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by: Tim Kelley

Oct - Dec Jan - Feb Mar - Apr May - Jun Summer

15-16 June 2013: Nice Weather In Prince William Sound

My wife and I took advantage of some nice weather to do some cross-country skiing in Prince William Sound.  On June 15th we skied the ridge between the north ends of Cochrane Bay and Culross Passage.  On June 16th we skied the ridge northeast of the old cannery site in McClure Bay.  Both days we used waxless xc skis to ski summer snow in near 80 degree temperatures.

Cochrane Bay
Heading up. Topping out.  The ridge can be seen continuing on to the south.
Heading out to ski up to the high point of the ridge. On the 2nd highest point of the ridge.  Great run from here back to the point in the distance where we gained the ridge, and then down to the bay. Heading down.
My wife had her A game going this day.   Nice snow, nice weather.  It's not always like this in PWS.
McClure Bay
The high point above McClure Bay.  We had been here before in 2010.
"Excuse me?  Can we ski in your neighborhood today!?  Thank you!" Heading towards the ridge.  Frozen lake in background. Lots of snow.
We are not hot weather people.  So the hot temps and sun-rays amplified by the snow made the climb a water-gulping, sweaty grind for us.
Topping out. Culross Passage to the north. Time to head back.
Enjoying the ride back down the ridge.   Really smooth summer snow down low.
Second nice day in a row.  A rarity in PWS. Sushi tonight!  ;-)
Late May 2013: Spring Skiing In Iceland

My wife and I went to Iceland this spring.  Icelandair started seasonal direct flights from Anchorage to Iceland this year.  So we took advantage of this convenient, 7 hour flight that allows Alaskans easy access to Iceland.  Once there we rented a truck camper and put 2000 miles of driving in as we drove around this incredible island-country in the North Atlantic Ocean.  Of course, we brought skis with us and skied whenever we could find good snow.  Here are a few shots of spring skiing in Iceland ...

Western Fjords
Steep and narrow roads (with no guardrails) take you over the many passes of the Western Fjords.  At the tops of the passes you can access ridge-top snowfields for good crust skiing.  Here we are skiing at the pass north of Patreksfjordur.
The areas around Grenivik and Akureyri have endless backcountry skiing options.  I sure liked this area.  What a cool place ... I could see living in Akureyri.
According to a local skier we met in Akureyri, the Nordic ski tracks above Akureyri at the Hlidarfjall ski area usually run out of snow by the first of May.  But, like Alaska, Northern Iceland had a lot of late season snowfall this year.  So we were able to ski in set tracks here on May 29th.  We were told that there are about 300 xc skiers in Aukureyri, and they can ski for free at this local ski track high above their town.
Skiing on the Krafla / Leirhnjukur lava fields (above and below) in Northern Iceland.  There seems to be endless backcountry skiing options here.
    Gotta be carefull where geothermal heat melts the snowpack from below.
Because of all the late season snow in Northern Iceland, the main trail to Dettifoss was closed.  No problem.  Just clip on your skis and skate over the snow to check out Europe's most powerfull waterfall (150 feet high, 330 feet wide).
With snow everywhere in Northern Iceland ... you just drive a ways until you find a place that looks like an interesting place to ski.  Then pull over, park, clip on your skis and head out and explore. My first encounter with Whooper Swan tracks while skiing. Ski remains found in a dilapidated building on a beach on the East Coast.  Iceland is a skier's paradise.  And I rank Iceland as the coolest place I've ever been to.
Oct - Dec Jan - Feb Mar - Apr May - Jun Summer
Alaska Backcountry XC Skiing