Words, photos and video by Andy Campbell, adapted from this Forum thread.
April 20, 2011
F%&^ Yeah! I'm in Alaska!!
Arrived in Juneau last night and got five runs in today with Alaska Powder Descents, stoked beyond words.
I'm skiing like crap and still getting used to the terrain/snow but hoping for some super stoke while I'm here. Interent connection is slow...so can't manage to post more than these two photos but they pretty much sum up my day; posing with helis and crapping my pants on the side of some Alaskan slope.
April 23, 2011
It's been clouded-in over 33 mile yesterday and this morning but this afternoon I got up for a couple of runs, and had a total WTF am I doing here moment at the top of a line.
Got dropped off just below the cloud base, which is pretty low, for the second run of the day and from where I was sitting I couldn't see the run below me because of the roll-away and steep pitch. All I could see from the sit ski was something steep and white, with a fall and die drop to my left which was actually a fair distance away but looked WAY closer from my perspective, and was told there's an ice field to my right. I can't kick or jump turn in the sit ski so steep pitches for me mean that as soon as I initiate a turn I pick up a crap load of speed and need to traverse to run it off before starting the next turn, so I was freaking out that I wouldn't have enough room to lose speed before going off an edge or into an ice field. If someone had turned to me and said there was a cat-track or something easier to take down if I didn't feel like dropping in I'd have taken the easy option in a heartbeat!
Everyone else in the group headed down until it was just me and the guide and I had no more excuses to use up, time to just go and deal with it. Once I got over the first roller I could see more of the line and things weren't nearly as sketchy as my paranoid mind had been trying to convince me they were. Top of the line was still steep enough that I had to turn/traverse/turn to make it down and falling wasn't an option without tomahawking in a sit ski, which sucks, but it opened up into one of the most memorable runs of my life. Mainly because I was crapping myself so much at the top but still went for it and had a blast. This s%&^ is why I came to AK, to see if I can handle the terrain and internal mind games. Still can't handle 90% of the terrain, but after today I feel better about the mental stuff.
April 24, 2011
Today was cool, a nice way to mark the anniversary. Being at 33 mile is like a pilgrimage and skiing stuff that really pushes me is fitting. Some screen grabs from today's GoPro footage:
Arc'teryx photo This morning, Arc'teryx announced a voluntary recall on all its first-generation Procline ski boots. A defect was discovered in some boots where the rear axis pin failed, which could potentially lead to a fall hazard. The backcountry ski boots, introduced two years ago, feature an innovative walk mode mechanism that allows for lateral flex in the ankle area in addition to standard rearward flex, aiding in climbing and skinning on steep slopes. The recall affects all boots
This past spring I road tripped out to California to take advantage of their fat snowpack after an above average season for the Eastern Sierras. I started out hitting Mammoth Park and lapping top to bottom runs on the Mammoth Gondola. A few days later Colter showed up with plans to camp and do some Ski-mountaineering in the Palisades near big pine. Camp life. I was loving laid back condo life with the Saga crew but was eager to go camp in the Buttermilks. Everything came together for
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