It was another banner week for PNH Tour Camp. While everyone’s fired up that it’s finally snowing in the zone after almost three straight weeks of a proper Rex Block, the sunny skies have allowed for the exploration Jeff Dostie and I have been dreaming about since the program started.
Of course we all love powder, and in AK, the “velvet” is arguably the most coveted snow to skiers and riders worldwide. But as ski tourers big stretches of clear weather supports going on bigger tours. High pressure in April allows us to take advantage of long daylight hours with confidence in a reasonably dependable forecast. Thanks to the Rex Block, we’ve been able to break in a host of new terrain over the past couple of weeks with this past week really being the one to open our eyes to how much incredible skiable terrain we have in our greater backyard.
The week kicked off with Chet (C3), Chet Jr. (C4) and Martin visiting us for the second time after being our first ever clients. They were joined by Philip from Switzerland, as well as Janie, Brint, Austin and Ben, who are all scattered around the lower 48. Seeking out localized powder was on the menu everyday for one crew, while a second crew sought out longer, bigger adventures.
By the end of the week the Tour Camp map changed. Double digit new lines were established and the boundaries we had been used to skiing expanded. We explored a new drainage where a lifetime’s worth of new ski descents were uncovered. A couple of linkups came together opening up the possibility to ski more aspects and even more peaks than Jeff and I ever thought possible. From ramps and spines, to couloirs and mellow bowls, just about every type of terrain one could ask for was seen and sampled. We’re well aware we have a special place and a great program going, but we just hadn’t grasped the true potential of our area until this massive period of pristine weather set in.
Even though it hasn’t snowed in weeks, there was more than enough powder to go around and great spring snow on E and S aspects all of last week. But on Friday the sky turned grey and clouds started forming. Precipitation began to fall lightly and is forecasted to ramp up through the week. We’re not banking on another sunny stretch like the one we just experienced, but we’re beyond stoked to have taken advantage of it while the window was open. We have a ton of new terrain to ski, but for now we’re looking forward to a quality reset, another new group, and our last week of the season. Stay tuned for the next update from PNH Tour Camp later this month and have fun enjoying the spring storms down south.
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Previous “State of the Backcountry” Reports from the 2013-2014 season: