It has been about a month now since I wrote. Wanted to clear my mind from the blog and social media a bit and just enjoy the Thompson Pass nothing matters lifestyle. Currently up on Thompson Pass at the Tsania Lodge working for Valdez Heli Ski Guides. We have the school bus parked across the street in the Gypsy Circle parking lot. Posted up hard. The bus is living the dream that was planned for! It is a home on top of a pass. Not moving for a couple months! Very homey in there! And we have two tents posted up outside. Gaining our subdivision over there! HA! It is great! Bus, snowmobile, tents, generators, lawn chairs, snow bathroom, and a fuckton of wood! When I got here I was crazy busy and now, unfortunately, have time because the snow sucks. This year in Alaska has not been the best, but still having a good time. If it was not for last season being the worst year in Alaska ever…. This year would be the worst. Two lame seasons snow wise in a row. I have had four really great AK days in the month I have been here and one of them was the worst day as well. When we showed up the snow was no bueno. A huge wind event hit Thompson Pass the day we got in. Fucking wind!! Still would go out and tour around and ski shitty snow, but was not AK. On the first day of clients I got up in the heli!!!!! Fuck yea! Great way to start the season. First day of the heli and I got a seat! Funny because last year I was in the heli the last day of the season. Great finish and start! The heli day was sick!!! Wind fucked snow everywhere so having the helicopter to search for POW was great!! I hiked for a few days searching before this day and found nothing. I went out with a group of three from Hawaii. They were amazing people. Had such a good time riding with them!! All snowboarders!! And Jed Workman was our guide. We took seven laps! Two of them of a decent size face. The start zone was bad wind snow so had to be safe and cautious, but then it turned into POW and got to open up. We skied that line twice! Lots of fun! We also got a couloir shot in. The drop in was steep and techy, but right into POW so was chill!!! The top of the line was sick!! Great feeling POW right out on a flank skiers left of the couloir. About halfway down the line it turned into shitty wind snow, but the top was amazing. For the rest of the day we just skied low angled powder on glaciers. That was the best snow of the day. It was POW!!! Do not mind skiing low angled POW over no POW at all!!!! Amazing day in the heli!!! For the next few days we hiked up to glaciers near the Tsania Lodge knowing that glaciers were holding the best POW from my heli day. A lot of work for a little bit of POW… Always great to get out. Then it finally started to snow!!!! YES! The days of pillows and short shots during the storm skiing was amazing after dealing with terrible snow for a week or so. The first day the storm cleared everything looked so good!! ALL FILLED IN!! Deep enough snowpack was there! We hiked up towards Stairway to Heaven and ran into Lee up there. He had just dug a pit and found bad results so we all just skied the Mount Doom Moraine together and enjoyed the shit out of some POW. Got to stick to the 24 hour rule of Alaska and let the snow settle and avalanche danger lower. Went back up the next day and dug another pit. This time I found koosh results! No propagation on an extended column test. I could not even get the weak layer to break. So up we went!! We skinned almost all the way up the Lower Stairway Couloir on Stairway to Heaven. Bootpacked the final pitch in the start zone. I lead the group all morning and broke the skin track the whole way up in the fresh POW. Let Cedric drop in first for his first big AK line!! He raged it!! Then I dropped second. Took like a turn and pointed through the rocks at the drop in! Then opened up! It was so good!! Felt so fucking great to go fast again! It had been so long! Bluebird pow day in AK!!! Whaaaaaaaaat?! We were all very exhausted at the bottom. Everyone, but me wanted to keep going. I was like guys there is no way we are not going to ski another line. It is sunny, fresh pow, no slough, it was full on!!! Finally Cedric was down. I asked Cole for his last sip of water. I was out. Marshell then was down to join! Between Marshell, Cedric, and I we had like ten ounces of water and half a bar of Hershey’s dark chocolate. We sent it up Cat Ears. Most tired I have been on a hike in a ling time. So hard man. Cedric was tapped out from the start. Marshell and I were yo-yoing up the bootpack. My legs were cramping from dehydration and breaking trail all morning before we even sent it up. Eventually Marshell tapped out and I was leading us up to the top. So exhausted man. Have not felt that way in a very long time. So good for the soul!!! The snow was deep. Swimming in POW with every step up. So much work, even with Verts on. The three of us did not say a word to each other for the last half hour or more. So tired. I was taking like two to four steps then stopping and being like FUUUUUUCK!!!! So hard. Made it to the top though!!!! Of course just before we made it to the top clouds rolled in and the flat light arrived. On top it was brutal! With just enough room for the three of us, exhausted, cold as fuck in the negatives for sure, and crazy windy! Intense!!!!! LOVE THAT SHIT! I dropped first! Stoked on the line before, I sent it so fast in the start zone! Steep, deep, and fast! That is what I live for! It was incredible!! I hit some bad snow on the side I could not see because of the flat so I hit the brakes and slowed down for the rest of the run! Still great POW! Just that one spot was variable and I only hit it because of the flat light. It is crazy how exhausted the body can get. Drained to the point of feeling miserable. Cramping like crazy. So dehydrated and malnourished. Shivering on top in freezing temps and high winds. And then you drop in and nothing matters anymore! Total blackout on POW! I was so stoked at the bottom! Felt great! So fucking high on life! For the love of POW!! The stoke was so high!!! Alaska was full on!!! The next couple days the clouds were still there. Next day Lee and I tried going up 420, but snow conditions did not feel good so we bailed halfway. The following day Lee and I hiked up Lower Stairway just to get some couloir POW action in. Super hard to see, but the top section when in between the rocks was great!! The following