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Ski Trips:

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by: Tim Kelley

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08 September 2012: Skied In September?  Check.

I headed to the Talkeetna Mountains to do a September ski.  I needed to check off September to make my ski season last a year.  It started out at Glen Alps in October 2011 and finished here in September 2012.  I was able to ski in every month of this year-long stretch, and do it without the help of planes or helicopters.  I had done this 12 month skiing deal before, but this year it was the easiest it's ever been.  Thanks to record snowfall and record cold summer temps it was not hard to find places around Anchorage to ski this summer.

The latest storms that hammered Southcentral Alaska dumped more snow than I anticipated in the Talkeetnas.  There was 16 inches plus of new snow in the Lane Glacier area.  That seems like a lot of snow for early September.

"Geez!  My plumage hasn't completely changed yet, and people are already skiing!?!" The Lane Hut ... perhaps Alaska's nastiest mountain shelter. Once up on the bench you could ski on 16 plus inches of new snow. The Lane Glacier in the distance.
Moon over ridge. I think this is the first telemark shot on this web site.  I'm not big into tele skiing (and I'm not very good at it).  But I realize that sometimes it is the only technique that works with skinny skis in deep snow. October 2011 at Glen Alps to September 2012 at the Lane Glacier - 12 consecutive months of skiing.
05 August 2012: Checking Off August

Some people have been calling the Anchorage area summer of 2012 the "Lost Summer".  We've had record cold temperatures, lack of sun and termination dust showing up on mountains above Eagle River on August 2nd.  Though I too wish there could be a few more sunny stretches greater than one day long, I figure a cool summer helps you out if you are trying to ski all 12 months of the year (without using an airplane or helicopter to get you to snow).

From Anchorage I could see that larger than normal snow patches for this time of year were lingering on the ridges of the Kenai Mountains.  So I headed to the Palmer Creek Road south of Hope and hiked up to a large snowfield to get some striding and gliding and turns in.  August is now checked off.

Lots of snow in this area for August.

We went past this neat "kettle pond" that had not completely thawed out.  A kettle pond is formed when a big chuck of glacial ice is covered by glacial debris (rocks and silt).  Later on after the glacier recedes the ice melts causing a depression which can result in the forming of a pond or small lake.

Skiing was done at the 3500 foot level at the end of Palmer Creek Road south of Hope, AK.
25 July 2012: North Ridge of Culross Island

I try not to post repeats of trips on this web site.  But it was such a nice day on this favorite summer skiing haunt of mine that I figured I'd post some pictures.  My wife and I last did this hike/ski trip combo on the north ridge of Culross Island in 2010.  Thanks to record snowfall this winter this was my latest ski ever in Prince William Sound.

Heading up from Culross Bay to the summit.
Skiing back down.
  Rippin' it up and havin' some Alaska summer fun.  
Checking out things from the summit. You can see the moon above the ridge.   Yard sale! Ski-able snow on Culross should last into August.

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Alaska Backcountry XC Skiing