Monday, March 15, 2010

Arctic Valley Ski

We drove up to Alpenglow ski area on Saturday hoping to enjoy some of the new powder that fell last week. Alpenglow is the all volunteer run backcountry ski area that is a fifteen minute drive from our house. It's only open on the weekends so if it snows during the week, the powder stays untouched until the lifts start running Saturday morning. The first winter we lived in a Alaska I used to volunteer at Alpenglow for two hours taking tickets or serving food in exchange for a free lift ticket. It's where I really learned to ski.

We were greeted by about a hundred people in line at the one lift that was running, and saw that half of the powder was already skied up. So we slapped on our skins and bypassed the lift lines. We skinned up the valley in between two peaks. Mount Gordon Lyon and Rendezvous Mountain.

We headed left up Mount Gordon Lyon first. This was actually a new peak for me and standing up on the tippy top of this peak got me excited for spring peak bagging. Only standing on the very top of a peak, with no obstructions on a perfectly clear day can you begin to understand fully why climbers have an obsessive need to always get to the top.

It's here where you can see around yourself in every direction for hundreds of miles, with nothing blocking your view. I wanted to stay up here all day...

But Brian yelled, "I'm ready to ski!" from down below so I figured I better get going.

After skiing down, we decided to start up the other side to Rendezvous where we spotted a sea of untouched powder. Others skiers in the area quickly caught on as the side of Rendezvous became tracked.

Then it was back up Gordon Lyon for one last run. Some day this summer I would like to make this into a loop run. Start at the parking lot, then head straight up Gordon Lyon, along the ridge and then down to the saddle that leads to Rendezvous. Then run up Rendezvous and down the other side back to the parking lot. It would make for a nice after work hike/run.

As much fun as I have had on the bike this season, it's really nice to be done with the long bike training hours and to start thinking about climbing and skiing again. This week we are scrambling to get everything packed for our trip up to Fairbanks. Six days until the race!


Anonymous said...

Pristine snow....beautiful photos! Haven't gone skiing in years, not since Dear Husband blew out his knee in deep powder. The next year, we tossed a towel over our shoulders and headed for the beach, instead. But I remember the sun, the peaks, the quiet, and that feeling of being up there on top of the world. (The Rockies.)


Notorious T said...

Nice pics -- especially the sixth one.

The Old Bag said...

beautiful shots!