Sunday, September 1, 2013

Skiing the Alaska Range

Alaska Range

Incredible company, incredible weather, incredible location, …what more could one hope for while climbing and skiing in the mountains, let alone the mountains of Denali National Park. Clif Bar athlete Chris Davenport, action sports photographer Christian Pondella, globetrotting entrepreneur Jim Morrison, and myself were lucky enough to score 7 sunny days with amazingly stable/cold winter snow during our recent trip to the Alaska Range.

Our plan was simple: To fly a heavy base camp into a remote, glaciated region high in the mountains of Alaska to spend a week enjoying what the mountains had to offer. Knowing what kind of weather AK likes to dish out, we hoped to ski 3 or 4 days out of the 9 planned. Little did we know what Mother Nature and the mountains had in store.  After waiting out a storm in Talkeetna, Paul Roderick of Talkeetna Air Taxi dropped us on the glacier and bid us good luck.  During the next 7 days, we were greeted by breathless, cold clear day after breathless, cold clear day and racked up the vertical, skiing numerous 50+ degrees lines scattered about the area around our camp.
Our ski-zone was located in the sweet spot elevation wise to score deep stable snow. Each day, two morning/mid-day lines, were followed by a big lunch and a quick nap before heading back out for an evening lap. Never had any of us climbed and skied so many steep lines in a week. During our celebration dinner back at the West Rib in Talkeetna, we clinked or glasses together in hopes that we could again visit the AK Range in such amazing condition.  

Thanks to Pondella and Dav who had the vision to get out there, to Clif Bar for fueling our action packed days, and to Patagonia.