Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Weekly Anchorage Ski Outlook

Thurs – Fri: stormy -> windy -> sunny (high confidence).
Tonight's storm will exit our region tomorrow followed by strong winds. Snow totals will generally be less than 12" and will favor areas closer to the Prince William Sound. Winds will decrease on Friday to be replaced by warm sunshine. Expect the worst winds along the highway corridors (Chugach Front Range, Turnagain Arm, Turnagain Pass, Seward, Whittier, Thompson Pass). These winds hit channeled terrain and the Front Range the worst.

Weekend: sunny, calm, warm (high confidence).
Springlike high pressure will be well established over our region bringing with it calm winds and warm temps. Without winds to scoop it out, high pressure will cause valley fog and temperature inversions. Expect strong sun impact on solar aspects.

Early Next Week: sunny, calm, warm (moderate confidence).
The warm high pressure is likely to persist into next week. Expect strong sun affect, valley fog, and temperature inversions.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Castle Mountain - 3.11.2015

Updated 1.29.2019 to include another great day in Chickaloon.

"Are those the Northern Lights?"

"I think so."

It was 6:30 AM, -6 degrees, and Meg and I were running hill sprints to start out the day.

"Your legs are going to be barking!"

The day's goal.

A couple hours later I found myself pacing around my house. Where to ski? How much would it make my legs bark? I really didn't want to deal with my sled which is exactly why I wasn't making a decision.

Approaching the couloir entrance.

The impetus to move was a message from Tarah confirming the existence of the Chickaloon zone. I called Alex: "I'm running late, how about Chickaloon? Also, I still need to load up my sled, so its gonna be even later." Alex was running late too, so no problem.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Korohusk - 4.8.2017

Updated 1.29.2019 to include another great day on Korohusk.

The first time we skied Korohusk, Carpathian had been the day before. Then, to start the day, we sent Tarah and Max's Subaru backwards and sideways down Mariah Drive and into a ditch. When Tarah got out she promptly ended up on the ice under her car. When I got out I ended up on my face in the ditch 100 meters below the car.

I was hoping things would be equally exciting this time around. Fortunately, last week I managed to contract the plague, so things were looking up for an adventure! Apparently there was widespread collapsing as we skinned up the valley, but I did not notice such minor details thru the haze of sinus headaches and snot rockets. Arriving at the head of the valley the snow deepened and signs of instability decreased.

Photo: Zack Fields

We started with the Korohusk's pinner couloir. Its an unusual one, the right wall is really just a large flake, which disappears at points. Maybe Alex is covering his face to avoid peering off the edge?

I spent most of the climb raving about how much I loved my Verts and how I couldn't imagine anyone climbing anything without them. Tony does not have Verts, I bet he loved the constant reminder of how much harder his day was.

Photo: Zack Fields

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Return to TT43 - 1.5.2019

Watching old school GoPro video of Jimmy Kase ripping the TT43 spines on teles in midwinter light sold me on Alaska. After years of waiting for snow, stability, and weather to align we finally got to experience it.

As we drove south thru the pass, the bottom fell out of the thermometer. By the time we parked at Bertha Creek it was -8 degrees. Next up, was finding a way across the creek. Matt found a crossing and lead the charge across the cold water creek. Eventually the twig he was standing on collapsed, but he hovered over the water and kept his feet dry.

In retrospect, parking at Cornbiscuit and using the bridge would have been straightforward. Still, it was drier than skiing TT43 with Matt and Nick years ago:

We followed ptarmigan and hare tracks across the valley and up the climb to Seattle Ridge. Above the valley inversion the temperature rose to 10 degrees. Tropical.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Pioneer Peak - 3.30.2018

Over the last two days Brian and Sam had both skied Pioneer, and it was about to get a refresh - it was time to go get it. Only two small problems: I didn't own ice tools, and Alex had a project due at work. Easily remedied. That night I went to REI, and Alex called in sick with a bad case of powder fever.

Pioneer's giant north face towering over Palmer.

The next morning found us driving back and forth on the Old Glenn looking for the north face trail-head. After a few laps we'd located the appropriate thicket and were skinning into the alders. Within 500 vertical feet we'd reached the avy debris and were soon climbing mellow ice.

I'd never used ice tools before, and was pleased to see how much better they performed than my finger nails and running shoes. Kind of like being a cyborg.