Today was one of those days that remind us why we moved to Girdwood, Alaska, and why we are so glad we did. We had a free day to ski (Ron has those kinds of days almost every day) and the sun was shining so we headed to Turnagain Pass for some backcountry adventures. Now you have to know that we have had just tons of precipitation over the last couple weeks, most of it coming as rain in Girdwood. So we had become accustomed to the grey drizzly weather. Today was a whole different story! The sun has finally risen high enough in the sky, giving us longer days, warmth and a reminder that we have made it through another Alaskan winter. The sky was that perfect deep blue, with just a couple wispy clouds. The mountains had just received a fresh coating of snow on top of the seven or eight feet of snow that buried them the last couple weeks. As we looked around, the pristine white mountain peaks formed an elegant crown around our sparkling trail up Sunburst Mountain. The early birds had already completed two laps and were back at the car. Gazing up the hill we could see their perfect serpentine turns.
There were probably 25 other skiers out today on Sunburst, which is a lot for a Wednesday afternoon in Alaska. To us this almost seemed crowded, though there were just a couple small groups dotting the mountainside. The avalanche warning center had downgraded the risk from high or considerable to moderate for the day, so that made me feel a bit more confident.
Of course, it was lots of work hiking up the mountain with our skins on, but the beauty around us was invigorating and helped me to push higher and further back toward Taylor Pass. We did not make it as far as Ron would have liked, but it was a glorious day and all that was left was the ski down. I had anticipated some soft powder, with the new layer of snow, but to me the conditions were a bit tough for perfect carved turns. I had to settle for some big wide traversing turns, but still lots of fun. A great day! But Ron wasn’t done yet. When we got home he donned his Alyeska ski gear and headed out for a few more turns on that mountain. Bring on the sun…it is so energizing!