The Alaskan View of Eleven-12Valdez has been off the charts for months and the ski world is in a buzz about what’s happening in coastal Alaska. I can understand the emotions as I sit and rest between ski days gazing out my second story window in mid-April at urban yards still smothered in four feet of white, rotting snow. Each day brings more sun and more skiing as huge avalanches cascade off Mile High Mountain and terminate in the deep blue water of the ocean in Port Valdez. We will be hammering runs in June by the looks of things.
This incredible mix of stability at all angles smothered in deep, slowly settling soft snows has made ski lines possible that I thought would never fill with quality snow and good stability to actually telemark without white-knuckles. Timing is so important in getting those signature lines residents crave. Day after day, huge steep backcountry runs of 4-5000′ are being pioneered by a record number of a new generation backcountry skiers now living or visiting Valdez who have been reveling in non-motorized access to world class terrain. I have lost count of who has done what, when, first ascents, etc.
In the short history of backcountry skiing, this has been not only the best skiing in the world this season, but possibly the best ski season ever, anywhere. Skiers and traveling guides will soon be returning to “South America” and other parts of the world humbled by their epic and mystical days in the Chugach Range during the winter of
11/12. Just ask them.
The following video captures a taste of another day “earning your turns” in the Chugach. Yesterday I was with Tommy Wade of Sacramento, CA. who splits his board and grabs lines around Tahoe from time to time. We skied north face powder and ended with afternoon corn. I had one of my top days ever and thought it worth sharing.