The anticipation of winter is always an oddly stressful time for me. I used not give it much thought as winter always came and the skiing commenced. But that was before whatever is going on now. Global warming? Natural cycles? Depending upon your political leanings, you can choose your explanation. But the bottom line is that winter has been fickle and elusive the past few years. Each year I'd say, "....well, it can't be any worse than last year...." and then it is. Gives me heart burn. Fortunately, this season seems to be shaping up in a more positive way.
Entries in Turnagain Pass (9)
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.
In spite of the grim, dry and warm weather around Anchorage so far this winter, the precipitation has been pumping through the Kenai Penninsula and dumping snow up high. The road is still mostly dry requiring some walking through the alders to get to the goods but at least there's skiing. However, the funky weather patterns have created some sketchy deep layers that shed some light on the realities of Alaska skiing that I think are worth discussing. Slick rain crusts and buried surface hoar are currently persistant worries for all who venture up there.
Not sure what to say about this winter except that it's starting to crack me. Each winter that I've been in AK the quality of the season has diminished with each passing year. Some say it's a normal cycle. Others point to profound climate change. Others talk about Biblical prophecy and the end times. Hmmm. Whatever the cause, the skiing has been sucking. I need to catch a break. So do my friends. And it seems it's just not Alaska. Even my favorite ski mountains on the planet, the Tetons, have been seeing their share of weirdness. At least there's snow there.
I've made no secret about our pathetic winter so far up here in Alaska. Mat (Anchorage Avalanche Center) and I've be making the best of things and skiing boiler plate and rare chalk where we can find it. But a odd little storm blew over the Kenai Mountains yesterday and left a lovely little gift of softness and sunshine that we enjoyed today. Oddly, most of the other mountains in South Central AK saw little to nothing.