I haven't been writing much for the last few weeks as news worthy events have been slim. One interesting opportunity that came to pass recently was that two friends and I bought a small, dry cabin on the Kenai. It should serve as a perfect base camp for ski, hiking and mountain bike adventures. The drive from town has always been a bit of a buzz kill for me so now we can eliminate some of the commute for multi-day excursions. We're putting in new windows and cleaning up the yard but otherwise the place is ready to go. Stay tuned for more on that. One thing is for sure, if you told me a year ago I'd own a condo and a cabin in Alaska I'd have shot coffee out my nose (at least, if I was drinking coffee at the time).
Those us paying attention were not surprised by the crushing performances of Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg at this year's MMR. However, to speak locally of this likely outcome leading up to the race was near heresy in this part of the world. Alaskans are proud of their athletes and are particularly possessive of this iconic race. There was plenty of grumbling about these "outsiders" coming up before hand. Alaskans love their stars and simply didn't want to see them humbled by foreigners. Not exactly xenophobic behavior but, really, just local pride. But when both winning athletes demonstrated the kind of humility, grace and astonishing athleticism they possess, well, most folks up here couldn't help but love it.
Mount Marathon 2015 is finally here. For those paying attention to the mountain running scene probably know that Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg are both making an appearance at the 100th running of the event.
When I first started skiing in the backcountry on Alpine Touring (AT) gear in the mid ‘90s, like many Americans, I used a step in binding, the Fritschi Titanal. Dynafit was out but everyone I talked to seemed to think it was sketchy and fragile. It certainly looked like it so I did the Frankenstein plod up the skin track for nearly a decade on heavy step ins. When I moved Jackson full time in 2005, I was immediately swayed by the locals and fellow Exum guides to switch over to Dynafit tech bindings. Hell, if they worked for Doug Coombs, they’d work for me.
I'm fighting it with every fiber of my being but the ski season is slipping away as the long days of the Alaskan summer arrive. I was back in Seward last weekend for a solo rematch on Mt. Ascension with a mountain bike and race gear. I rode from Lowell Point this time and was able to do nearly the whole trail approach on wheels. But fog and an isothermic snowpack shut me down. The whiteout was vertigenous and I was fearing some sort of epic if I continued. Of course, it cleared later but....