February 19, 2007 - "The Warrior"

Generally, I'd be sad to leave a place like Valdez, and I have to admit I sorta was . . . but the blow was softened by increasing winds on Thompson Pass, and a return to sunny Turnagain Pass. I called my buddies on Monday morning and convinced them to go after a project I had scoped the week before. Due to a dance party on the side of the road to Pat Benatar, we decided to name the area "The Warrior."

Sean and Jason - the crazy boys of Moose Pass

One should never miss an opportunity for backcountry yoga . . . don't try this at home kids! The promised land unfolds . . . this skied about as good as it looks Sean dropping in . . .
. . . And performing a disappearing act Does skiing get better than powder aprons after rad lines? Sean incoming . . . It was so good on round one that we ended up going for another . . . I would have loved about another 3 hours of daylight, but I can't complain since the light was so cool on our last run and the snow was so forgiving It turned into amazing night, which made the 45 minute XC ski back to the car downright enjoyable. What a week!!!!

February 14-18, 2007: Valdez dreamin'

Ryan and I just got back from a few days of skiing in Valdez . . . all I can say to that place is "WOW!" We were blessed with good weather, great skiing, and a stable snowpack - life doesn't get much better!

Day 1: RFS from the summit
The top 1500' skied steep and deep . . . I didn't get any pics, but this one from Valdez Telehead on Telemarktips shows the face we skied. It was as deep and satisfying as it looks . . . welcome to paradise!
Ryan on the final push to the summit. A pit from just to the right of the cornice showed good stability, so in we went. Aaaaah, powder!! An enticing view of Mt. Dimond's west face . . . having scoped that line last year, we both agreed we'd have to go get it!!
Mt. Python and what I believe is called the Cherry Couloir . . . we decided this would also be a "necessary ski."
Day 2: Mt. Dimond west face . . . ski from the summitThursday dawned bluebird, so off to Dimond we went! I can't tell you how good it felt to have the sun on our faces! I even got a sunburn :-)

Our line from the cirque below Bergshrund navegation . . . don't go down there!! The neverending bootpack . . . buns of steel :-)
The views from the summit were amazing. Also, keep in mind that life is more fun when you wear pink!! (photo: Ryan Hokanson)
And so was the ski down . . . I believe this is the stuff dreams are made of!!! (photo: Ryan Hokanson)
Still going . . . I think the run is around 1800' of sustained fall line.
Ryan incoming . . .. . . and outgoing!
Sweet powder bliss to end the run with . . . all in all, we decided the conditions were about as optimal as you could have for an uphill/downhill combo. Hip hip, hooray!!
Day 3: Cherry Couloir on Python

We decided that a low-vis day would be good for this line since the rock walls are high and the line pretty defined . . . so when Friday dawned cloudy, we knew our destination.

Ryan dropping in - the line skied really nicely . . . sustained fall line, sustained pitch, improving snow as we went!
I of course, wanted to ski another run, so we spotted this little notch across the valley and went over to it . . . nice pow turns in the snowfield above, and then a few hundred feet of steepness. The line actually skied really well!!

Day 4: Stone Mountain

Saturday was sunny, so we headed up to Thompson Pass in hopes of skiing Billy Mitchell. The winds were nuking, however, so we opted to head back down lower and snowmachine to something cool. Failed attempts at the Books and up Wortman's Glacier led us to the cat road up Stone Moutnain. We skied a cool ramp down the front side (visible from Heiden View where we were staying!) and then went around the backside to check out the cirque seen from the col of the first run.

Views of the sound always amaze me! Ryan, the climber at heart :-)
Ryan somewhere in there . . . you can see his sluff cascading off the rocks - I promise there's a line in there somewhere!
Ryan's exit into powder bliss!
Ryan's snowmachine, couldn't make it all the way to the cirque, so we started hiking, "just for a view" . . . of course, we found some inspiration in the steep ramp/coolie to the looker's left of the ridgeline on the right side of this photo. Onward we went :) The bootpack was decidedly steep . . . measured at ~55 degrees. Gotta love the evening light.
I've got to say this was one of the best runs of my life. Perfect light, great snow, and heart-poundingly STEEP!
Hooray for survival!
And here comes Ryan!!

January 2007: deep snow in southcentral!!

January was good to southcentral . . . lots of new snow, good people to tour with, new terrain to play in, and cool stuff to be skied!!!

The "rubber buns" couloir . . . skiing to the road. Love it! (photo: Ron Polk)

Scenic skinning ((photo: Ron Polk)

We can't argue with deep powder (photo: Ron Polk) Life is more fun when you wear pink (photo: Ron Polk)