Seth & Tanner In AK
This Haines, AK trip all came together in a matter of 4 days and then we were here for more filming on Tanner Hall’s Movie "Believe". Just like all trips this season, last minute arrangements. Early flights got us all into Seattle at the same time to head up to Juneau. Once in Juneau you have to take a small aircraft, there is the ferry option, but that only goes a few times a week. We got lucky and had one chance to fly in, other companies were not flying due to the weather, but it wasn’t that bad. First 10 minutes was low vis, but then cleared up to just a typical gray day for the 30 minute flight in to Haines.
Our first day out was a one run opportunity, more or less to check out the snow. One run 4000 vert of deep pow and flat light conditions, proved to be a promising recon. This year there has been a lot of snow in the valley, which means the wet maritime snow pack we are used to having here is not as prevalent this season. Many lines I have skied in the past that have spines on them are very rocky and unskiable. Other areas are filled in, every year there is something new and different in the mountains to deal with. For the operation they had not been very far out in the mountains because of the weather. The next 6 days proved to be blue and we as well as other film crews opened up the mountains. Previous in the week there had been a high avalanche danger burying a few riders, one guy was buried 8 feet deep and lived to tell his story. We on the other hand had no movement out there. Tanner had his first toe in landings. This is when you fly to your line and are landing on a ridge line and the heli keeps much of its power on and not much landing gear is touching the mountain. Your gear is in the helicopter and you get out on a knife ridge and have to put on your skis in small places and you gear is handed to you from the heli. You don’t want to fall either direction when getting out of the heli, generally the backside of the mountain is the most dangerous area (exposure). We have been flying with a great pilot that is used to doing what we were asking out of him, nice to fly with pilots that can do what we like to do. When you have a pilot that can’t land like this you have to find other lines that have the easy landings and it makes it difficult since many good lines here require toe ins.
After 6 days of blue bird in a row, which is not typical for AK. We needed a break, getting up at 5am and getting back to the room at 8pm drains on you physically and mentally. Half way through the blue days we had high winds. Making us change our plan and finding powder was tough. Finding these powder zones and then working them as much as possible, having this low valley snow this year help having pow in these areas. We now have been through 4 days of weather(down days) and not much hope in sight for blue days. 5 days left and we are hoping for windows of opportunity. Once we are done here I head up to Anchorage to film with TGR for 3 weeks in the Tordrillo’s. At this point many ski areas are closing down and people are thinking about the beach and warm weather. Not me, living the dream and wanting winter everyday. I want to thank Sean Dog and our guides Fishbone and Tom Burt. Till then, another story in the making.