Alaska Part 1: Alyeska
(Last Updated On: April 1, 2008)
Originally posted on my Thrillhead Blog
I’ve decided that I have far to many experiences and photos to share from Alaska in one big blog post. So, I will post my Alaskan experiences in “Chapters”. This chapter is about the ski area, Alyeska.
After spending a leisurely Easter morning in Anchorage, we headed up the Seward Highway to the cabin we rented in Girdwood. After settling in, I decided to hit the ski area, Alyeska.
It was 2 pm when I finally got around to skiing. But, the benefit to Alyeska is they actually use the daylight. The ski area didn’t start shutting down until 5 or 5:30 on that Sunday. This time of year, on Thurs-Saturday, many runs stay open quite a bit later.
I had no idea where I was going. I just headed up the lifts that took me as close to the top as possible. When I got off the lift, I headed to the first gate I could find that was on my right, ‘cuz the map said those were all double blacks. This is what I found.
There were hardly any tracks. I was pretty impressed with the snow quality and the steepness of the run. I didn’t see a single soul the whole time though and I found myself wondering if I was going someplace where I shouldn’t be. But, the gate was open, right? I found myself down by the tram and went up for more. A run later, I found myself running into Kellie’s friend Brooke, whom I’d contacted via email prior to the trip. She introduced me to Ben- a former Alyeska ski patroller who was now going to grad school in Idaho, but was visiting for his spring break. And the two of them kept me entertained during most of my time at Alyeska.
I found out that what I had skied on the first run was called “The Knuckles”.
The clouds began to lift as the day progressed and this is what unveiled
The lodge and Penguin ridge behind:
Top of Christmas chute:
Alpenglow is just one of those inspiring peaks that should be skied:
The next day….
Me with Ragged Top behind:
Brooke skiing the Knuckels
Looking back up at The North Face. From left to right: the Monies, New Year’s Chute, Christmas chute, and the Knuckles.
Looking back down at the hotel:
Some of the trees struggle for life, battling the constant avalanches 🙂
A couple of days later I found myself meeting Robin, visiting from Crested Butte, on my very first run of the day. The rest of the day was spent hanging out with these rippin’ chicks: Ashley, Robin, Lucy.
Looking back up New Year’s Chute:
Hike to the Monies:
The ski patrol spent a better part of the morning and early afternoon getting the Headwall ready.
When it finally did open, around 2 pm, we were among the first in line (behind ski patrol) to boot right up the face.
Notice the rather large fracture crowns we had to boot through. The boot pack was… interesting. Pretty burly for inbounds actually, and made for a good conversation at the bar apres ski.
Some people headed further over on the headwall. We stayed a bit closer for some high quality pow.
Is this the Chilkoot trail or Alyeska? I’m confused.
Alyeska has a lot to offer, if all is open.
And the scenery is stunning, with the Turnagain Arm in the background.
Another musing over Alpenglow
My last day at the resort was one of the days they were hosting Telepalooza, an Extreme World Tele Comp. They hosted it on some terrain that is usually closed, referred to as “The Shadows”.
Closer views of comp terrain
Ben (and maybe a familiar face for some in the background).
We skied until late that evening, nearing 6 pm. My last run down I took one last parting Alpenglow shot.
Brittany Walker Konsella
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