Wednesday, December 16, 2009

South Face of Tincan Proper

Tom and I went out on Saturday. I spent the week on the North Slope where they are in the middle of 55 days of night. Nothing but a faint glow on the Southern horizon for a couple a hours. I needed sun and Anchorage was socked in with fog, but tales of an inversion had me thinking high alpine bluebird.

As we drove South the fog was showing signs of weakness. Just past Girdwood we broke out of it. We were above the fog, but not the cold. Hoar frost was pushing 2" at the trailhead. Good skiing now, but not after the next storm. As we climbed it warmed considerably. We gained the ridge and the sun peaked out from behind Sunburst. Sunrise: 1:00 PM. Better than nothing at all. We saw a steep face that we joked about skiing, but our perspective changed as we neared it and it looked good to go.
Tom set up low and I went for it. It sloughed pretty good. It was fun to be in the room where everything is moving. I did my best Mark Holbrook impression and was through the steeps.

By the time we reached the bottom of the gully, the sun had set on the upper ridge. Only about 2 hours of direct light on this shot in December, but we lucked out.

As we drove back the fog made for some amazing visuals against the unusually calm Turnagain Arm. The fog thickened and we knew that we had made the right choice to get out of A-Rage.
Thanks to Tom for the photos.
- David Chappellet

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tincan Proper & Todd's

The people that bitch loudest about snow are usually doing so from the couch.  If you can get over their dire predictions and your own doubts, you will never regret your decision to go out and play. 

The snow may not be epic, but it sure as hell beats hanging in the house.  I headed South to Turnagain expecting some low snow, low elevation storm skiing.  During the drive it became apparent that the storm had fizzled.  The flurries gave way to sun.  Time to change the plan.  How about some high elevation blue bird wind crust?  I decided on Todd's, the big ass slide path highly visible from the road. 

Todd's from the Seward Highway

I was the first one to the trailhead at 10:10 AM.  The folks in AK are not known for Alpine starts even when the sun rises mid-morning.  I started off skinning up towards Tincan.  Once I got above tree-line, I could see the trailhead was filling up.  I kept going at a medium pace.  At the top of Tincan Bowl there was about 3" of fresh and no one around; then a dog showed up. The poachers were closing in.  I was enjoying the solitude, so I continued out the ridge a little further. The views were amazing. 

Looking SW at Turnagain Pass and the Seward Highway

Looking NW at Eddie's and Turnagain Arm

Todd's being North-facing is completely in the shade until early March.  Sunshine is a rare commodity this time of year so I decided to play on the sun-soaked ridge for a while. Tincan Proper would be a worthy objective.  It looked spicy but doable.  I ditched the back-pack and skis and pushed on towards the top. I took my time, tried to stay on rock, wished for my ax, and eventually made it.  There are some amazing shots off if this peek: the South Face and the North Couloir are now on the list.  

Looking back at my route to Tincan Proper

While on the peak, two folks got to the top of Todd's and skied it.  I was secretly relieved not being forced to open that run solo.  Todd's starts in the high 30s and maintains its pitch for a good 1,500' before relaxing a bit in the form of an endless run-out.  Up top the snow was breakable but a little speed took care of that.  The snow was still a little scratchy but a little more speed took care of that. Then the snow was great and there was nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile. Unfortunately there are few options from the bottom of this schuss run.  

I tra-scended back to the car, and met the two skiers that had gone just before me: local legends Kathy and Eric the Viking.  They were telling me about all the epicness of last winter. It seems that they were able to ignore the people at home bitching about the volcano, high pressure, or something else.  They went out and played, and quietly proved them all wrong.

There's a lesson in there somewhere.


Friday, November 20, 2009

This is Bull!

Last Updated: Nov 20 at 7:20:06 AM

New 60 cm; 23"

24 Hours: 68 cm, 27"

48 Hours: 120 cm, 47"

7 Days: 304 cm, 119"

Snowbase 258 cm, 101"

Total cumulative snowfall
* Snow depths are measured at Pig Alley Weather Station - 1650m (Mid-Mountain) on Whistler Mtn.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Thunderbolt

The 75th anniversary classic.  We need some east coat representation.

