Sunday, March 14, 2010

High adventures, excellent decisions

True or false, there is such a thing as too much snow?
False, that was the answer I arrived at on Friday. I was originally planning on heading south this weekend to the western most end of the North American continental road system for the Kachemak Nordic Ski Marathon, but as the snow depth chart from near the race start indicates, it's been snowing there for the better part of the last two weeks leaving them with over 5 feet when all was said and done.

I'm all for big dumps, err, um, of snow that is, anyway, but that much snow is just no good for skinny skiing. So, as I did my pre-race ski at Tsalteshi, freshly groomed by Pat and I, and skating fantastically after our much much smaller snowfall here last week, I decided if I was going to skate all day I'd do it where it was good, and if I was going to play in 5 feet of powder, I'd do it on a pair of boards made for 5 feet of powder.
With that, I called up Kasilof Karl who I was going to drive down with, and convinced him to do likewise and we planned to head for the passes on Saturday.

Now that might have been a pretty good Friday right then and there, but shortly after Justin called and asked if I wanted to go for a flight and look for wildlife.

I really had to think about that one...

Justin's Suped up two-seater Super Cub.


Justin's Dog riding in the "trunk."



View Flying to tustumena bench in a larger map


The plane can be flown from both the front and back seat. I "flew" home, though the fact that I'm writing this is due to quite a bit of corrective steering and altitude adjustments from Justin.



Flying off from the airport.


A distant frozen Skilak Lake.


The Tustumena bench, a broad alpine incline that slopes from the tiaga to the Kenai Mountains in the remote area between Skilak and Tustumena lakes is rich with wildlife.

Suddenly the boreal forests give way to windswept tundra.













See anything interesting? (Click to enlarge)


How about now? (CTE)


Kenai Mountain Caribou. The first I've seen, live ones anyway. (CTE)


(CTE)


A few more. (CTE)


(CTE)




video







A look up into the Harding Ice Sheet.







videoSkimming a pond

Soldotna.

Saturday Karl and I headed to Tri-tip in Summit Pass. The north wind was blowing pretty steady and snow was falling uphill but the sun was shining so we picked a moderate bowl run that fell into some trees out of the wind and slammed in a 7 hour day with 5 runs including the exit Skiing until sometime after 6 p.m. It's great to have daylight back!

videoPoint of view bowl run on Tri tip
We enjoyed about two-feet of drylight sugar
that exploded in every turn. (CTE)


Summit.


Colorado.

Karl with the big lines of Tenderfoot ridge in the background.

Bottomless snow in the trees.




About our entire run from the bottom.













In the bowl powder conservation ruled, Karl and my tracks were like spoons in a drawer or row of corn in a field. The woods, however, were a free for all. We could hardly contain ourselves on the way back up looking at the lines we'd chose, veering 90 degrees off of a wide open chute to crank out a single turn between two tightly growing not more then a foot apart, or hop off a pillow like the one above, just because.

1 comment:

Alaska Jack said...

Thanks for saving the powder. I need to ride Tritip, Frenchy, etc. Looks great!

After copious cussing, grunting, and fumbling, finally got bindings set up on two pair of Stokes, and stepped onto the boards at about 1 pm on Saturday, a short trip behind the homestead, ecstatic with the Stokes.