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…
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.
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.
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.