Posted on April 17, 2015
Above: Mt. Diamond backdrops Eli Sturm as he skies down a couloir in Thompson Pass, where the scenery and snow are world class.
The 2,805 foot Thompson Pass pass is outside the coastal town of Valdez, and averages more than 550 inches of snow per year. Skiers and snowboarders travel from all over the world to make turns in Thompson. Copious runs are accessible right off the road, while endless mountains provide the potential for extended excursions.
My friend Eli and myself made the six hour drive south from Fairbanks last Saturday for two very full days of riding. We mostly used climbing skins — directional skins you attach to the bottom of your skies to ascend mountains.
On the first day we skinned about 4.5 hours, climbing roughly 4,000 feet, to the top of a couloir, a steep narrow gully on a mountain. The result was some of the best and most scenic riding of my life.
Posted on May 13, 2014
Stunning scenery, helicopter-like views and spectacular snowboarding on sometimes treacherous terrain are just a few of the experiences I was fortunate enough to have in Whistler, British Columbia. Whistler and Blackcomb are two mountains in the town of Whistler, where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held. It is one of the premier skiing destinations in the world, with good reason.
Thanks to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which features the worlds longest unsupported span, almost two miles, and the worlds tallest lift at 1,427 feet, Whistler and Blackcomb are the worlds largest continuous lift system. The amount of accessible terrain is insane.
Snowboarding in Whistler is an experience I will never forget, and hope to have again soon.
Note: These were all shot with my iPhone, I have GoPro media I hope to edit soon, but realistically may not.
Posted on January 9, 2014
Above: A quiet and foggy beginning to the 2013-2014 season at Skiland. December 7, 2013 at 10:12 a.m.
December 7, 2013, marked the start of the downhill season at Skiland – the farthest-north chairlift in North America. Opening day is often a mad dash; wake up after a party; corral people, some gear, and grub; then try to get there for first run at 10 a.m., because last run comes quick at 2:30 p.m.
This year was relaxed, waxed boards the night before and went to bed at a reasonable time. The next day lots of clouds made visibility difficult, but unseasonably warm temperatures – over 10 degrees fahrenheit – complemented a snowpack that hide reasonable numbers of rocks!
Not much lifts the spirits in dark and typically cold December then an early opening at the downhill. Here’s a few examples of rapidly-changing light from the chairlift.
Category: Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Sports, Weekly Photo Post Tagged: adventure, Alaska, art, Art Photography, Beginning, clouds, Color, Color photography, Downhill, Fog, Interior alaska, Light, light writing, North America, People, photo, photography, postaday, Silhouette, Skiing, Skiland, snow, Snowboarding, trees, Weather, Weekly photo challenge
Posted on December 17, 2013
Above: At 10:28 a.m. the sun has yet to rise above tree line, snow can be seen blowing off peaks in the Alaska Range. Elliott Highway, 37 miles north of Fairbanks.
It was an… ambitious adventure. Nordic ski 14 miles into Colorado Creek Cabin, in White Mountains National Recreation Area, starting about 55 miles north of Fairbanks. Distance wasn’t the issue. The problem at hand was twofold: temperatures around -35 degrees fahrenheit, and less then 5 hours of daylight. Stopping more then 2 or 3 minutes meant quickly becoming chilled, and wasting precious daylight.
It’s fascinating to review the time-of-day pictures were shot, tracing the sun path.
By the time darkness really took hold Nick and I had just slogged up the final ascent. I was far too exhausted to stop and fumble with my camera, and risk chilling off again.
When not sleeping or eating the cabin was a blast, but the next day brought another 14-mile ski back. Luckily the return was all downhill.
Even two weeks later, as my blisters and frostbite continue to heal I wonder why we thought it would be a good idea. It really comes down to mind over matter, living in Alaska requires perseverance and toughness. Sometimes a little personal reminder is necessary.
Category: Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Portraits, Sports, Travel Tagged: adventure, Alaska, art, Art Photography, Cold, Color, Color photography, Cross Country Ski, Daylight, Fairbanks, Interior alaska, Landscape, light writing, Nordic Ski, People, photo, photography, Skiing, Sun, travel, trees, Weather
Posted on May 23, 2013
Posted on March 22, 2013
Cross-country skiing, either skate or classic, is a great way to exercise and get outside during the long Alaskan winters. Sticking to a groomed trail or breaking your own through the woods both provide ample opportunities for fun sights.
A trip on March 13, traversing trails just north of Fairbanks from my house to a friend’s, had a few hidden surprises.
While stopped to discuss which direction to go I spotted some snowshoe hair tracks off the trail. My shadow provides a little perspective while some unidentified tracks disappear off frame.
From there we followed what appeared to be a well-tracked snowmachine trail. While continuing to appear well traveled, it quickly delved into a walking only trail, then abruptly stopped in a clearing. Again, while debating our next move, I glanced around, noticing a cache in snow.
After a brief inspection it was discovered to be a geocache. Geocaching is a global game where people upload the longitude and latitude of a cache online for others to find. Inside was a variety of objects: a pipe cutter, crayons, paint, playing cards, a Pez dispenser and a mosquito net to name a few. The rules simply state if you take something you must leave something.
The ski was close to 10 miles, and that worked up an appetite. So to finish off “Sporting Thursday” is a picture of a fellow winter adventurer captured while waiting for pizza.
Category: Alaska, Landscapes, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized, Wildlife Tagged: Alaska, art, Art Photography, classic skiing, Color, Color photography, cross country skiing, Fairbanks, Far North Light, geocache, geocaching, light writing, photo, photography, skate skiing, Skiing, snow, Sporting Thursday, travel, winter biking
Posted on March 6, 2013
First things first: A huge shout out to my friend and fellow (former) Fairbanks resident, Luke Smith, who is the skier in this weeks National Geographic Extreme Photo of the Week. Photographer Ryan Kruger captured Luke skiing Frazier Basin, Bridger Range, Montana.
Here’s the image, click the link above to see the full story. I especially like the delay between the initial viewing and noticing the skier, and of course, the monochromatic image.
Photographing skiing and snowboarding is a very delicate balance for me. Often my love for snowboarding overpowers my desire to take photos on the hill. It’s easy to worry about my camera, ducking under and squeezing through trees at Skiland, where I ride, and the fartherst north chairlift in North America.
I am becomming more comfortable with it though. The hardest part is forcing myself to be less agressive while riding.
While neither of my photos offer the extreme enviornment of Krueger’s, they have their own qualities. Both with a strong sense of light, the Sun peeking out behind my friends Nils and Nick in the first, illuminated hoar frost on the lift in the second. The first image is also a pan shot, my movement, parallel with the subjects, keeps them in focus while blurring the background.
Category: Alaska, Black & White, Photography, Portraits, Sports Tagged: Alaska, art, Art Photography, black and white, black and white photography, Bridger Range, camera, Cold, Color, Color photography, extreme, Extreme Photo of the Week, Fairbanks, farthest north in North America, Frazier Basin, hoar frost, illuminated, light writing, Luke Smith, Monochrome, Montana, Mt. Aurora, National geographic, pan, People, photo, photography, Ryan Krueger, Skiing, Skiland, skilift, snow, Snowboarding, Weather