Monday, May 7, 2018

Gordon Lyon Ski - 5.7.2018

Skiing the Anchorage Front Range often means yesterday's powder morphed into a combination of windboard, crust, mank, and tundra. Every once and awhile you get lucky and beat the sun and winds to the goods. We got lucky one night after work last May. After a warm up lap on the ski hill we headed for the sheltered north facing goods of Gordon Lyon. Rising in the distance above Ship Creek are Birds Eye, The Wing, The Beak, and Bird Ridge Overlook with its big north coolies.

Above Rondy Ridge we drooled at the gems of South Fork Eagle River like Hanging Valley, Cantana, and Calliope. Eagle Peak and Organ are visible on the skyline, goddamn I'd like to ski Organ!

Topping out on the Gordon Lyon ridge, the Hatcher Pass Zone looked fat. Years ago my friend Owen
 pointed out how much he loves valleys where the deep gorge cut by a river is superimposed on the U-shape bulldozed by a glacier long gone. The Little Susitna Valley on the far left is a great example of this.

The shaded terrain was holding the creamy spring pow we'd been hoping for. Whooping, hooting, and hollering, I stopped to watch Alyse play tag with her slough.

With a 10 PM curfew set by the MPs, the race was on to bang out another lap.

The climb was spent arguing which came first: the back seat skier, or their DPS skis? Time flew by and we were soon window shopping the deep couloirs on Temptation. So beautiful, so sloggy. Maybe best when combined with a Ship Creek moose hunt?

Towards Girdwood, the tilted north face of Bird Peak was lit up in the evening sunlight.

A bit farther north were the Eagle Lake chutes, Calliope, and Triangle. Every year I knock off a chunk of the hit list, but it just seems to get longer.

Swiveling 5 degrees further, more Eagle River giants, and more Hit List: Korohusk and Yukla:

I could have stayed for hours feasting my eyes on the memory land of Eagle River, but that would be hard to explain to some 19 year old MP with orders to lock the gate at 10. It was time to ski.

We leapfrogged down the face and gullies. Powder in the shade:

And creamy proto-corn in the sun.

Invigorated after another great lap, we ripped out or skins and raced to not spend a damp night in the Arctic Valley parking lot.

We didn't quite make it to the gate by 10, but the MPs must have been distracted by the beautiful spring sunset. Or maybe they were busy ripping pow.

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