From the moment the Canadians showed up for Week 3 it was game on. They were all fired up, having booked their trip almost a year in advance, and as soon as they showed up the weather just decided to cooperate. The whole crew was a solid group of skiers and we wasted little time.
Our first day we did a few moderate powder laps before heading over to “Sluffhead”. This is a perfect ski touring Chugach Peak. While the south side isn’t necessarily a go-to, the north and west aspects provide exceptional skiing. On the north aspects, even several days after a storm, you’re going to have to deal with sluff on your decent-hence the name. The above shot shows “The Sickle”. It’s a short, sweet run that’s not as easy as it might look. There’s exposure to the skiers right when dropping in and skier’s left once through the middle. You always have to deal with your sluff, there’s a few rocks usually hidden in the middle of the line, and it approaches 60 degrees at the top. That said, on this day, making such steep turns on complete perfect snow is unmatchable. The velvety pow out the bottom only adds to the thrill of the line.
Later in the week we were able to take the crew out to what’s become one of our most classic runs, “Shakedown St.” The line itself isn’t all that rowdy, but it is a beautiful Alaskan ramp and always worth the tour. As you can see, with our complete camp of 11 in tow, we tracked up this little slice of heaven in no time. The cool part about this day-beyond the sublime snow quality-was Jeff and I’s idea to link-up another 5-star line coming out of “Shakedown St.”
Last year we broke in a new FA/FD couloir dubbed “Tweezer”. The line was climbed from the bottom and can only be skied from the top with a rappel. However, when I was leading the group on the initial climb and ski of the route another couloir off to climbers right looked like a possibility. We didn’t get another window to ski it last year, but that was on the agenda for today.
After a few controlled turns at the top, and a few technical moves to get into the gut-shown in the above photo by Wesley and Andre-the skiing was all you could ask for in a first descent couloir. The Canadians ended up naming it, “This Ain’t Kansas”.
This shot looks back up at our tracks. It was a completely gorgeous ski descent accentuated by some truly perfect powder turns. ”Tweezer” is lookers right, “This Ain’t Kansas” is in the middle and to the lookers right, and the walled line down and looker’s right-a perfect, steeper way to finish either line-is called “Tweezer Reprise”.
Needless to say, but the stoke factor was high after this memorable day in the Chugach. However, it was arguably the next day that put the cherry on top. With continued blue skies and stability the call was made to head over to “Danno’s”, our local spine-wall, where some of the most inspiring lines accessible from our camp are found when the right conditions line-up.
Stay tuned for episode 5 dropping soon…