Winter continues to be a non-starter for 2015 in Alaska. Ice climbing and obsessing over the condition of my ski quiver has done little to placate my need for fresh snow and fun skiing. Of all the places south of AK, the Tetons have faired the best in terms of snow pack. So, it was with this in mind I scheduled a two-week vacation and headed to my favorite ski range. I also decided to have a look in the central mountains of British Columbia and I scheduled the second week as a hut trip in the Selkirks.
Well, January 22nd came and the snow finally started falling in South Central AK. Truth be told, it's been snowing plenty above 2,500 feet but the more common haunts have been hurting. The telling indicator is that I'm ice climbing again. Fun but seems so much scarier and dangerous than skiing. Good for my head, though. But the arrival of the a real winter storm and cold temps, "grumpy Brian" was replaced with "hopeful/psyched Brian". That's a good thing for the people I work with. I was giddy all day.
Goddamn it's been a tough few months for the ski alpinism community. We've lost some of our best and my heroes keep falling. Today, Dave Rosenbarger died high above the Hellbroner on the Italian side of Mont Blanc near Chamonix.
Can't say too much excitement has happened since I last wrote. We've had more rain in town and some light snow up high. The winds have paid a visit and ravaged the Kenai. Hatcher Pass has done better recently and was in decent form this past weekend. There're still plenty of sharks to be discovered and I've spent every evening tending to my ski's wounds. But at least we're skiing.
Winter in AK continued its reluctant trickle over the holiday. The weather is decidedly unsettled with very little local precipitation and slightly better returns in the Turnagain area. Lower elevations remain bare but the high mountains are getting fatter. A scary buried hoar layer seems to be stabilizing so the hazard is diminishing for now. But more weird weather approaches so who knows what we'll get after this incoming blast.