I'm looking at you Hilson, Bickford, Slody.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Finally I put it in 4WD, skinned it, sent it, and skied back to the road.

Last week's dust on glacier left me empty and hollow.  It felt good at the time, but I knew it was lacking something.  Maybe it was that moment when Tom dropped the knee and his skis came out from under him revealing blue ice. Fortunately he was uninjured because the bolder field on the hike out looked eerily similar to "Touching the Void" and I figure Tom's at least as tough as Joe Simpson. 

A few days later the weather started to get interesting.  Something was getting fired up out in the Gulf of Alaska.  The tempest was angry. Then the winds picked up.  And then they picked up again.  50 mph for 36 hours with gusts to 80. It calmed. I got excited.  Who's with me?  Come on, I think it'll be good.  Nobody? 

The last 7 months had aged the mountains horribly.  They looked bad and were beginning to suffer from hypertension, poor circulation, athlete's foot, and black lung.  So I sent them to a day spa.  Steam room, whale songs, mud-mask, yoga, yerba, massage, and all sorts of other hippie bullshit.  The treatment was a success!

The Kenai Mountain turned heads as they showed off their 4,000' sky to sea faces.  

The Tordrillo's were back to their former glory. 

Redoubt came into view: well rested and no sign of ill temper.  Even the Chugach, that tough old broad, was looking pretty good this morning.  

If the 3" base at the trailhead didn't bring me back to reality, the heavy fog did.   But I wasn't about to let common sense stop me.  Sure, I'll cross that thin ice. Yeah, I'll skin up that narrow ravine with flowing water. What's that you say? The mash potatoes are giving way to a death crust? Sign me up! And up I went, and the fog thinned, and the crust thinned, and the base grew and grew, and before long I was back in Winterland.  

I stayed up high as long as my legs would allow.  High speed compressions, rollers, and big turns. Just say no to squiggles, Alaska. The light was good, the pitch was right, and the snow was super-hero.  Lap after lap and not a thought regarding 1,800' of crust and creeks that separated the goods from the ride.  But I did have to descend. Conditions deteriorated with each turn. That root grind into switch butter granite wasn't styly at all; it was just plain ugly.  I road that junkshow right into the swamp below the road.  The skis took a vicious beating, but like the old saying goes, "Pride cometh before the edges."

You would have done the same.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Like Backcountry Skiing?`

Envision Utah is preparing to present the results of the survey held last spring for the Wasatch Canyons Master Plan and a set of possible scenarios projecting different development management policies and guidelines and their impact on the canyons. Scenarios range from resource protection at all costs to facilitating development at any cost. My impression from seeing a draft of the presentation is that backcountry skiers may not have had much input to this process so far and that backcountry terrain and access is at risk.
The presentations will be made and public comments collected at 4 open house meetings:

  • Wednesday Nov 4 6:30-8:00 pm: Skyline High School Cafeteria, 3251 East 3760 South
  • Wednesday Nov 4 6:30-8:00 pm: Sandy City Hall 2nd Foor multi-purpose room , 10000 Centennial Parkway, Sandy
  • Thursday Nov 5 6:30-8:00 pm: West High School Commons Area, 241 North 300 West
  • Thursday Nov 5 6:30-8:00 pm: West Jordan High School Media Center, 8136 South 2700 West , West Jordan.

Many options are on the table, including different ways of mitigating traffic, different levels of ski area expansion outside of existing boundaries, canyon-to-canyon lifts, requiring permits for backcountry users, reducing the amount of legal trailhead parking in the canyons, and more. If you care about the level of dispersed backcountry access in the canyons and the amount of terrain available to backcountry users, it would be a really good idea to attend one of those meetings or get a copy of the material presented and make your desires known. From their announcement: The Wasatch Canyons Tomorrow process is your opportunity to help update Salt Lake County’s 1989 Wasatch Canyons Master Plan. This plan guides land-use policy for City Creek, Emigration, Red Butte, Parleys, Millcreek, Big Cottonwood, and Little Cottonwood Canyons. With the doubling of the county’s population in the next 30 years, Wasatch Canyons Tomorrow will strive to ensure the long-term health of these treasured canyons, balancing land-use, transportation, and environmental concerns. If you cannot attend an open house, complete the important on-line survey at Tell a friend!!!

