Saturday, April 27, 2013


There didn't seem to be much going on in Anchorage today so we grabbed our skis, piled in the van and road-tripped it an hour down the road to Portage Valley to see if we could rustle up some fun...
Viktor doesn't seem too optimistic.

If you click on this picture, it gets bigger and better. Our destination is Burns Glacier, in the center of the picture in the distance.

Portage Glacier - a short stop for a few pictures

Viktor, Erik Bjornsen, Lucky, Davis, and Pati.

Davis, Pati and Marine.
Andrew at the foot of Burns Glacier.
The group.

Marine and Pati on Burns Glacier, with Portage Glacier in the background.

Marine and Pati.

Lukas and Davis.

Lukas and Viktor.

Near the top of the glacier, it started getting a little soft...

...and windy. Here's Viktor trying to keep himself from being pushed over the top of the pass and into Blackstone Bay by the strong tailwind funneling through the pass. For a few moments, we thought we might lose Bente The Dog into Prince William Sound. We didn't stick around up there for long.  I don't think anyone said a word.  We looked around for a few seconds, tried to keep from getting blown over the edge, and got back down out of the wind ASAP.

Blackstone Bay in Prince William Sound.
On our way back across Portage Lake as it started to get cloudy.
Back at the car; a satisfied Coach K.
And a satisfied Lukas Ebner, too.  He must have set a personal record for least equipment broken during a ski outing - only one broken pole?! It doesn't seem possible!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On A Mission

Wondering why you haven't heard from the UAA head nordic ski coach in the past couple of weeks?  He's been busy in northwest Alaska. 
Check it out here:

Did Lasse get himself a GoPro?

Hooooooo man, Etienne is gonna be so jalouse!


It was snowing this morning when Lasse, Viktor, and Etienne let me join them for some ski training at Hillside:


Monday, April 22, 2013

Southeast Doubleheader

My job takes me to a lot of places that I really enjoy traveling to.  Yakutat and Cordova are two of those places.  Checking the weather, wave, and snow forecast on the internet in the days leading up to my trip, I wondered if this was going to be the trip where I would be able to surf and ski on the same day.  Things were looking good, so I brought along my wetsuit and my skis.
The Fairweather Range near Juneau.

The combination of long, pristine, golden sandy beaches and the Bagley Icefield is a pretty unique combination.

Yakutat got a lot of snow this winter.  I'm not sure that's gonna melt this summer.

I got all my work done in Yakutat by Thursday evening.  I'd optimistically left Friday open for a surfing session in the morning before getting on the plane for a quick trip to Cordova and a ski session in the afternoon.  Would it work out?  The weather was looking promising.  Here's Mount St. Elias from the window of my room, rising straight up out of the ocean near Yakutat to 18,008 feet - one of the biggest mountains anywhere.

Loading out of the van in the early morning at the beach.

Those waves are bigger than you think - unless you think they're 3 feet high - in which case you're about right. But Bill Lucy lent me his "wavecatcher" board. That board will surf even the tiniest ripples - it was great!

When you go by yourself, you have to take your own pictures.  With the right wetsuit, it's really warm out there.  I had to occasionally let a little 38F seawater into my wetsuit to cool off.

I must have caught about 30 of those little waves in 90 minutes. It had been a great morning!!
I flew to Cordova around noon.  After getting a little work done at City Hall, my plan was to ski the back side of this mountain range.

The weather hadn't gotten any worse during the day...

You can ski right down to the ocean.



The Best Season

The Arctic to Indian trail is in good shape.

...and the weather couldn't be better.

The spruce grouse came out to greet Viktor at Kincaid Park last week.

The bird was a little more friendly than Viktor bargained for.

Sad to see Viktor go.

Alyeska Resort was one of several "places to be" last week.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bird is the Word

The week in pictures:
It snowed a lot last weekend so the we went ski touring at Kincaid Park.  Not many people go ski touring there.  But we do.

The next day it got sunny so we went backcountry skiing in the mountains.

The ski trails at Kincaid couldn't be better than they were this week.


Even the animals were friendly at Kincaid Park.  I guess this Spruce Hen was lonely.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spencer Glacier

Marine, Lukas, Elin and Viktor invited me to come along with them on a skate-ski trip to Spencer Glacier on Friday.  It was Elin's last weekend in Alaska before going back to Sweden after visiting her brother Viktor for the past twelve days.  It has been sunny and warm, and we'd heard that the snow had hardened up earlier than usual.

This team already has a Black Knight (Davis Dunlap) but we had a couple performances on Friday that were definitely Black Knight-worthy.  First of all, we didn't find out until late in our trip that Elin had blisters from her borrowed ski boots that were about the size of her feet. It wasn't until I saw her limping into Viktor's apartment that I realized that she could hardly walk. I guess Viktor comes from a pretty tough family! And no matter how much of Lukas' ski equipment broke, nothing would stop him from getting to the glacier and back.  First it was one of his poles: Lukas was practicing his Ninja moves on top of a small hill that he was defending from Viktor when a miscalculation sent the lower half of one of his ski poles flying through the air, halfway across the Placer River Valley.  And a little later, just about the time I was reminding Lukas that while it's OK to break ski poles, a broken ski out here makes for  a very long day, I heard a snap...

Marine.  Our destination is in the distance to the right, as far back as you can see.

Viktor and Elin.  We parked the car near that mountain directly behind them.

Skookum Valley.

No, this isn't when Lukas broke his pole.  He didn't need any help from Viktor for that.

Swimming, anyone?

Elin and Marine.  That's the train track behind them.  There's no road in this valley.
Adam, Viktor, Lucky and Marine.

Lukas and icebergs on Spencer Lake.

Spencer Glacier (and Lukas) in the distance.

Getting closer.

And closer.

Lucky looks less tall when standing next to a glacier.


No better place to be.

The ski definitely has something wrong with it.

Marine.  Skookum Valley.  Carpathian Peak in the background.