Monday, July 4, 2011

Ptarmigan Tarn Snowfield: July 3

While most of us have already packed up the skis for the year, there are 2 AK locals who just got Day 1 of the 10/11 season. No, this isn't some Southern hemisphere brain teaser. Nor is it due to injury or laziness or some other transgression.

Daisy, a.k.a. Noodler II, and Finn got their 1st turns of the season and of their lives over this long holiday weekend. This was despite a low snow year and bears abound.

Finn (age: 249 days) and Touring Partner Daisy (age: 266 days)

Daisy and Finn are starting "the game" early. And like so many of our friends, they made DB Noodler carry their equipment. Not content with the free equipment haul, Daisy and Finn insisted that their respective handlers physically carry them to this high snow field. The young princess sussed the mountainside from the back of her NooNoo, and signaled when an acceptable slope came into view.

Daisy Dropping In....

The young schussers were unable to verbalize a proper conditions report, but as the video demonstrates: it was the best ski day of Daisy's life.

Todd's: July 3

On a recent trip to Seward, I noticed Todd's on Tincan Ridge was looking surprisingly good. Sunday would be judgment day and at the crack of noon, I was off.

Todd's from the Highway

Roadside snow is long gone, so I had mentally prepared for a punishing bushwhack. But lo, what light through yonder window breaks? A trail. ¡No mierda!


The summer trail avoids all bushwhacking and generally follows the winter skinner until reaching the tundra. I was able to skirt the snow fields until the final ridge to Tincan Common. Even then, the snow hiking was short lived. After a leisurely 2-hour walk, I was looking down Todd's. My feet were shocked when they were shoved unceremoniously into their dark plastic dungeons. But that was their problem, not mine.

Still Plenty of Snow Up High

The snow was soft and tempted me to let 'em run. I attempted to oblige, but large sun-cups dictated a more conservative strategy. The snow was fun and super carvy when speeds were in the reasonable range. After a quick 1,700' vert, the Atomics lunged into a trademarked high-speed tundra docking. Now was the time for leniency for the poor feet. Your sentence is hereby commuted to time served.

Arty Black & White Photos Mean Crap Weather

The snow is good and may hang on for worthwhile turns for another week or two. The trail is in great shape and Todd's provides to perfect redemption to being skunked on the Russian.

- Sylvain Chomet