It’s been a charged start to the season at Points North Heli-Adventures Tour Camp! Here’s a photo essay on our first ten days camping and ski touring in a very special section of the Chugach Mountains.
It never gets old. It’s impossible. Visiting Alaska to ski in the Chugach Mountains is the highlight of any skier or riders season. For backcountry tourers visiting myself, Jeff Dostie and Wesley Thompson, our scene is based out of Cordova. Once you touch down and get a heli ride out to the zone everything makes sense.
Wesley’s brother Martin and our buddy Julian Hannah came out to lend a hand setting up camp this season. In just a few days we had our whole space dialed and it was time to asses the local snow. Here Jeff lays a few more arcs before pulling up to base. Just like the Chugach, skiing to your door in AK never gets old.
Our first night of camp we were treated to a brilliant display of the North Lights. Photo Credit: Wesley Thompson
Our first guests for the season-Jules, Andy, Adam, Brie, Kevin and Devon-enjoyed a little bit of everything we have to offer. Cold temps, high winds, bluebird skies, breathtaking views, and an 11 foot storm. You name it and they got it! Thankfully the crew were all amazing folks and we had a blast! Here the crew skins up the Simpson Glacier after a great day skiing deep in our zone.
Here the crew ascends one of our favorite lines- “Shakedown St,”
with Jeff Dostie enjoying the ski down,
and Adam finding some perfect steep skiing in “Mo’s Alley”-a fun couloir to link up after skiing “Shakedown”.
We found some interesting pillow lines while exploring this season,
and have been able to break in a few fun lines as well. Devon-shown here pulling the last little move to get to the top-named this one “Full Contact”. You can probably guess why. It’s great bowl skiing for the most part with a short, steep, narrow couloir at the top that adds a little extra fun factor.
On our last clear day of the Week 1 forecast Adam and Devon made the push to ski another line Jeff and I had been eyeing all week. With the long daylight hours, even in March, we can often make calls like this and ski past sunset. The almost full moon obviously helped. Since Adam dropped in first and was originally supposed to be in Bahrain on a deployment he decided to calls this one “Better than Bahrain”. After a long ski on the Simpson Glacier, tagging Shakedown, Mo’s and breaking in this one we were all pretty fired up!
We were also excited because this was supposed to be the last good day for a few and we used as much of the day as possible. The forecast was right. This is a shot of camp during the middle of a storm that buried our snow stake more than once. After waking up to more than 40″ new the first night the storm continued to pound leaving over 11 feet at camp.
I have to admit, living on the side of a mountain through the storm was pretty fun. I think everyone at camp would agree. Here Jeff attempts to find the bathroom.
Although keeping camp dug out was fun enough Jeff had a bit more fun breaking trail.
The skiing was other-worldly. Even though we had to stay close to camp for safety reasons during the storm our little “Home Knoll” was good enough for bottomless laps by everyone at camp. I know I’m having fun somewhere in this one. Photo Credit: Wesley Thompson
After the skies started to clear the heli’s came and snapped us from our dream. Here’s a parting shot of Devon living that dream. This crew really did get a little bit of everything and Jeff, Wes and I are looking forward to catching up with them in the near future.
What a way to break in the season! Our next crew spanned Sweden, Australia, Virginia and Tahoe. Although storms were tough to negotiate early on this crew scored the highest quality snow we’ve skied up here since last season. I’m still sorting through those shots and getting ready to head out with our new crew that just arrived from Canada for Week 3. We’re looking at a pretty clear weather trend, hoping for the best, and stoked to get back out there!
“State of the Backcountry” is sponsored by Alpenglow Sports. Established in 1979, Alpenglow Sports is Tahoe City’s original mountain shop. Specializing in backcountry and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, trail running, backpacking, hiking, camping, and the mountain lifestyle apparel, Alpenglow is always psyched to offer premier user-based customer service.
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Previous “State of the Tahoe Backcountry” Reports from the 2012-2013 season: