Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Alaska Stuff...

What's all this about Alaska? What the heck went on up there? Good questions, glad you asked.

How about a bulleted list, sloppily integrated with some pictures and video? Ok, if you insist, in rough chronological order:

  • Massive amounts of pop-diva music. Y'all oughta know that its now cool for raccoon-eyed, granola-eating 30-something dudes to rock out to Rihanna. Really. Believe me.
  • AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guides Course. Whatever.
  • Butterflies
  • Great Peers, making great turns, great laughs, and a great video (see, I told you female pop-stars are "in"):

  • A friggin' Helicopter ride. On my birthday. Wicked!
  • Incredible, glaciated wilderness mountains. Forever, as far as the eye can see, infinite...
  • On the course, a few good turns. Yours truly, making, you know, "guide turns".

  • Whiteouts, studying, planning, changing plans, planning for changing plans.
  • Packing and unpacking. Repeat. Daily. More than daily sometimes.

  • And then it got fun! Yeah, even more fun! You see, I invited 3 friends to fly up from "South America" to join me post-course. The plan was to ski whatever was the most fun. Or Mount Sanford, if conditions agreed. We opted for fun, and chased good snow over to Valdez. (Course skiing was at Hatcher Pass, Girdwood, and Turnagain Pass. Basically near Anchorage)
  • Some of the themes were consistent with the course days. Specifically, great people, rockin' skiing, the same make and model of rented minivan, white-outs, and the Alaska Factor. That state is huge, with many huge mountain ranges, each with many huge and inspiring mountains, all covered in beautiful and fat snow. Even on a "poor" snow year, we found world-class skiing almost every day.
  • The change in company, though, brought some important changes. We went into "vacation" mode. The "Alaska Alpine Start" is about 10 am. Days are long. Snow goes through the daily softening slowly. And refreezes even more slowly.
  • We shared decision-making, eased into terrain, and contrived lame photo-shoots.
  • We also changed up the sound-track. Less Ke$ha, more Rob/White Zombie. Superbeast.
  • Ate cheezy poofs and high-latitude Mexican food like they were going out of style.
  • John piloted us safely along Alaska's wilderness roads.
  • Steve cooked us breakfast each day. For real!
  • Scott has written it all up far more thoroughly than I. And more eloquently, with better pictures. Why reinvent the wheel? Check out Scott's Blog.

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