Monday, March 20, 2006

Nuclear Winter - March madness continues

While the rest of the country is looking forward to spring, our little neck of the arctic was blessed with a winter storm that brought between 10-30 inches of snow to the mountains around Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Penninsula. Andrea and I were planning on spending the weekend in Girdwood. With the upcoming storm, our thoughts of spending sunny March days in the mountains skiing windslab quickly changed to the powder reality we were about to face. Oh, and what powder it was.
We skied Turnagain Pass on Saturday. It was absolutely dumping when we turned off to the parking lot for Tincan - a great option for lousy weather because the tree skiing is so fantastic. The wind was howling as we broke tree line so we decided to do laps in the trees and take advantage of the pockets of deep snow and good visibility the trees provided. We did four runs total. By the time we skinned back to the top, the wind and snow had already filled in most of our tracks!
The third run was by far the best with plenty of face shots and turns getting thigh to waist deep at times. The last run was just to say we took full advantage of this "gift from God" (a running joke all day - it's a gift from God, we have to keep skiing) but we were pretty wasted by the end.
We returned to Girdwood and had an excellent dinner at Maxine's. We had stopped at WorldCup Sports and already people were talking about the "epic' conditions in store for skiers at Alyeska the next day. As promised, it snowed all night and all the next day. Conditions were absolutely fabulous - super deep snow on all the runs, the groomers had taken the night off and you could hit anything as fast as you wanted. The snow kept coming but except for a few isolated times, the visibility remained decent. We skied a full day, 10:30 to 5 and we were some of the last skiers through the lower NF gate before the patrol closed it for the day.

Andrea had just gotten new fat skis the week before - K2 Phat Luvs - and conditions were optimal for putting the skis to the test.


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