I just did the survey because I'm not in Salt Lake and cannot make the meeting and voice myself. You know my opinion and I know yours. Get involved and give a shit. Show up or do the survey please. It kind of seems inevitable that we will get shafted as backcountry skiers and yes snowboarders (sorry Keith). But giving your opinion might help?!?!?? What it comes down to is money. Expansion of the lifts will give Utah more jobs and more money in return. But fuck that!!!! Seems like another Denver in the making? Just the thought of a lift up Flagstaff or some other place or more beaters make me puke in my mouth and wish I could spit that shit in that asshole Shaaareeef's face who won't leave the boyz alone. That fucktard. He's a fucking pickle smooching twitter'erer. See ya'll soon.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Twitter is gay as hell.  But if you must know...
Tom is wasting away to SARS
We skied the Jewell Glacier
Michael Jackson...still dead

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Going out to Greet Her

Skiing year round for two years at least once a month hasn't been easy in utah, I would have given it up in the middle of the summer this year if I didn't have the fate of meeting Micah up on the east glacier of Timpanogoos last september.  I haven't met anyone who enjoys skiing year round as much as him. I started for bragging rights, ego, and to prove who was the most hardcore skier of our crew, all of those motivations lose their steam, but not Micah's he just enjoys it.  It's because of his eternal pysch and tireless love of skiing on Timpanogoos that I managed to draft off his motivation to ski every month of this season (some critics don't count a snowboard descent as skiing year round, since I almost died I say f--k critics.) Watching the mountains lose their snow slowly throughout the summer to gain it back inch by inch in the fall is unique.  For a skier to never let skiing in mountains out of his or her mind teaches you something that you can only learn by experiencing.  After skiing the shittiest conditions in August, the glacier looked liked the surface of the moon after NASA luanched the rocket at it, I was willing to wait and hope for some early snow to make september better and so was Micah.  When I got the call from Micah in the last week of september saying "Our september snow prayers have been answered." I got excited for the possibility of schussing across some fresh new snow surfaces and decided to make a little trip out of it.  Packed up the winter tent and gear and started to make the all too familiar slog up aspen grove the eve before the storm was gonna hit. 

The man, the myth, the legend, no skis on his pack because he stashes them there all summer. 

Warm before the storm, thankful to be hiking at night, not too pysched on how heavy the pack is.
Waking up to fresh snow falling, get giddy about powder possibililities, thankful to have brought the tent, the old Hut isn't what it used to be. 
 Micah storm skiing on the last day of september, new surfy snow, between the dark grey old glacier snow, great vis.
Over the second night the wind picked up and the temps dropped sucking the moisture out of the snow provided some nice powder turns and of course utah bluebird. 
I stayed up a second night while Micah hiked down to work. He returned the next morning with Stefan.  After 12 hours plus of sleep I was eager to get out of the tent early. Remembering, that Stefan and Micah were hiking up I deployed some old school powder ethics for my first laps of October.
Stefan making his first powder turns of the year he didn't rust too much over the summer.

Finishing up in the foliage of Aspen grove.  The last half mile of the aspen grove hike sucked because it's paved, but the colors were nice.  Micah was tired after hiking up and down for two consecutive days . . . animal.  If you're a year round skier in Utah then you probably ski on the east glacier of Timp, getting there is easy take I-15 south from SLC exit 272 for Provo Canyon then take the Sundance exit drive up the canyon past Sundance ski area on your left is Aspen Grove parking area and trail head.  The glacier sits between the central and south summit towers and as far as I know, it is the only snow you can find year round. Everyone feels old winter creeping in: ominous text messages from Uncle Keith in Alaska proclaiming "Get ready it's coming," hearing Shreddy ranting around the bon fire, Jon Fay sussing Main Chute, false advertisements in ski movies. It's all exciting so get ready to greet her when she comes. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sussing Mission

No promising leads in South Carolina.  Remember to conserve soil and water.
-Dr. Yinsen

Monday, October 5, 2009


P.S. Here is a photo The Andrew McLean took of myself in the choke. Nothing like a skierboy sussing a legend.

