Sunday, October 30, 2005

First Tracks of the Season - Hatcher Pass

Our plan was to follow up on the rumors of early season skiing at Hatcher Pass but were not sure what to expect.

We were happily surprised by a few inches of fresh snow in Anchorage this morning. We had planned on heading to Hatchers today but were not expecting fantastic conditions. We assumed we would find week old snow and temperatures in the mid-teens. What we had was one of the greatest season openers any of us could remember - Hillary's best "Alaska day" since she had moved back. When we reached the parking area, it was still not clear whether we would be skiing rocks all day but when we finally left the road and started booting up, it became clear as we sank to our thighs that
there was plenty of snow. There was a layer of soft crust under about 4-6' of fresh which made for really nice turns if you could stay on top of the crust or power through it.

We skied three runs in the April Bowl, totaling about 2900' vertical. Lunch was near the top of Mount Hatch after our second run. There were a few sections where we hit rocks but all escaped with minimal base damage for such an early season ski.

On our first run into April Bowl - Riley, Hillary's golden retriever puppy refused to go over the cornice into the run. Riley may have been born with more backcountry sense than we gave her credit for (jumping over cornices is not always the best idea) - but considering the cornice was only two or three feet high, it was pretty funny. Hillary on the last run, to save her poor pooch from being traumatized, carried her over the cornice.

Over all, an excellent first day!

Aaron and Andrea near the summit of Mt. Hatch - lunch time.

Andrea in April Bowl.

The second run bootpack - the longest of the day.

Emerson and Riley survey the first run of the day.

Putting the "earn" in "earn your turns."


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