Skiing Prince William Sound and the Paulson Bay Cabin

2 04 2013

We arrived in Whittier for our spring ski trip to find that Whittier had officially become a slurpee. From the streets to the water in the boat harbor, everything was slushy with a little bit of snow on top. Thank heaven for Extratuffs! We left later than we had hoped due to gale force winds and high seas (best to let that settle down a bit), but still made it out of Whittier by early afternoon.

Perfect snow for a snowball fight. Eva nailing Dan with a snowball.eva & dan in the harborHard to believe this is saltwater ūüôā It was much more like a margarita-just add tequila! The view right in front of the cabin.The Bay¬†This is what we found upon¬†landing on the beach…we had a little bit of work ahead of us¬†before we could play. The cabin was snowed in on three sides, but luckily the front was an easy dig out. According to the log book, no one had been there all winter and we had a little bit of issues getting the propane stove working properly. Once we got it to fire up, it really cranked! We¬†were super happy on this soggy trip for a good stove.¬†Temps ranged 30-40F, with lots of rain (as should be expected in a rain forest), really wet snow, and one small window of sunshine!stairs

Dan clearing out the top of the stairs.Dan digging out stairs

What kind of backcountry ski trip would it be with out a keg or two of Alaska’s finest? Jon showing us the best way to carry a full keg,¬†something he learned well on our last PWS ski trip.Jon Keg

Ryan skinning through the snowy forest.ryan skinningAfter a snowy night and rainy/foggy morning we were happy to see some high clouds & hints of blue sky.

The beach.the beach¬†Part of a spine and skeleton that washed up during low tide.skeletonWe took advantage of the short window of no rain and the only spot of blue sky/no fog in the area¬†and skinned up to get some skiing in. We found all the steep stuff had slid, and the few areas that hadn’t were pretty¬†suspect.¬†Mostly rolling hills surround the cabin, with any downhill¬†skiing to be had quite a ways away. Great touring though-it’d be the perfect area for a metal edge xc backcountry ski.

We took a modest run (on the left shoulder). It was slow as hell with the super wet, dense snow. Ryan, on his snowboard, didn’t fare as well as the rest of us skiers ūüė¶mountainJon, taking advantage of the warm, dry spell (about 40F). Behind him filled in with fog (earlier we had views of Cochrane Bay.) Soon, all the boys were topless. jon¬†Ryan, Eva, and Dan breaking trail. Setting the skin track was a little bit of work in the super wet & dense snow.skinningJon & Parker with Cochrane Bay behind them.jon and parkerEva helping me grill up the chicken satay. To say the least, we ate pretty well on this trip. Bacon & sauerkraut stuffed reindeer hot links, grilled pineapple wrapped with bacon, and the chicken satay were highlights. I think we all might have actually gained weight on this trip….eva bbqChicken Satay. I was pretty proud of how this turned out, even though it was a little more work than I had planned for a camping trip ūüôā I’ll have to fine-tune the recipe to make it a bit easier in the backcountry. It was super worth it though ūüôāchicken Satay

 

 

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Nordic Blading @ the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge (and a little bit of skiing)

28 11 2012

I’ve been scoping them out for a couple years now, and finally made the plunge the day before Thanksgiving. I bought nordic blades.¬†They open up a whole new world in skating, making the uneven surfaces and obstacles embedded into the surfaces of ¬†lakes, marshes, and tarns easy to skate on.¬†As¬†Jeff put it-they are like the 4×4 of ice skating.¬† Also, I’m trying to make lemonade out of a lemon of a winter so far…..the lack of snow (zero) has definitely impacted my enthusiasm, so I’m embracing¬†what we do have plenty of-ice!¬†

 

I never would have guessed to head to the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge to skate on the inlet had I not found a note about it on a local ice skating forum. We had extremely high tides combined with cold temps this week that made the inlet/refuge into a nordic blade haven. 

Eva and Dan heading into the noon sun….which isn’t far off the horizon this time of year.

Some challenging ice….Nordic blades make this stuff completely doable.

