Few would argue that it was a strange winter nearly everywhere in North America. The strangeness was mostly of the warm variety. It was certainly no drought but it looked like it in places like Alaska in the lower elevations. Truth be told, my home town of Anchorage saw very little snow. The Nordic skiers were depressed. But above 2,000 feet, the winter was full-on throughout South Central AK.
Entries in Chugach skiing (7)
Unlike other places I’ve lived in my life, Alaska is not known for consistently fine weather. The windows tend to be short and, if you’re a skier, you need to pounce on opportunities when they present themselves. For the traditionally employed, this can prove to be a problem when good weather materializes during the week and the shit comes back in on the weekend.
Skiing in the Front Range of South Central Alaska's Chugach mountains is an acquired taste. In the middle of summer when the mountains are mostly snow free they look like hills and inspire little hope for skiing adventure. But throw some snow on them and suddenly their intricate features and deceptively large scale start to show.
After residing in Anchorage for three years now, I've observed a few subsets of backcountry skiers. The largest group gravitates South to Turnagain Pass for all the huge line powder goodness that zone provides. When the weather is clear and the snow fresh it is unrivalled. A slightly smaller group will head North to Hatcher Pass where slightly smaller scaled and often rockier chute skiing can be found. These two groups often blend as weather systems in South Central AK tend to favor one area or the other.
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.