Tailgate Alaska: Getting there and Day 1

So my good friend Mike Records from Boulder/grad school came to visit Alaska with his friend Nick for 12 days.  The weeks leading up to his trip we discussed skiing Alyeska and Turnagain Pass.  It wasn’t until days before he arrived that I realized Tailgate Alaska, one of the biggest back country ski parties every year, was taking place on Thompson Pass near Valdez during the time they would be visiting. 

Within 2 days of seriously discussing this with Mike, I had rented an RV, assembled a winning crew, done a major CostCo shop and finished my work for the week.  That Friday we finally got on the road after picking up the necessities…

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This was our snow machine towing RV! whoot!  (and my awesome parking job)Image

Mike and Carp… Image

Stopping to take in the view… Andy “Gustov” Manos (Hands) from the top of the RV, Carp “the cod killer”, and Jodie “nose goes” Banks…Image

Mat-su glacier:Image

Andy and Mike enjoying the drive..Image

The drive took about 7 hours on typical Alaskan roads, it’s a good thing we had quality road sodas and cribbage to keep us entertained on the ride, haha.  Driving into Thompson Pass… everyone in our group was new to the area and you could feel the excitement building in the RV as we got closer.Image

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Getting settled in our camping spot at Tailgate and meeting the neighborsImage

SATURDAY APRIL 7TH:  Getting ready to head out… Image

Visibility was less than desirable… Image

And only got worse!  Here’s Mike and Nick skinning up.  We had no idea where we were that day.  The ski and the snow blended together in a mess of white making it extremely difficult to get much skiing in.  We did managed to do a few short snowmachine runs.Image

We decided to wait out the poor lighting by digging a pit for some avalanche testing. Image

Examining the snow layers… (Jodie, Nick, and Mike)Image

Shovel shear testImage

Digging for Rutschblock test…Image

Nick volunteered to do the Rutschblock.  All our tests concluded that the snow on this aspect was stable.  There were a few weaker layers but nothing that resulted in any significant concern.

The lighting never got any better so we finally decided to head down.  The snow on the lower mountain was a lot better than we expected so we were all pretty stoked about that.

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Back at camp!Image

Our neighbors cut down a tree that day to supply fuel for a bon fire that night…Image

With very little skiing done that day, we decided to get some more excercise by building a jump back at base camp.  (Mike looking oh so suave!)Image

Nick hitting the jump, being towed by Carp on the snow machine.Image

Carp taking in the view.. Image

Easter Sunday we woke up to this… Needless to say, we got some great bluebird skiing in that day… Image

 STAY TUNED!!!!

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4 Responses to Tailgate Alaska: Getting there and Day 1

  1. Jordan Pannuhsevitch says:

    coooool i want to come up sometime.. you need to get a gopro! hmmm birthday present maybe?

  2. Jodie says:

    hooray!!!

  3. Loovs like serious fuuuun! All that snow makes me miss big mountains…

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