There's never a bad day to be in Alaska. But recent days, in the summer sunshine, are nicer than the dark, rainy days of October for sure. Skippy and Yvonne invited me to go hiking with them in the mountains above Turnagain Arm on Saturday.
The nicest part of a hike in the mountains is the part when you get home... and your friend Deb invites you to gather up some skis and join her for a little skiing at Eagle Glacier the next morning. If you've been following this blog, you know that Deb is in the business of flying helicopters. So you know Skippy and I were desperately hoping Sunday would remain clear and sunny so we could fly up to the glacier and ski!
|Skippy's job was to hold the ski equipment in her lap. I don't think she minded.|
|The flight up to Eagle Glacier.|
|The scenery was nice.|
|Shane, our pilot, pointed out the ski trail that the coaches had groomed the night before for a week-long APU Elite Team training camp.|
|Landing at the Thomas Training Center beside Eagle Glacier. I spent a fair amount of time in this building in the 1990's and I can attest that after APU's improvements to the building, the living arrangements are a lot more plush and comfortable now than they were back then.|
|APU Head Coach Erik Flora and Deb Essex discuss logistics or strategy or something, while Skippy makes a beeline for the ski trails.|
|First day of the first ski camp of the summer - all smiles. Erik Packer, former Seawolf Sadie Bjornsen, and Rosie Brennan, ready to ski!|
|Here are the APU boys coming around for another seven kilometer lap.|
We sure appreciated Alpine Air and pilot Shane taking us skiing! The Chugach Mountains are mostly covered in snow and ice year-round, and seeing this country from a helicopter is like nothing else! And it was so generous of the athletes and coaches at APU to share their training trails with us for an couple of hours. I always feel really fortunate when I get a chance to ski a lap behind someone like Erik Packer or Sadie Bjornsen, and pleased with myself for being able to keep up, even if they're at super-easy training pace and I'm redlining at 20% above race pace.
But our weekend wasn't over yet. Skippy was finishing off a "volume week" of training and was looking for a nice long workout to finish things off. So after skiing, we drove a little farther south to the Kenai Peninsula to spend a few hours riding fifty miles on our bikes.
|The road to Hope.|
|The ocean. (and Skippy)|
The weekend was a success.