The day started like most ski days do. A phone call around 8:30 to finalize meeting times, ski partners, and the objective for the day. Only this time, mention of the group’s desired ski goal made me nauseas:
So, we remedied the skin debacle and were on our way back up, ready to get cranktastic in an effort to catch the other three who had gone ahead to break the trail and travel at a more relaxed and enjoyable pace. I struggled a bit on the initial skin in, as I was on my backup skis having broken my binding the day before on my Bro Models. I was also a bit agitated, probably due to the underlying uneasiness over where we were going, and the chance to meet my fear head-on. As we traveled onto and then up the Milk Glacier, we got a view of the ramp we’d intended to ski, a super aesthetic line with sustained 40-45 degree slopes. However, we could also see that it was pretty wind-affected and made me immediately want nothing to do with it . . . no need to get owned by windslab twice in the same area . . . thankfully, the boys ahead had the same realization and had headed over to a nearby face that had been wind buffed instead of wind hammered and looked quite appetizing. We all met up at the base of the bootpack and Erik took off ahead, creating a lovely stairway to heaven. We topped out in one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, with the expanse of the Eagle Glacier and the heart of the
Since 2010 is the year I’ve decided to no longer be traumatized by taking air, I chose a fun entrance with a small rock to launch from, running out my speed before I started down the skier’s left of the line. The snow was lovely and fast, supporting pretty aggressive turns that popped me from ski to ski . . . and then, with burning legs, I made it over the bergshrund and to the guys below. Erik came last putting the final touch on our artwork for the day with style.
Psyched from our run and enjoying the loveliness of the afternoon, we decided there was probably time to make it back up the bootpack and drop off the front side back to the car. At our initial top-out, we had realized that we were actually at the top of the Goat Couloir, perhaps one of the most aesthetic lines in the
I dropped in 4th and executed my critical turns without issue, entering the couloir to be greeted by super lovely sluffed and buffed slopes. It was one of those lines that’s so beautiful to be in – high walls on both sides, steep enough to be interesting and to capture the momentum in the transition between turns, surfing the gravity wave down to the bergshrund, safely airing out of it, and enjoying the glacier apron turns to the group below. From there, it was extreme meadow-skipping turns . . . mellow angle, but necessary to watch for and dodge crevasses all the way out. In true
So, in the end, the day had become the type that reminds me why I live in Girdwood and why I love
And so, although the weather window closed today, I will smile and close my eyes with frequency, remembering what it felt like to stop in the middle of the bootpack and scope out a lifetime of incredible ski descents with poignant inspiration to keep exploring; remembering the soft light on the distant peaks and the soaring feeling in my heart engendered by their expansivity; re-living the rhythmic jump turns in the alpenglow-illuminated Goat Couloir; feeling again the chilly breeze on my cheeks as I watched my friends nail their lines with grace and style; and appreciating the fullness that I feel in recollection of how cool our sport is, how amazing these mountains are, and how extraordinary our lives are to be out adventuring here.