Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunny Day on the Middle Fork

Today was our first day on our new (to us) backcountry skis. (We both found great used skis on the Anchorage craigslist site - We decided to try them out on the Middle Fork trail which starts at the Prospect Heights parking lot, loops up toward Willowa lakes around to Glen Alps, and then back down the Powerline trail. It was cold, but clear (see the sun shining in the photos below!) and the snow was plenty sticky. Always a great day to be a skier!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy Trails to Hillary

It is with a sad heart we say goodbye to one of our favorite backcountry partners, Hillary Prugh, who is leaving Alaska this Saturday night for Bozeman, Montana to begin her career as a real-live lawyer.

Our first backcountry excursions this season to Hatcher's Pass were with Hillary and Andrea and I took the Avy. 1 class earlier this winter with her. In such a short time, we packed in alot of great memories.

I can honestly say Hillary is one of the best alpine skiers I have ever seen strap on tele gear. And when she finally got her skins cut (last week) on her AT boards, she ripped. Above is a picture of Andrea, Hillary and uh, me, at Hatcher pass in mid-November.

Hillary, we will miss turning with you the rest of this season and we are looking forward to one more sub-zero mission to Turnagain this weekend! Keep your smile big and we will visit in Montana soon!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Turnagain in the Sun

We had a rare treat two weeks ago - a clear January day at Turnagain. Andrea, Rich, and I (and four dogs) did three runs down Tincan in knee-deep fluff. We weren't the first ones on the mountain but there was plenty of untracked if you looked for it and the sun felt SO GOOD. We met up with Hillary, Chester, and Brian for our final run down through the trees.

Last weekend, we returned to the same spot only to be greeted by near whiteout conditions. We stayed on the lower mountain in the trees and kept the camera in the pack.

This last week has been frigid in Anchorage; the mercury has not gotten above 5 in the last five days. We are heading to Turnagain tomorrow, hopefully to ski Sunburst. Although it is supposed to stay cold (Portage has been recording 17 below), we can at least count on a blue bird day and dry snow.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Spencer Loop - Tour Trail

A picture from our ski with Larry, Sandra, and Teeny last weekend - did the Spencer Loop and the Tour of Anchorage trail to the Lagoon. The total ski was about 3 hours, the TOA is getting close! Posted by Picasa

Delgadillo Visit - Dog Mushing and Skiing

Andrea's parents, Joe and Vickie, came to visit last weekend with Andrea's brother, Mike, and his fiancee, Kristen. We headed out to Willow to go dog sledding with Vern Halter. Vern is a long-time Iditarod musher (best placing 3rd) and his kennel was a professional, well-run outfit. We sledded for about 2 hours; with the temp. hovering around zero, it was about all we could take. The rest of the weekend we x-c skied around Anchorage, hitting the Coastal Trail and the Tour of Anchorage trail.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Joy of Storms

Turnagain New Year's Weekend

A few pictures from our ski up Tincan in Turnagain Pass over the New Year's weekend. A storm was moving in as we climbed higher; the snow got lighter, the light more flat, and the big flakes kept coming down. Unfortunately, by the time we skinned above treeline, visibility was so bad we had to stay close to the skin track. The ski was finished off with the typical Turnagain tree climb through the willows and alders. The next day we were treated to 12" of fresh snow at Alyeska.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Skier killed outside Girdwood

Photo of Ragged Top from the CNF Avalanche Info Center

ADN reported today a skier was killed in an avalanche on Ragged Top mountain just outside Girdwood. His partner was able to locate him and dig him up using a beacon but he was already dead (not clear if from trauma or asphyxiation). The pair were experienced mountaineers and backcountry skiers, a fact that ironically put them in one of the highest risk groups for backcountry accidents. They were skiing a part of Ragged Top that had not been traveled on all season and the higher elevation they were traveling at created dramatically different conditions from those on the lower slopes. More than a reminder that the backcountry is not a safe place, its good to remember that even the most experienced backcountry travelers are not immune from disaster and even if you can locate someone quickly with a beacon, it may not be enough.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Year's in Girdwood

Safety first. Thanks to Chester for the sweet party digs, Marika for taking pics. Trip report on skiing Turnagain to follow.