REGION: Kenai Range



Where it's always sunny
Posted in Kenai Range & Skiing Tags: turnagain  

There is a place south of town where it's always sunny. Where the sunlight warms a golden bowl even on the darkest days of the year. Where the snow is deep and the runs are steep. Where ribs are scraped clean by expert kid snowboarders and couloirs are filled with discarded sluff from passing skiers. I won't say where it is... anyone who skis south of town will recognize it – but if you don't then you're missing out. It is, as I mentioned, always sunny and the snow is always good.

At least that's how I think of this place. I only go there when it's sunny – and thus I always associate this golden bowl as a sun catcher... a gold pan of sorts.

The day pretty much always plays out the same way… slog up a cold, cold dark valley shivering as the wind ripples over your slowly freezing face. Keep slogging and the higher you ascend the colder and harder the wind gets until you take a sharp left turn and climb into a hanging valley. The hanging valley is usually still pretty cold – the bottom doesn't see much sun in the dead of winter – but keep climbing and suddenly you're in the sun and before you know it you're shedding layers.

The sun hits you pretty much as soon as you start climbing and it stays with you all the way to the top where you pull the skins, fly downhill, put the skins back on and start moving up again.

Repeat until sunset.

At sunset climb to the col west of the golden bowl and skin along the ridge till you reach the magnificent little corner pocket. Ski a fun corner couloir back into another cold dark valley. And then fly downhill as fast as your skis will carry you because the darkness is gathering fast and with it the cold night.

Below are choice pictures from the past few years of assorted partners doing pretty much the same thing in the same place as described above.

  •  The golden pan of sunlight in 2008.
  •  Closeup of Y's massive calf back when she used to haul Fritschis & Jaks everywhere.
  •  Y shredding Gully #5
  •  December sunset.
  •  Eric Parsons on top of Cornbiscuit as seen from Superbowl.
  •  Peter Smith on the ridge above Superbowl.  Note the ave crown directly above Peter... Dan had kicked off the slide minutes before this photo.
  •  Snow Fennell scopes the snowpack.
  •  Dan Boccia slips into Corner Pocket. December 2009.
  •  Dan Boccia ponders first tracks in Corner Pocket.
  •  Dan scores first tracks in Corner Pocket.
  •  Yvonne ponders the slip into Corner Pocket.
  •  A bony Grandaddy chute.
  •  Yvonne booting up the SW couloir.
  •  The beautiful SW couloir uptrack.
  •  Note to self: bring ski crampons.
  •  The awesome climb up next to the SW couloir.  Photo by Eric Parsons.
  •  Y & I on the awesome climb up.  Photo by Eric Parsons.
  •  Y digging the imminent run.  Nervous anticipation or psyched to ski something steep?
  •  Y & I on the top.
  •  Someone somewhere W of us.
  •  Ice Ice Baby.
  •  With knuckles poised Eric prepares to drag the SW couloir. December 2009.
  •  Digging the snow!
  •  Grandaddy at sunset.
  •  Yvonne in the SW couloir.
  •  Y is the bump left of center - I'm on the ridge.  Photo by Eric Parsons.
  •  The SW from below.
  •  Eric on the col heading to corner pocket.
  •  The Chugach at sunset.
  •  Y & I headed to Corner Pocket.  Photo by Eric Parsons.
  •  On the ridge.
  •  Eric Parsons slips into a sunset Corner Pocket. December 2009.
  •  December sunset (at 4pm).
  •  Yvonne into Corner Pocket.
  •  Another stellar December day.  2010.
  •  Skiers on the ridge above Super Bowl.
  •  Jay Patterson on the sunlit ridge.
  •  Jay Patterson rips tele turns into a steep couloir.
  •  Jay Patterson in a steep chute with Pastoral above him.
  •  Heading back up for a sunset run.
  •  Skiers booting up the ridge.
  •  Skiers booting up the ridge.
  •  Me in a S facing chute.  Too bad I screwed up Jay's photo by wimping out & side stepping the entrance.  Photo by Jay Patterson.
  •  Jay Patterson outruns the sluffalufagus.
  •  Heading to Corner Pocket at sunset.
  •  Moonlight above the golden bowl.

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