Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gettin is soooo good

The final week of the season allowed for a staff only day. One group on skis, one on speed wings. what a day! Thanks Quinner!!!

The Ak Rollover is epitomised by the run The Wave (above). The top is a flat glacier, the gut is 50 degrees and the pitch rolls over like a massive cresting wave. From a snow safety standpoint these types of terrain features are very difficult to safely manage, but damn they can be fun!

Full Support staff gang bang

Buddy Love, NE Face opener.

Sweet Leaf (right of center) A ski width wide 45+choke gives access to a 2500' vertical couloir. YEEEAH!!!

Sweet leafin.

Worm Glacier, The Wave in the background.

Spring Time! lets get!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ode to the Fly Boys

In the words of an Aspen Extreme ski instructor- skiing is the easy part. In Alaska just getting there is the real battle. Ak heli pilots do the impossible, flying at a standstill while on the ground... somewhat. To get out of and unload a ski basket on a perch is one thing but to balance a ship, flying, as a bunch of corn fed monkeys shift their weight out of the side door with wind blowing, snow settling, snow blowing and then take back off again without any airspeed and not rolling down the side of the mountain, is truly amazing.

The skiing has been great, better by the day, but for this pictorial try to imagine these surroundings from the eyes of a pilot.

Anything that you do a lot becomes normal, in this case i fear not because of how seemless heli operations have been. Sure its safe, load up, lets go skiing, stay away from the spinny or hot bits. Calm, cool, collected, yes he is the pilot, buy him a bottle of wine PLEASE.


Eat the Worm

Banana Hammock

Bean Pod

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Random thoughs Pertaining to Steepness

I'm sure that you have heard the tales of Alaskan skiing, largely they are true. The terrain is expansive, wide open with little to provide any sort of reference of scale, pitch, and even sometimes snow quality. Most good skiers are fully capable of skiing steep, big-mountain terrain whether they know it or not. My goal is to read what people are capable of and to push them to a new level of skiing without hurting them. I don't really see things as being steep or not so much, more of just where the snow is going to go if it slides and where a skier will go if they fall.

In rock climbing the difficulty of one climb compared to another is not necessarily indicative of whether the climb is vertical or a slab. Skiing steep slopes is much the same, steep slopes are not any more difficult to ski, there is just more to manage and the exposure makes people scared. Sure you don't want to fall in places and yes it might really hurt or even kill you if you do but the same is true of driving a car on a two lane road passing within feet of a speeding car travelling in the opposite direction. You could turn the steering wheel all of a sudden and kill yourself and everyone around you but you don't because that is not an option. Falling on a steep slope is not an option either so there is nothing to be afraid of, just dont fall then there isn't a problem.

The vertical world is an interesting place, i recommend it. Its pretty cool seeing how one person reacts when pushed past their comfort zone compared to another. The problem children are the ones that don't have fear when they should... hmmmmmmmmm.
Never mind.

Salt Lick mini-golf. yes, guides get to ski!

Salt Lick LZ

Salt Lick left, yes that is a mono-skier and yes that is because there is only one of him.

He sends it pretty good though. Dube!

Skiing on Pontoon's flanks. 2ft of 8% 47deg. 3000' vert. For those that are getting to know me, this is why!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pow Pow and Black Dust

All it took was one little coastal low to reset the zone back to normal. Its wild how much of an effect even a small storm can have. Our biggest concern now is the volcano erupting out in the Alaska Range. We have avoided having had too much of an effect from this natural beast but ash is definitely a concern. The Heli intakes don't care very much for black dust, and nor do any aircraft for that matter. Fortunately there havn't been too many delays effecting us with the periodic Anchorage airport closures.
The Skiing is getting better and better each week. The glaciers are starting to get bridged in a bit better and the steeps are starting to hold snow, though with a firm surface underneath new snowfalls have been sluffing off quite easily. Overall, stability has been pretty good in this part of the range and the skiing is good when the weather beaks enough to allow us passage.

Lunch on Bubbie's Island

New lines!!! Brandoville!