Imagine your 25th birthday, October 5th, 2009 15 inches on top of an old 12 in alta. Then imagine deciding to ski off the summit of alta on one of its most recognizeable runs. MAIN CHUTE. Yes this is the northern hemisphere, yes this is oct 5, 2009. Yes it was as good as it looks.

met up with robby for some punch bowl laps. smooth and delicious.
second punch bowl lap brought a little confidence to milk like a vermont dairy farmer once again. HOLLYWOOD OUT OCT 5, 2009 hope the other boyz had a great day in unbelievealbe alta as well.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


find the most beautiful spot on the mountain, adjust the aperature, and send a turn, perferably one slash to make it look more epic than it is. the mountains utters are always out waiting to be milked so be like a vermont farmer and get that milk for cabot to make cheeseeeeeeeeeee

Sunday, September 27, 2009

News Flash

Monday evening the wind kicked up and blew the clouds off the mountains above Anchorage: termination dust. Throughout the week the snow-line crept down. 3,000'. 2,000'.  Flurries at 500' by Saturday.  

Typically this is when we head up Archangel Road to the Lane Glacier. Well the state closed the road early this year. Balls. Plan B: meadow skipping and rock tagging at Hatcher Pass. It wasn't pretty but it was soft and fresh and it's only going to get better.

Get some fresh batteries in your beacons because it's on.

The Turk

the chugach from the talkeetna mountains 
i skied above this where there was quite a bit more snow

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Good Old Days

A short film featuring Purple Explosiv Beattie

Absinthe, knife-hits, bonus check mistakes, wave of the future, and shame spirals

Get psyched for the winter

Monday, September 7, 2009

The gathering began to flow in late night with round after round of bottle rockets. Once the select group settled the whiskey began to flow freeely along with the complaints of GOSB and a frightening idea that they may stand in our way on the skinner but on top Skier Boyz remain FREE.

The roars were loud at night but silenced by morning. Only the Picas voice of complaint remain. Empty whiskey bottles and bottled rockets littered a once beautiful meadow that had never seen a gather like so. 

Sending was the main reason for such a gathering and sending was what happened to almost every aspect of the loniest of lone boyz. the one and only lone peak cirque.

The silenced roar of buffaloes, squirrels and unidentified species  where heard amongst the gathering and all knew the friendship was only getting deeper as the whiskey dropped like a Mancross on a slope needed to torn apart.

This day was written in history through this blog and will be remembered for ever!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dylan in the Euros

Found this Mancross video while surfing the world wide web while doing the twitter on my Palm Pilot.

Get ready.  Winter is coming.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ptarmigan Couloir, AK: August 3

Shut down this ash laden junkshow.  Was August good?  No. Absolutely not. Was it worth it? Debatable.  08/09 is over.  12 consecutive months of meadow skipping, face shots, core shots, slides, sloughs, bad ideas, planes, trains, and automobiles. Board it up,  put up the "No Trespassing" signs, put a padlock on the door.

The warm sunny summer combined with Reboubt's hiccups has certainly melted any snow that has fallen in the last year.  What is left is old snow. How old?  2 years? A decade?  I don't know, but what remains is garbage.  I knew this going in.  The only question was: How bad? 

I rolled into the Glen Alps Trailhead above Anchorage just before noon.   The plan was to bike 5 miles of dirt road (The Power Line Trail), stash the bike, and hike the 1,000' or so vert to the bottom of the snow.   Temps were in the high 60's and rising.  No clouds, no wind.  A perfect day for a bad idea. 

Glen Alps is the most popular trailhead in the state and there was no shortage of fanny packers shooting me strange looks as I started unloading all the gear necessary for this ill conceived triathlon.    "Are you going skiing?"  "Is there any snow?"  All fair questions given the circumstances.  But I had the inside track.  From the baseball field near my house I could just barely make out one solitary sliver of snow in the entire front range.  It looked continuous.  It was worth a shot.  Biking the Power Line Trail along the South Fork of Campbell Creek the sliver came into view.  Ashy and thin, but doable.  With the bike stashed, I climbed the steep slope to the bottom of the snow.  As I climbed Foraker came into view, then Hunter and Denali. 

The Alaska Range over Anchorage

The snow made for easy booting.  I felt comfortable only kicking in about 1".  As I climbed the couloir steepened and the snow became more firm.   I felt stupid for leaving the ax at home. Eventually the snow petered out roughly 200' vert below the ridge.  Good enough.  Let's get this over.  Click.  Click.  

