Friday, April 10, 2015

Goodhope Creek - 3.14.2015

Skiing in Alaska is hard. There's a reason that film companies come here, get shut down for a month, then barely squeeze out a few good days. Meanwhile, they trigger big, scary, and dangerous avalanches.

Dreamy zones around the Pinnacle and Fairangel Valleys.

No helicopter, a full time job, and low interest in Russian Roulette via avalanche makes it even more of a challenge.

Leaving the sleds behind.

And it makes it even more fun.

Still assessing stability, we picked a short line to start.

March brought significant precip and wind to Southcentral. When it cleared, arctic air flooded in.

Topping out, the Mint Valley comes into view.

The air was so cold that the Matanuska Valley inversion was flowing up and over Government Peak:


The cold was a blessing, we could ski south facing terrain that would otherwise be affected by the spring sun.

More Minty goodness.

The Talkeetnas received 18 inches of snow the week before, but Hatcher Pass had been destroyed by the wind. We needed to get away from the Independence Mine Valley.

After digging a pit that was more like the uniform concrete of the coast than the weak interior, Tarah dropped in.

Max, Tarah, Whit, and I loaded up our sleds in Anchorage and headed for Archangel.

Max found the snow to his liking.

Goodhope Creek was a bit of a gamble, none of us had been there, but it looked promising.

With increasing confidence in stability, we picked a bigger line.

After a few lessons on the basics of tandem sledding, including a nice encounter with a large boulder, we were standing at the bottom of the zone that we hoped would exist: 5 consecutive south facing chutes.


I dropped first, turning around to watch from below. Whit:


Tarah:


Max:


Max likes to jump off everything in sight which is why he is one of my favorite ski partners. Unsurprisingly, he picked a line with a cliff in it.



Max on the line with air traffic control:


Liftoff!


I followed Max, pulling up at the bottom after three successful airs only to find that my Dynafit heel had released at some point during the run. Tarah:




With three fun lines in the books we called it a day. But, not without scoping a couple ideas for next time.


The power couple on the road home: