Record heat, No wind, No AC, and relentless bugs stirred up an impromptu surf session at campbell creek. The bystanders – a creek resident and two little native boys named Oat and Boss were mildly impressed. I believe peter has melted in Cordova with temps approaching 90F.
June 18, 2013
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May 29, 2013
I couldnt resist posting this picture from my beautiful memorial weekend in Nome, AK. My classy Nome neighborhood.
April 19, 2013
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—Designer drug users have become more prevalent in Downtown Anchorage than chronic inebriates, according to the security director for the Anchorage Downtown Partnership.
March 8, 2013
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It’s currently pouring rain in Cordova and I’m at the library stealing internet while realizing that the weather isn’t going to improve anytime soon, so I’ll post some general Mt. Eyak hype that is long overdue on this site. The face pictured above is the west face of the ridge and Mt Eyak, accessed by a very short (20 minute) hike from the lift’s top station. It empties into a horrible terrain trap which is scatered with huge mangled trees deposited by previous slides, so it not often safe to ski. But when its safer, like it has been the previous few days, the variety of lines on offer with easy access from the top of a chair rivals anywhere I’ve been before. Local Highschoolers have been squeezing in laps from the peak between school getting out and sunset for the last few days.
The lift runs sporadically, opening at 1 or 2 in the afternoon a couple of days a week- depending on the conditions. Openings are announced via facebook posts and a recorded answering machine message. When not open the lift crew (who’s almost alway up shovelling on closures as the lift is prone to getting burried) will fire up the lift to offer a ride to the top station, drastically shortening any hike up the ridge (top picture), which also has plenty of tree lines for stormier days.
The most notable terrain directly off the lift would be The Darkside (pictured above), a couple hundred feet of steep, west facing trees covered with of drops and pillows. It’s comparable to the best terrain off the Wildcat lift at Alta except with an exit traversse to the left rather then the right. The other common ski line is the lift line known as Towers, which is kind of stair stepped with steep rollovers and both plenty of options as well as small jumps carved out along the sides of the run. Predictably but also dissapointingly I’ve yet to see a chairlift gap attempted despite the obvious possiblity.
The single groomer Mambo (which begins at the midstation) have been a real treat. Its narrow with a couple long corners that are a treat on high speed lift maps, and as with all of Mt. Eyak the views are above average.
I’m far from an expert on Alaskan ski hills, I also have yet to visit Eaglecreast, but I’m both shocked and impressed that tiny Cordova has a ski hill, that when you considering the backcountry terrain and open boundaries policy has arguably the best ski hill in the state. Alyeska will remain massively bigger but really doesn’t have much more to offer then Mt. Eyak. Its also shocking when you consider Cordova’s obvious limitations (small, inaccessible, expensive everything and few tourists) that no other community in the state (the valley, valdez, seward etc.) has been able to put together anything comparable.
January 2, 2013
Its been one whole week since I arrived in Nome to spend time with my wife who took a job working at the hospital. Usually I would be bitter leaving the Chugach behind this time of year but this winter has been mess in the Anchorage area – from early season cold and lack of snow, to extreme snowfall, warm weather and high winds. Avalanche danger has been outta of control and the skiing void has been replaced with hockey for the early season.
When I found out Riley would be taking this job in Nome for a couple years I needed to get her into a sport that would work for Nome. Although I hear that there is skiing here I cant imagine it is similar to what we have become accustomed to in the Chugach. I decided to buy her a Kite trainer Christmas. Nome has amazing wind stats too! (she also needed a wind sport that she could be out while I am windwindsurfing!)
Knowing full well that she would be working and I would be hanging out in Nome I needed something to do too!!! FIrst impressions of kiting are 1) incredibly easy to learn on land 2) hard to control overpowered kite when wind picks up 3) much more fun when on skates so you can use the kites power.
A quick note about the video: I had been kiting on the frozen ocean for the past 3 days on well over 24″ of ice with locals commuting past me to the bar on snowmachines and ATVs. On Riley’s day off the wind had significantly picked up to about 30 knots plus. I got the kite out naively expecting to teach her how to fly it. As soon as I launched the kite I knew it would be trouble. I was able to manage the twitchy kite for about 5 mins until the wind picked up even more. Before I could park the kite I was suddenly pulled to the ground and sliding. I made it back to my feet only to get bossed around by the wind a few more times. My hat almost blew away, my elbow was bruised from hitting the ice, and minor whiplash from hitting the ice so hard ensued. I learned my lesson for the day – respect the wind!
We decided to take a 20 mile ATV ride to look for musk oxen and Qiviut ( which we did not find) and tour some of the roads out of town. When we returned back to coast rd. we could believe our eyes. The ice had pulled away from the shore about a half mile. Some friends had left messages on Riley’s phone to make sure we were alright and on land because they had seen us earlier and told us to call the cops because they were looking for us. Turns out the cops were looking for another guy that wasn’t so lucky!
December 9, 2012
November 8, 2012
I”ve been drooling over the west face of Heney since I moved here, and after wussing out over a week ago, decided to take advantage of the sunny streak and get it checked off the still being developed local hit list.
It hasn’t snowed in a while so down low is very crusty. That said I was able to skin from sea level, the crust made for a quick approach, and as I started up the appron the snow changed to some easy skiing dust on crust (an acceptable condition pre veterans day). Booting the chute was easy, very little wallowing in sugar although the base was a little firm to get decent traction near the top. Took me 3 hours from the car till where I put on my skis.
The line skied great, better then I expected, and the lower appron was fantastic, my best turns of the year thus far. The crust made my exit easy too, gliding across the icy meadows I was back to the car before dark (despite not leaving home till noon). Feels really really good to ski some real terrain again.
November 2, 2012
Well it’s begun raining (not anything surprising or upsetting, just an accepted event now) and the rain is supposed to continue untill Tuesday or whenever it’s cold enough to turn back to snow, or so I’m told. Anyway yesterday, before the rain, I got in a pretty decent couple runs on the shoulder of Eccles, and am finally feeling confident as to the quickest skin track in and out. Thinking all this current rain will be snow hIgher and really fill everything in up high.
October 12, 2012
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This week has been the nicest stretch of weather since I’ve moved here (following 77″ of rain in September) but the lack of snow is annoying considering what we were skiing last year early season. Anyway I’ve been hiking and waiting, snapping a few pictures to stay busy.
October 3, 2012
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Waiting for a bit more snow. Surely not long now.
September 17, 2012
A cold north wind in the anchorage area provided a weak but consistent westerly flow in the tunragain arm and portage area. The west wind meant nice weather that was surprisingly warm which made for one of the best days at portage this year. Mostly I was just super pumped to get about 1.5 miles on one tack in the straps before the wind got light.
August 1, 2012
Learning how to windsurf in Alaska has been a challenge. Finding equipment, cold weather, isolation, and instruction are the main hurdles but this weekend I was very fortunate to meet up with Paul. My wife met Paul while setnetting in Kenai Last year, while I was just getting started windsurfing. Turns out Paul was a windsurf instructor in Oregon and was itching at the chance to hook up and windsurf in the cold Alaskan waters. Since the Kenai setnetting season has been a total bust thanks to a dismal king salmon return Paul called me up to see if we could meet up and go windsurfing. Sunday was my only day last week so we had planned on going to the Homer Spit but winds were unusually calm there and everywhere else along the pennisula except for Kenai Lake. We arrived at the Quartz Creek campground around noon to light spotty winds less than 10mph. I was itching to try the new gopro mast mount regardless of winds. Once we were all rigged and suited up the winds picked up a little more maybe 12mph. I was slogging around on the longboard with a 9.0 Severne sail and Paul was on the killing it on the donghshow board with an Ezzy 6.3 sail. 50lbs sure makes a difference! Paul was fully planning with his setup! We came back to the beach to drink a beer and put the big sail on the small board. The wind picked up and.. WOW! Paul was ripping across the lake about 25-30mph. He was stoked on my custom board and so was I seeing it in action! Some of the highlights of the day can be seen HERE but I ran out of card space as we were on the water for 6 hours. Also, while we only had one harness Paul made crafty use of a back pack waist strap and ratchet strap to come up with a sketchy hook in setup to save his arms! Monday I was totally exhausted. I figured we probably sailed close to 20 miles and my body is still recovering.