day after that was blue again!! Marshell, Cedric, George and I went up the 420 Couloir on Stairway to Heaven. It was so great!! I let George drop in first to get his first time first tracks on a big AK line! He was amped! Blowing up huge clouds of POW and screaming his whole way down! I dropped in second. The top was a little technical and steep. Only technical because it was a small little choke to get through sitting on a wind load. I took a couple turns to feel safe and then pointed it!!! Fastest I have gone since my first year here two seasons ago!! Felt amazing!! I was going like 98% full speed with very little worry. Almost full on AK POW, but still full on AK! No slough, deep POW, steep, and fast! FUCK YEEEEA! I needed that so bad! Pointed the whole line with huge long turns, a speed check about midway down that blew up a huge cloud, and straight lined out of the apron!!! Sooooooooo fucking good! POWWWWWWWWW! Full on AK!!!! Alaska finally happened!!!!!! YES! YES! YES! And then the wind came….. Again….. Fuck you wind! The day the wind rolled in was okay though. Lee and I sent it out on the snowmobile. We went out to the Hudu Glacier twelve miles from the Tsania Lodge. Drove the sled away from the bus and did not stop till we found a line to ski. It was so sick! Super cool to finally take the sled out! This is what we got it for and it finally happened! We got out on the Hudu Glacier. Crazy ride out! Never sent it that far before and never had that much glacier travel on the snowmobile. We picked a line out from the distance and cruised up to it. Turned the snowmobile off and starting touring up the face. We skinned about halfway up it. The snow was touchy. There was a wind slab from the wind blowing around all the new storm snow. We started booting up it. The whole way up kind of feeling off about the snow. Obvious wind slab. We talked about it a bunch as we hiked up. Felt like it was manageable for skiing. We were like ten feet from the top and a soft slab broke and slough came down on us. We both plated our poles and were all good. Took a few more steps towards the rock where it broke from. About five feet from the top at this point, but did not feel comfortable hiking back into the gut of it right in the start zone. We both agreed it was not worth topping out and we needed to get out of the situation ASAP. We transitioned right where we were super fast. I dropped first. Took one turn to ski cut the slope, no snow moved, felt good, KOOSHING!! The snow was POW!!!! It was a great line. Slough moving down with, but manageable. Popped of one little wind slab, but it did not move fast with me or all the way down slope. I was looking back every toe side turn watching what the snow was doing behind me. Was safe the whole way down!! Awesome big turns and pointed it out the apron!! It was awesome!!!! Lee dropped in next! He ripped it as well with some slough chasing him as well. About halfway down a wind slab broke at the top and started coming down on him. It moved slow and ended up not going all the way down slope. Intense to watch, but he was safe the whole time! We were both so stoked at the bottom! So hyped!!!! Like yes finally living the full dream! Took the snowmobile out far, picked a line, hiked it, and shredded it!! So amped!! Both of us full of so much excitement. “We gotta do this all the time!!!” “Best day of the season!!!” and then I went to start the snowmobile and nothing…. Pull start would not pull at all and the clutch would barely spin. Could not do a clutch start. Fucked… We tried so many times and accepted we need to start hiking out. We started hiking up the backside of what we thought was Girls. It ended up being the next mountain over, but it was all good. Same area and zone. Got up to the ridge and the wind was ripping at this point!!! Sixty plus miles per hour!! Have never felt so exposed on a ridge from high winds and the possibility of being blown off! Ahhaaa! CRAZY! We transitioned super fast up there and dropped in. Got out of the wind tunnel and reassessed. We were skiing down towards the Worthington Glacier. We were confident with where we generally were the whole time. Safely got down onto the Worthington and then safely worked out way across the glacier. Eventually we hit a point on the glacier we were super comfortable with from being there a bunch in the past years. Finally made it down and to the road. Glad it was Lee and I out there for this one. The two of us are in good ski shape and had a good mentality about it the whole time. We knew we were going to get out, no matter what. It was a FULL ON mountain day! We snowmobiled out super far, toured, boot packed, skied, dealt with avalanches, snow safety, glacier travel, snowmobile breaking down, high winds, cold, and having to hike out!!! INSANE! Good for the soul! It was a good feeling knowing that we could be in a situation like that and be able to stay safe the whole time and feel okay about everything that was happening. Test of all our capabilities!! That was the final day of POW! A wind event came and stayed for a few days. Sixty to seventy mile per hour winds with gusts over a hundred. All the POW blew away! Still snow on the mountains, but it is rock solid and the peaks are very bare. Oh well…. Name of the game. Always one day away from the best day of your life here on Thompson Pass. That is what makes me come back year after year. Just been chilling, adventuring out to shitty snow for the sake of getting out, working, and partying. Life is still great!! Being up here in Alaska where nothing matters for two months is an incredible feeling. Love this life. My toe has been killing me since Stevens Pass. Been dealing with it for over a month now. Ordered new boots a couple days ago hopefully that does the trick. Cedric is here. Colin is here. More friends and the Chronic boys showing up tonight! PRAY TO DAS SNOW GODS! Snow will come!!! Tailgate Alaska starts tomorrow!!!! Living the dream on Thompson Pass just need POW!
(Connection is not good enough to upload pictures or videos. Pretty up to date on my Instagram and Facebook, if you do not have those platforms I am sorry and will do a big post of pictures and videos and upload to YouTube from all my recent adventures when I am back to a good WiFi, might not be till the lower 48 in May….) POWDER ON!
One thought on “Soon It Will POW, and Then Nothing Will Matter”
Got my palms sweating over here. POWder ON!!