Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Valdez, Alaska April 20. First day splitboarding

Jesse and I met up with our old friend Chad Colby. Chad used to work
with me for my Dad at Snowfrog back in the day. He's Rad Chad!
Anyhow Chad is a heli guide for Valdez Heli Camp. He set us up with
a place to park the van and a few extra amenities. We awoke the
Morning of 4/20 to blue bird skys, as the rain clouds had cleared. We
rallied up to the top of the Pass and picked our zone at 1900'. It
had rained to about 5000 feet and got cold that night. So conditions
down low were brutal ice. We spotted a skin track that someone had
set a few days before when it was soft snow. Followed the track for
500 vert until we discovered a snow shoer had walked up the skin
track. Now the track had turned to complete ice and it made for
aggravating skinning. We found out that skinning straight up the
slope was better then following this trail or attempting to side
hill. I have never skinned straight up something so steep in my life
(more photos coming soon as we need to find a camera cable.).

So we got up to about 3,500 feet at the base of the Cracked Ice
Glacier. We had our zone picked out and were approaching when a Heli
came in. Landed on the summit, and 5 guys got out. They all skied
down the face that we had been looking at. DAMN! We had been
skeptical if it was going to turn into a breakable crust and seeing
them ski down was reassuring that there was great snow up high. When
they got to the bottom of the pitch their guide took off and skied
out to the road and the rest of the skiers started skinning back up
there descent tracks. At least they put in the skin track for us.

We made it to the top of Cracked Ice Peak 6,600. Check the shot of
Jesse Person dropping in. It was a sweet 5,000 back to the car. Nice
powder on top that turned into a light breakable crust that made for
fun high speed turns. The bottom section had softened up enough to
put an edge into it and made for the smoothest natural groomers ever.

The scenic views around Valdez are so inspiring. In one day it has
become my favorite place to snowboard so far. A personal Helicopter
would be helpful. Or maybe a JET PACK.

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