Seth Morrison: Alaska Trip

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ALASKA! A dreamer’s dream it is. A place where people come to be lost and left alone. JP Auclair, Tom Ericson, Flip McCorrick and myself came here in search of the that ourselves as well as to ski the best mountains and snow the world has to offer at this time of year, 3-28-05. Some of us had been to Haines before so we knew what the area had to offer.

Standard AK weather is typically stormy. Being on the ocean means the weather changes rapidly and snow can be abundant. For our first days we spent it getting ready with paperwork, beacon searches, and Helicopter debriefing. After seeing that it was never going to get sunny, we played the sucker hole game of going out in the afternoons and checking the snow and stability. Finding what we could before the clouds returned to put us back to our hotel rooms. Limited to that with a few runs for a few days, it finally cleared one afternoon. We found a foot of fresh snow and high avalanche danger. JP had kicked off a good sized slide on our first film run, which made us think twice and head for the smaller runs. Still those posed as a threat for avalanches, as we skied in them on each small run.

The next day proved to be why we come to AK. Stability had improved, and we saw no activity out there. A full dawn to dusk day of skiing. Nothing could be better.

The following day was clear for part of the day, then the clouds came back and we have been grounded for the past three. Patience is the other part of an AK experience if you really want to ski the best. So if you ever come up here, just remember it can’t happen in a week. And if it does, you probably have made a deal with the devil.