"Good afternoon snow enthusiasts .   Today in the Ptarmigan Couloir you will find excellent skiing and riding with a 0 to 72" base.  Today's snow conditions are mostly bullet proof decades old snow with large sun cups and inverted ice runnels.  Watch out for rocks that have been falling into this gully since the last ice age.  Use extra caution because the 1/2" of ash mud makes detecting these rocks impossible.  So come on up and enjoy the best skiing in the Anchorage bowl."

So with the question of "How bad" finally answered and August in my back pocket I can take 08/09 out back and give it the mercy killing it deserves.  

El Guapo

P.S.  I got a job working as a Corrosion Engineer for the state.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Long Bike Ride

Corn skiing conditions on the Cascade Volcanoes eventually turned to summer glacier conditions so I decided it would be cool to do something other than read guidebooks and dream about future skiing. For this reason, I decided it would be a good idea to go on a nice long bike ride. Lehua was planning on riding from Portland Oregon to Tijuana Mexico along the Pacific Coast. About a 1,600 mile ride. I figured this was about the length of the long bike ride I was looking for, so I decided to go and see how a Boyz GOSB collaboration epic would go. I initially thought I was going to start in Portland on the 8th and ride to San Fran in order to fly back for work on the 22nd. I found out along the way that I didn't need to be back for work until the 3rd of August, so thus committed to ride at least to Los Angeles. In short, we rode along the coast for about 60 miles a day, camping at state park beach campgrounds along the way. I towed a bob trailer behind my bike, carrying our clothes, tent, sleeping bags and Lehua had panniers on her bike carrying day use items, rain gear, cooking gear, etc. The weather was cold and damp, to the point that your really never got warm. Along the way, I got to see almost the entire Oregon Coast, amazing Redwood Forests and agricultural land in Humboldt County, rode over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco and was amazed when I learned first hand that Santa Cruz really wasn't that cool of a town. I planned to be in Los Angeles this weekend to box up my bike and head to work. That was my belief at least, until last Sunday when I broke the frame of my brand new steel frame bike in Monterrey. Learned first hand that too much gear in a bob trailer for 1200 or so miles will break a frame. Decided to call it good, 320 miles from my goal of Los Angeles and take a train home to Salt Lake for work. Lehua is riding on solo, into Big Sur with the goal of making a wedding in San Diego later next week. Adam M. Lawton

Friday, July 3, 2009

Archangel Valley, AK: July 2, 2009

Back in April, I lamented that the ash would ruin the summer skiing.  I felt my consecutive months streak would be in jeopardy.  I considered finishing my season after the Valdez trip, but Dylan convinced me otherwise.  Just keep it going was the gist of it.  So I did.  I found good snow through May and June.  I found bad snow through May and June.  I also found some half decent snow in July.  

I got up early and made the 90 minute drive to Archangel Valley in the Talkeetna Mountains.  The dirt road leading to the Reed Lake trailhead is notoriously bad.  So once I got off the pavement, I had to keep the Jeep at about 45 mph to fly over the deep potholes and through the ruts.  The suspension is shot but stiff.  It rides like a dream this morning.  I am completely out of control.  At every corner the vehicle "skips/bounces" towards the outside of the road.  It's OK because I have my lights on for safety.   

I arrive at the trailhead in record time.  Upper Reed Lake is about 5 miles up the trail and it is the bottom of the schuss run.  The trail is mellow as it follows a creek up the valley.  The trail is slick as rain soaked clay conspires against me.  The trail is fun as it disappears into a maze of car-sized boulders.  Whistle pigs greet my arrival into the upper valley.  Lower Reed Lake is a glacier blue/green.  I follow the creek up past waterfalls to Upper Reed.  There is still ice covering about 25% of the lake.  Here my adventure starts.  

Bluebird.  I hike up scree along side of the snow.  Sweat stings my eyes and coats the inside of my Smiths.  I can see the entire run.  Garmonts on and commence booting.  It goes quick and soon I am at the pass looking over several glaciers covered with ash and snow.  Upper Reed Lake is far below still showing the the final evidence of a harsh winter.

