Tuesday, May 02, 2006

PASTORAL (yes, it was that good)

Last Saturday we returned to Turnagain Pass to take another stab at skiing Pastoral. We had a large crew - seven of us in all. With the sunny weather and endless fields of untracked snow, it looked like the makings of one of the best any of us had experienced in the backcountry. We gained the saddle that Andrea and I had been turned back at in a storm a few weeks earlier and had lunch. After lunch, we started the big treck up the glacier to the summit.
There was a small camp in the valley below the saddle. The campers had gotten an early start so, at the summit, we didn't have untracked snow, but it was pretty close. Lots of folks seem to have abandoned TinCan in these long spring days and have set their sights on bigger projects. Luckily, with the long treking distances, there is still plenty of snow for everyone.
The approach was long - almost 3 hours - to get to the summit of the peak that overlooks the main glacial valley. When we reached the final climb up the ridge, we were rewarded with views of the Center Creek Valley, which runs north-south parallel with Turnagain Pass.

This isn't really about the approach, its about the skiing, and everyone agreed that this was one of the GREATEST DAYS OF SKIING EVER (I put that in all caps just so you know I'm not kidding). Ok, so the summit ski (which Chester and Ray and I did twice) was not the best but then we traveled off the next ridge and down to a bowl below where we had lunch (Teeny and Ray seem to know the secret spots in every part of Alaska). And this was the goods. See below - a huge valley of untracked champagne powder.
We ate it up like kids in a candy store. It was a long way back to the car - on the way we skied more great light snow and even some nice corn at the very end - and we all left with smiles on our faces.
One of the cool things about my new camera is that it can take four frames per second - which is great for action shots (As I joked to Chester, its useful for getting that nano-second of good form within all the chaos). So without further ado - here are some action shots - I went a little artsy with the last two, apologies in advance.



Andrea on the final ski of the day


Ray on the last run down

3 Comments:

Anonymous teeny said...

Good job on the photos and report. It was really beautiful. I drove to Hope last night and it was raining in the pass. I wonder if it would be good this weekend?

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Aaron said...

Thanks Teeny! I had one shot of you and Ray actually skiing TOGETHER - it was a fleeting moment and, alas, the picture turned out less than stellar. Perhaps we should head up to Superbowl this Sunday?

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You suck! Well that looked fun, but you missed a hell of a day watching NASCAR.

1:36 PM  

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