Daron Rahlves Blogs from Haines
Timing is critical on heli trips, especially April in AK. This year I nailed it. There’s nothing like getting off the plane and skiing next day. Out of two weeks we got 7 days filming with Matchstick. Hard to say I had enough, but it was so good when it was on. We had a good crew of three filmers, one still photog and two other athletes. I skied with Chris Davenport Aspen, CO and Henrik Windstedt Are, Sweden. It’s comforting in this terrain to be hanging around Dav. He has so much big mountain experience and good snow sense. I’m like the nerd at school up front in the first row when he digs snow pits to hear and see what he finds. That’s an essential part of the process. The more information you have always helps. No reason to put yourself in eminent danger with snow conditions. The runs are big enough to keep the pucker factor in the Red Zone. Henrik has a World Free Ski Title to his credit. He feels super confident in this terrain too. His creative look at terrain picks out some cool lines. We had a good mix of skills between the three of us that raised the game. Day one went off pretty big skiing west face of Tomahawk. Day two the level stepped up with two of Dav’s runs. Later that day he got spanked and tumbled down a chute that spit him out like a cannon. It was low tide in AK this year and rocks were everywhere. He dry docked on his third turn and it sent him for a ride. With a banged up knee from the impact he was done for the day. Then the weather came in. After four down days we got back in the field. Dav was back, but nursing a sore knee. It was not a day you’d want to give up. We skied the deepest blower pow after that reset. It was rolling over my head and sloughing like mad. One run sticks out from the trip. Named it “White Out”. Henrik and I both wanted to ski it, but weren’t sure from our barbie angle if the spine was wide enough. We decided to take a closer look from the heli on the way up. Now we could see that it was manageable. Decision time. Rocks, paper and scissors was the way we played it. Two throws and I took it with a fat smile on my face. ha,ha,ha On top I could see 200 feet then it rolled over blind. I had it all in my head so now worries right. Not so easy. Anytime I’m skiing into a run blind it ups the sketch factor. The good thing is it raises the focus and makes me feel it more. Dropping in, the snow was perfect and I skied down the face onto the spine. I kept taking face shots and did my best not to get sucked over the skiers left side. I saw my line down the narrow spine which had a double step down pillow drop to an exit air. It was total comittment at that point. No room to turn just let the skis go. That run as I see it was…All time!!!