Last winter, when we began to research skiing in Alaska, one of the first things we found was a Youtube video of someone skiing a sustained pitch of 1,300 vertical meters of spines, flutes, and ramps. Named TT43 for the number of terrain traps on the face, this zone has been on our hit list ever since.
Last Thursday we headed out to finally check it out. With downright hot temperatures in the forecast, we decided to approach it from the southwest instead of the more standard southeast route. We quickly realized why this approach is unusual:
Matt, being a real Alaskan, ripped off his boots and was soon watching us barefoot from the far snowbank.
Nick and I, who are of a far less hearty breed, went back to the car for my rubber boots. Which Nick then returned for my use:
After wasting way too much time crossing the river we finally headed towards TT43. We spent the next half hour following these awesome wolverine tracks:
Before long we were gaining elevation and beginning to realize just how hot it was; wearing a black shirt and black snowpants I felt like an asphalt parking lot; I kept catching myself having fantasies of cold swimming pools and ice cream. Nick was also suffering in a tub of his own sweat.
It felt great to eventually gain a northerly aspect and some shade, although I had to wonder if the eagle circling above us was actually just waiting for us to keel over from heatstroke:
Another subridge gained and more nice lines:
hmmm...this looks fun, next time!
Finally at the top, we realized that our intended plan of skiing off the west face of TT43 would likely leave us with painful memories of bushwaking, river crossings, and hitchhiking in the dark. Although tempting, we opted to drop the southwest lines back towards the car. Matt and I get ready for a ski cut at the top of the line:
I dropped first:
The land of blind rollovers and burning quads:
Matt followed, dropping into the same big ramp:
Several turns later, seemingly in the same spot, that's one heck of a ramp!
Nick brought up the rear and came cranking out of his chute:
Nick approaching the halfway mark:
Photo: Matt Cameron
Matt doing some Tony Hawk stuff to celebrate:
It keeps going does it?
Some tempting options up there...
Matt and I celebrating the line lower down:
Shall we just ice our feet in this stream one more time?
What a day! Lots of memories and laughs, not to mention a huge line of pow topped off with a little creamy corn at the end. Can't wait to ski this again! Thanks to Nick and Matt for the great pictures!