Thursday, January 23, 2020

Lynx Peak - 1.11.2020

As we climbed out of the Webfoot couloir in the fading afternoon light a few weeks ago the Reed Lakes Valley was painted purple, pink, and gold by winter light. Looking at Montana Peak, I smiled back on the ridiculous day we had there a couple years ago, and drooled over the southwest face of Lynx Peak.

The image of Lynx was still burned in my retinas on the following Friday, so Zack, Nyssa, and Eric agreed to forgo easy powder skiing in favor of a long cold approach for variable wind-affect.

The Pinnacle was getting the first soft light of the morning as we turned away from Archangel and towards Reed Lakes. Its amazing to think that snow sticks to the other side of that vertical block. At least sort of.

Done with the approach to the approach, we wound up through the boulder fields of the valley as the arctic air carried by the north winds bit into our faces. Looking behind me, Nyssa looked more like an icicle than a human.

Behind Eric is Higher Spire which Alex, Alec, and I skied a few years ago - it links up nicely with several other nice lines behind the Snowbird.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Anchorage Ski Outlook - 1.22.2020

Thurs – Fricold, dry, gap winds (high confidence).
Temps dropping again. Inversions in the usual spots (East Anchorage, Portage, Granite, etc). Some fog. Gap winds in channeled terrain like Whittier, Seward, Turnagain Arm, the Mat Valley, Peters Hills, and especially Thompson Pass. Sheltered ski terrain should be protected from the wind.

Weekend: cold, cloudy/showery near coast, gap winds (moderate confidence).
More cold temps. Some clouds/showers near coast, with a storm possibly arriving Sunday. Inversions. Gap winds in channeled terrain. Sheltered terrain should be protected from the wind.

Early Next Week: cool temps, snowfall near coast (low confidence).
Temps will moderate slightly as storms brush up against the Gulf of Alaska. Areas close to the coast will get some snow; while the inland stays drier. No rain concerns.

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Eddies North - 2.11.2017

Updated 1.22.2019 to include another great day on Eddies.

When we skied the southwest face of Wolverine last week I couldn't take my eyes of the wall across the way: pinner chutes so tight and incised that that they're barely visible. Despite sunnier and easier options I convinced Alex and Bobby to check em out.

Things started off well with a forgotten beacon and a memorable scramble in and out of the Wolverine Creek gorge.

Photo: Bobby Lieberman

Then we were out of the gorge and into the jaw-dropping valley. Breaking trail in the morning light as the final snowflakes of the last storm fell out of the blue sky was one of those really special moments of perfection.

Photo: Bobby Lieberman

Arriving at the bottom of the chute, we could see that it had slid during the night, then filled back in. Perfect. Under the imposing south face of Wolverine we switched over to booting. Noah Lohr and Eric Dahl's insane line from last week is visible behind us.

Tincan Proper - 3.8.2015

Updated 1.22.2019 to include another great day on Proper.

One of the key components of weather forecasting are trends. When consecutive model runs consistently report a storm is coming, confidence in the storm increases. When one run forecasts sun and the next run forecasts snow, confidence decreases.

Twenty Mile to the North, so much fun doing so many things up there.

As March arrived the models started to forecast a storm for the night of the 6th. Each model run confirmed the storm, and even started to increase its size. There was a catch, too much snow and the stability balance would tip. When I went to bed at midnight on the 6th it still wasn't snowing at Hatcher, and the radar showed the moisture way down the Cook Inlet. Were the model trends wrong?
We warmed up in Common Bowl, Matt deemed it a success.

I woke up at 2 AM to check the Independence Mine webcam. Drifts were already forming: windslabs would be a problem. At 6 AM, Independence mine had 8 inches of new snow and the radar and webcams confirmed that heavy orographic precipitation was still in full affect at Hatcher.

Beginning to feel better about the snowpack, we jumped over to Hippy Bowl.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Cornbiscuit - 11.14.2015

Updated 1.14.2019 to include another great day on Cornbiscuit.

After spending 14 hours on a plane, and the previous week in the desert, we landed in Anchorage on Friday morning.

Digging into the weather history, one thing was clear: winds had scoured Turnagain Pass. Gap winds, outflow winds, storm winds, from the north, east, and west.
Saturday morning, looking for protected terrain, we worked our way back into the valley.

Starting to figure out the snowpack, Zack picked a zipper chute for the second run.