REGION: Kenai Range




When you're married to an over-achiever a lot is expected of you. You have to hold down a decent job, keep the house in order, make sure the dog doesn't do things like bite the mailman or eat porcupines, be a semi-decent provider, provide IT services, know how to troubleshoot a condensing boiler, have basic carpentry, electrical and plumbing skills ... and more.


The and more part is what gets me. Since my wife is an over achiever of the greatest magnitude she can do things like prosecute criminals 12 hours a day for 5 days straight yet still have the energy to ski and climb hard all weekend long. She expects me to also have this drive. That means on top of troubleshooting the boiler I also have to be the willing probe on snowslopes, stay in shape enough to slog all day to some distant Chugach peak, lead 5.8 rock and, in her opinion, beef up every winter for Grade IV ice.

I am not an overachiever. I hold down a decent job and have basic carpentry skills but the condensing boiler stumps me. I can ski hard 3 or 4 days in a row but a Grade IV ice climb looms beyond my abilities unless I actually break out the ice tools more than 5 times a season. And when the snow is good the last thing I want to do is hang around on some ice pillar fighting the screaming barfies.

Thus just about every Friday night "Talk" goes something like this:

Y: What do you want to do this weekend?
B: Ski.
Y: You don't want to climb?
B: Climb? But the snow is so good.
Y: The ave reports says 'Moderate with Pockets of Considerable'.
B: I think that means it's good.

And so it goes… back and forth for a while until she relents all the while giving me this dirty look that I interpret to mean: "I can't believe you're such a wimp that you can't climb harder than grade III. Anyone can ski."

The winter weekend pretty much always unfolds as such. We Talk… Yvonne hefts her ice tools and cradles them lovingly remembering days gone by when we actually swung them all winter. I fondle my fat skis and skinny skis and even give the rock skis a touch ("Your time will come in June." I whisper to them).

* * *

As usual I digress. We ski hard on Saturday and assess the snowpack. On Sunday we went for a bigger line and since we elected to sleep in we chose Tincan for the easy access.

Tincan on a sunny powder Sunday is the place to be. The parking lot was brimming with people all shapes and sizes, the skin track a superhighway with snowboarders running up on foot. On the way up we pushed and shoved to get past the slip sliding hippies. There were literally 50 people on the mountain. The skin track had passing lanes and people were bombing down Hippie Bowl on top of each other. I was afraid to ski it out of fear of being hit by an out of control snowboarder / hippie tele-skier.

When we got to the top we kept going past the hoards (I'm pretty sure the 20-some people on the summit were setting up a drum circle) in search of slopes that didn't look like a ski resort. The skin track soon got steep and icy so we shouldered our skis and then booted up with fantastic views below. An little while later we were standing at the top of Todd's Run looking down at a couple sets of wind covered tracks from sometime last week.

I slipped in, poked around a bit (the top cornice layers in Turnagian always feels funky) and then dropped into the run.

Todd's Run - named for Todd Frankiewicz who was killed in an avalanche on the run in 1988 - skied perfectly. Shin deep powder top of bottom. Following sage advice passed down from the Viking I skied well past the deposit zone to a bump that sits way down the valley (from what I understand the route, when it slides. buries the entire valley and you're not safe unless you're way down valley). Yvonne followed in perfect style, pulling up next to me smiling brightly - psyched to have skied Todd's Run on her second day BC skiing of the season.

We then traversed over to CFR, found a skin track back to the top and skied a perfect powder sunset run to top off the perfect weekend.

Back home my wife appeared satisfied with the decision to ski two days in a row. There were no dirty I wish we had climbed looks and she even let us go out for pizza and beer.

Next weekend we'll probably have the same Talk. Being married to an over achiever is tough I tell you… guess I'd better start on my pull up routines.

  •  Skier on the S Face of Tincan
  •  The Elevator Shaft
  •  Above the clouds!
  •  Looking at what we skied the day before.
  •  Skiers on the top of Hippie Bowl
  •  Yvonne heading up Tincan Ridge
  •  Yvonne heading up Tincan Ridge
  •  Yvonne heading up Tincan Ridge
  •  At the top of Todds Run
  •  Photographer working on Proper
  •  Probing the top.
  •  ... and it's good!
  •  Blower pow!
  •  Shin deep pow top to bottom!
  •  Turnagian sunset
  •  Snowboarder up high!
  •  Turnagian sunset
  •  Kickstep
  •  Yvonne headed up for a sunset run.
  •  Turnagian sunset

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