on top of a good looking north facing slope. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't pleasing to Babiche. After loosing (again!) at rock-paper-scissor, we were off to walk around the ridge to go to a good looking gully. 

After cursing and using about 100 times all the swear word that I know for this useless traverse, we were eventually on top of a similar looking couloir with really poor visibility. The turns on the way down were probably some of the worst I had in AK (same thing for Babiche).

With about the same forecast for the following day, we weren't quite motivated. As we woked up, the weather looked better, so we decided to give a try for our last day in AK. 

We weather hold and we were eventually at the top of a good looking slope for our last view from on top of the Alaskan mountain. The turns were smooth and soft and for once, we skied more than shoot photos!

We spend the hours before our night flight shopping around town and eventually made it to the MIdnight Sun Brewery for a last one before we go.

.... and then, after more than 60 hours spend in airplanes, more than 31 hours spend in more than 12 difference airport, I landed back in Québec city. It is quite snowless due to the really warm weather of the past weeks. It doesn't look like I'll be skiing much now!

This has been again a great season where I've been able to share some really intense moment with really great people all over the world and have some of my greatest ski experience ever. 

Since we never know what the future got for us, I just hope you enjoyed this season and hopefully, I'll be able to sneak off from the real life next winter to entertain you once more!

Enjoy the rest of the season for the one of you that still got some snow!!


anttiR said...

Thank you for sharing and entertaining us with you skiing and journeys, once again!

René Morissette said...

Superbe votre blog les gars! Superbes salive!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. You should get a TV show going like that Simon St Arnaud guy, alpine Adventurers, on RADX TV.

Good luck for next year, keep us in the loop!!