There are some clouds building but I am in no rush.  A Clifbar, some water.  Man, those clouds are building quick.  A front is pushing up the Bomber Glacier.  There is a very sharp line in the sky delineating blue from black.  And it is coming my way.  Now I'm rushing.  ("You can see Russia from here!")  I hurry down the slope.  Recent snow over the ash makes for fine skiing but the white gets less continuous.  The ash slows me down.  Then the thunder.  The thunder that starts behind you and circles all around you 2 or 3 times.  Echoing off the steep walls of the mountains surrounding you.  There isn't supposed to be weather like this in AK.  I guess no one told the storm.  Now even the ash laden snow gives way to rocks.  There are some ribbons that go lower.  I milk it low.  Real low.  The absurdity of the situation is not lost and I smile.  More swirling thunder.  Shit!  I transition into to hiking garb and work my way around the lake and back to the trail.  The thunder engulfs the valley and the winds pick up.  All of the metal in this entire valley now is residing on back and in my hands.  Hustle.

Thunder, rain.  A hard rail.  A hard hail.  Small hail, larger hail.  I can feel the hail hitting my hood.  Thunder.  Now lightening.  Hail.  Rain.  Wind.  Hustle.
"Nothing's gonna happen."  The Skier Boyz mantra calms me.  The storm is moving into the next valley.  "Nothing's gonna happen."  The black skies are now gray.  Thunder looms, but now in the distance.  A trace a blue.  Far off thunder.  "Nothing's gonna happen."  

Month #21 was an adventure, but they all are to some extent.  I am have my doubts about August, but I had my doubts about May, June, and July.  I suspect that I will take Dylan's advice and "just keep it going."  And after August, it all starts again with late September face shots.  


Monday, June 29, 2009


The butterfly sits on mt superior and is the last snow to melt out due to the two couloirs above it constantly shedding snow into there. I wanted to ski it last year but i was too lazy, so i went up this year.
cool shot of suicide chute, two folks were hiking it then skied it as i was going up.
water flowing on the south face, pretty awesome. my route was up the apron, hit the rock band to the lookers right of the bottom waterfall, follow that straight up next to the waterflow and hit the butterfly, you can see it way up there
skied each wing of the butterfly then down the middle, then i put my hiking boots back on and traversed over from the bottom of the butterfly to about halfway up suicide chute, topped out, skied suicide which was the deffenition of sub par skiing and hiked down the waterfall then fell down part of the waterfall at the bottom of suicide and put my skis back on and avoided inevitable landmines of jagged rocks littered through out the bottom apron. cool ski in a wild location this time of the year.
the turns in the butterfly, if you click it you can actually see them twas a day well spent. hwood lets get a crew up baldy for some july skiing wedensday!

Mt. Shasta, CA

On June 19th Josh Boyd and I made a 24 hr. push from SLC, UT to climb and ski Mount Shasta. Arriving at the Brewer creek trail head at 2 a.m., after a 12 hour drive we slept for two hours then got on the mountain to experience an epic day. It wasn't too bad because we were excited to be in CA and on this mammoth volcano, the second largest in the U.S, 14,140 ft. Todd Glew, who works on the mountain as a guide and road dog met us for the climb and ski. I am almost positive that this is the first time three buffalos from Beverly, MA had stood on top of this volcano together. Our route was the Wintun-Holtum on the north side of the mountain.

The Buffaloes begin their 7,000 ft. climb and a 6,000 ft. descent on magical Mt. Shasta.

Boyd gazes at our line and the summit above in a cloud

It was not a very difficult ascent, but the weather made it interesting, check out the huge clouds below. Typical volcano conditions.

Boyd and Glew a few hundred feet below he summit. This is where the buffaloes caught up to everyone who stayed on the mountain overnight and reached the summit first.

Buffaloes love to roam on top of big mountains!

The Glewstick carving some killer corn con cigarette.
Skiing towards the bottom we were in and out of a foggy haze. Was it the crippler or Shasta?

New Alpiner Boyd fixing the heel and fixing his problems.

The last stretch of snow before we had to hike down.

After skiing Shasta we went to the coast, climbed on the beach and Relaxed with the Arcata locals. I love California. Jake F.