Friday, March 24, 2017

Skookum Glacier - 3.18.2017

Early last week, model run after model run showed a small Wednesday night storm headed for the North Gulf Coast. The question was: would it make it inland? In town on Wednesday night there were a few thin clouds - maybe the storm hadn't made it across the Prince William Sound? Then the rumors of a refresh started trickling in from CPG and the Skookum.

By, the time we were halfway up the Skookum on Saturday our sleds were leaving trenches - the sleeper storm was real. We picked a long and fat north-facing couloir to start with. Across the way we were dreaming about a sinuous chute off the southeast face of Byron:

Photo: Alex Geilich

Dropping in, we slashed the huge cones of slough sitting in the line.

Photo: Alex Geilich

Seth:


After the upper chute, the face opened up into a large amphitheater.


Seth:


Then it rolled over, and tighten back up. Alex:


The snow just got better.


The apron stayed deep and we milked cruiser turns down to the sleds.


After lunch in the sun we headed up another skinnier chute. About 1/3rd of the way up, the snow conditions deteriorated, so we dropped back down to the sleds to go looking for better snow. Still, the snow wasn't bad and there was an even better view of Carpathian.

Photo: Alex Geilich

Back on the sleds, we were quickly up and over the Skookum and drooling over the south face of Carpathian. Its awfully thin this year. It will be nice to get it in fat conditions someday!

Photo: Alex Geilich

Following the tracks of a heli group, we set up a long sled lap towards the Spencer Glacier.

Photo: Alex Geilich

Then, hooting and hollering, we dropped into thousands of feet of soul turns together.

Photo: Alex Geilich

Alex and I wanted to go ski the ice fall at the head of the Skookum, but Seth wasn't convinced. We volunteered to guinea pig it while Seth supervised.


There was no way Seth was going to miss out on that kind of fun! He and Alex headed back up while I waited in the evening light.


With snow starting to fall, Seth dropped into the last patches of light:


Everyone was pumped up and full of energy about getting to ski such a dramatic line, and it wasn't quite dark, so we skied one last lap down a short chute to the glacier. Memorably, during the ghost-ride my sled elected to go for an adventure of its own. It took awhile to find it, and even longer to dig it out. Tired and laughing, we headed back in the dark with snow falling in our headlights.