Last week I had the great fortune of spending a week with Points North’s Heli-Assisted Ski Touring Program in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska. When we arrived there was over 2 feet of fresh that had fallen over a few days and nothing but high pressure for the foreseeable future. We had great snow, clear skies and stability. So on day 1 when our guide Brennan Lagasse asked if we wanted to do some exploration into zones that had not yet been skied, it was easy to say yes. The Line of the Week !! – Tweezer Couloir | Unofficial Networks

The Line of the Week !! – Tweezer Couloir

The Line of the Week !! – Tweezer Couloir

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The Line of the Week !! – Tweezer Couloir

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View of Cordova Peak from camp

The Line of the Week

Point’s North Touring Camp – Chugach Mountains, Alaska

Tweezer Couloir

Last week I had the great fortune of spending a week with Points North’s Heli-Assisted Ski Touring Program in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska.  When we arrived there was over 2 feet of fresh that had fallen over a few days and nothing but high pressure for the foreseeable future.  We had great snow, clear skies and stability.  So on day 1 when our guide Brennan Lagasse asked if we wanted to do some exploration into zones that had not yet been skied, it was easy to say yes.

Point's North Touring Base Camp

Tweezer Couloir

The group consisted of Sam Petri and David Stubbs (from TGR), Brennan, Atha Mansoory,  and myself.  As we descended the ridge separating the Simpson Glacier from the zone we were headed, a drainage that ends at the sea, our objective came into view.  The line spotted by our guides, drops 1000 feet from a summit ridge with a large dark tower standing over it. Walled up, it got increasingly narrower and increasingly steeper as we got higher. It was a thrill to set off up the apron knowing that this line was ready to go. It had great snow quality and no one had ever stepped foot on it. We skinned up to the couloir proper and changed over there. The snow to lookers right was perfect for booting – soft enough to get a good foothold but firm enough to move through it quickly.  Until about ¾ of the way up when the snow got softer and deeper, the pitch got steeper and the line got narrower.  While I waited for Brennan to work through the steep and deep I had a rare few minutes to take in the surroundings.  Those moments will forever be etched into my mind. There was a familiar feeling of being perched high on a mountainside within the walls of a beautiful line, but for the first time in my life it was in the Chugach, in a line that had never seen human footsteps or ski tracks before.  After some significant excavating by Brennan, who was basically swimming uphill to put the boot pack in the last section, we stood atop the line with just enough room for the four of us to dig out small platforms for a change over.

First ascent of Tweezer Couloir

The whole face the line drops through is north facing, dark and cold. It felt as if we had stepped into the freezer, preserving the perfect Chugach powder for us.  Luckily for me I was given the green light to drop in first and was fired up! I had stared at this perfect panel of untouched steep cold powder on the way up and it was my turn to put turns on them first. Per Bren’s instructions I made one ski cut out to the rider’s right. The top few inches sluffed but the face held. A good hop turn around and there it was, that amazing feeling of a perfect turn on a steep perfect pitch. The next 4 or 5 turns are logged into the “will not forget” department of my brain – they’re the reason I came to the Chugach – steep turns on grippy cold snow. As I came off that top pitch things opened up a bit and the pitch eased so you could make more flowing turns.  Sluff continued to come down around me but it was manageable and the snow remained absolutely perfect.  As I came out onto the bottom apron I spotted the safety zone we had discussed and ducked into it ready to watch Sam, David, Atha and finally Brennan drop into the freezer for their own perfect powder turns. After that all that remained was a euphoric walk home, up the Simpson glacier, with perfect evening light and 4 more days of epic Chugach powder skiing.

Story by Jeremy Frumkin

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The Line of the Week is a weekly photo piece by Ryan Salm featuring some of Tahoe’s finest athletes doing whatever we deem rad. We will be using the term “Line” loosely to describe anything resembling chutes, big airs, pointers or any general madness. All images are the property and copyright of Ryan Salm Photography. All images are only to be used in conjunction with the Line of the Week. Any other usage must be cleared in writing by Ryan Salm.

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