We found some beautiful ice! There were a lot of places where the ice was as nice as if it had been zambonied.

Jeff and Sabrina headed out with me a couple days later to try nordic blading. 

Tika seemed to get around just fine without skates.

I did manage to make it to Turnagain and ski over the weekend with Brian and Sabrina….to ski on snow that fell weeks ago. One of the only places that hasn’t been ripping out due to the cold, clear weather creating hoarfrost and instability was Tincan. We were suprised that it wasn’t as tracked out as we imagined it would be.

Sabrina enjoying the sunshine and temperature inversion on top of Tincan.

Just because Brian is one of the best snowboarders I know, I had to post this pic….it was fun watching him on skis for the first time since 7th grade ūüôā

In all fairness, he did really well, and only fell this once.





Arctic to Indian

16 04 2012

 

Kasey and I have been talking for weeks about doing the Arctic to Indian ski traverse. The weather was perfect Saturday so we headed out early for the 22 mile ski. The snow bridges and trail were both in great shape.

A stitched together pano of  Ship Creek.

Me & Kasey.

Sunshine turned to cloudy, moody weather as we approached Indian Pass and the Turnagain Arm.

Our first glimpse of the inlet. Kasey at Indian Pass. The snow was nice and soft, cushioning our falls on our waxless skis¬†ūüôā The descent was better than I hoped (and remembered.)

It took us a pretty easy eight hours, stopping for snacks and pics, enjoying the views along the way.

 

 

 





Skiing at Hatcher’s Pass

14 03 2012

We decided to switch things up a bit and head to Hatcher’s Pass to get some¬†touring in. I usually only head up there early in the¬†season, and was excited to find nice light powder, a few untracked lines,¬†and good stability.

The crew.

Lee getting after it.

Jon making some turns.

Michelle aka Skittles.

Jon on the uptrack.

Kasey and Ryan.

Kasey dropping a knee.

Another beautiful day in the Talkeetnas. One of many spectacular views.

Michelle about to drop in on the sweetest, untracked long line.

Kasey wrapping up a great line and a beautiful weekend.





The Crescent Saddle Cabin Ski Trip

31 01 2012

Our thermometer bottomed out at -25F¬†on the¬†ski¬†in, so lets just say it was colder than that. At 12:30 AM, after 4 hours of skiing by stars-it was so cold¬† our headlamps we nearly useless because our breath clouded the air in front of us-we finally arrived at the Crescent Saddle Cabin. It took us a bit longer than we anticipated since we had to break trail across Carter and Crescent Lakes, unable to find a snowmachine¬†track to follow across the lakes,¬†and we brought heavy loads with¬†a ton of gear for lofty plans that should’ve¬†got axed at the trailhead ūüôā¬†We stayed up till 4:30 AM trying to warm up the cabin, before we crawled into our sleeping bags¬†wearing every layer we had with us. The cabin was 7F degrees next to the wood stove and the walls still frosty.

Everyone’s favorite. Hoarfrost on the toilet.

Feeding the fire all night we managed to get it up to a balmy 27F degrees by the time we dragged ourselves out of bed. Walls still frosty. Dan, Heidi, and I headed out for a tour up the saddle between Crescent and Kenai lakes, continuing on up the mountain on the left, while Lee and Jon stayed behind to cut more (much needed) firewood and keep the fire going. Daytime temps warmed up to  -5F, almost a heat wave!

Dan skinning up.

It was a bluebird day with fresh powder. We had a blast making the only tracks on the mountain!

Heidi skiing.Dan skiing.Heidi making turns.Dan cruising through the trees.

The skiing was amazing! When we arrived back at the cabin Lee and Jon had managed to get the cabin up to a reasonable temperature so our beer could unfreeze ūüôā Actually,¬†by early evening as the temperatures dropped again outside,¬†the cabin¬†was warm enough to layer down to just our long underwear and the walls defrosted. Success!¬†

Lee and Parker headed across Crescent Lake on the way home.

 





View from Superbowl

22 11 2011

The skiing has been awesome ūüôā





Touring Center Ridge

11 04 2011

 








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