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Chasing Winter: Alaska on a Whim

Posted on 01 November 2015

In April, just as the wondrous Vermont spring corn season came to a close, I took a leap of faith, and climbed aboard an all-boys trip to Alaska. Vermont had been good, perhaps too good, leaving me with an insatiable craving for powder skiing. With ski coaching winding down for the season, spontaneity got the best of me.  And that first hot-tub conversation led to our arrival in Alaska! 

For a week, 3 tents and a snow cave provided sleeping quarters, food storage, and cooking space on the glacier. Time indoors was limited of course, as Tad, Erick, Caleb, Pete and I took lap after lap skinning, bootpacking, and arcing down beautiful, white spines.


Winter bush planes feature skis that descend beneath the plane’s wheels for landing on snow. Here, our fearless pilot, Henry, skates to a landing with ease. 

Just like the fast moving rivers we see when hiking, the movement on the edges of the glacier is faster and more tumultuous than the center, creating large crevasses.


Here Caleb and I rope up to cross the first cravasse terrain to head up for some turns.
The Floral Fiesta Nordic Headband. 

Its hard to tell what is better, the majestic mountain views or the feeling of carving through soft powder.
After miles of skinning and boot packing, food was constantly on my mind.  Here we're thinking about our dinner – burritos filled with deliciousness.

With a background like this, it's hard not to be psyched!  |  The Dash Knit in Heather.

 Time on the glacier flew by and soon I was back in civilization taking hot showers, sleeping in warm beds (sleeping in the snow is cold!)... It was a quick stint, but that one that stands out in my memory as all-time experiences:  camping, skiing, and fully absorbing the company of friends.  Although nervous at first, I'm so glad I went with my gut.

Words by Katy Kirkpatrick  •  Photography on 35mm film by Thaddeus Cook.

 

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