Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Check 1-2

Check 1
Check 2
Microphone check check it out one two
brand new for you is what we gonna do

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Top 12 Alaska Photos

Here is a set of the Top 12 Alaska Photos.


ANCSUNSET2

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alyeska-2-16-2008 003

alyeska-2-17-2008 003

alyeska-2-18-2008 006

alyeska-2-18-2008 011

alyeska-2-20-2008 012

ALASKA2008 118

ALASKA2008 125

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SKIPWDR

ANC3

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Alaskan Yard Sale

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Note how the Alaskan Yard Sale compares to the more common Sierra Yard Sale. Also note this Alaskan Yardsale is also a Fresh Tracks Yard Sale and a Double Eject Yard Sale.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Double Musky


Andy flew home from Anchorage with some Double Musky and waterproofer from Jim in his knapsack.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

2008 Ski Season: Day 7

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After two days of business travel in the greater Girdwood area, Alyeska finally opened Thursday. Conditions were amazing. The mountain got over 11 feet of snow from the storm. Nobody skied on most of it which fell over the past two days. We grabbed first chair and headed up. The snow line was fairly low on the mountain but the bottom was like an Alaskan rain forest. We got the word that the tram was running and headed to mid-mountain.

When we got there, it was freshies as far as you could see. The snow was deep. We bombed the south face in probably 4 feet of pow. Turns were really tough and the wet powder took some getting used to. Andy dropped a ski and it took him nearly twenty minutes to get back out. This was some serious skiing.

We made laps down to chair 1 which returned us nearly to mid-mountain. There were two main routes down, the steeps of south face or a gradual slope called Mambo.

Once again, Alyeska lead the country in snowfall. It was a crazy day on the mountain and a great way to wrap up the trip.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Valanga


Weather Observations
In past 24 hours:
The Center Ridge weather station at 1800 feet in Turnagain Pass recorded 11 inches of new snow. Total snowpack depth this morning is 140 inches. The temperature this morning is 27 degrees F (2 degrees colder than yesterday). One week storm totals at Turnagain Pass are: 83 inches or 7 feet.

Sunburst weather station at 3800 feet in Turnagain Pass recorded strong winds averaging 20-30mph out of the NE with gusts up to 60 mph. Temperature this morning is 21 degrees F (2 degrees colder than yesterday). Moderate average NE winds have been recorded at other ridgetop weather stations averaging 20-30 with gusts in the 60’s

Bottom Line (Primary Avalanche Concerns)
The avalanche hazard continues to be very dangerous. Natural and human-triggered avalanches likely. Unstable slabs likely on a variety of aspects and slope angles. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.

1. Another 11-20 inches of snow fell last night. Significant storm snow with strong winds have created more wind slabs

2. This warmer/denser storm snow is sitting on a colder/lighter snow. Plus, a layer of BURIED SURFACE HOAR mixed with facets that formed between Jan 29-Feb10 is on top of that colder/lighter snow in multiple aspects and elevations.

3. Older layers of buried surface hoar that formed in early December-early Janurary are buried deep but could possibly get triggered by very large avalanches stepping down to these older layers.


Avalanche and Snowpack Discussion (More detailed info…)
In the last week we have received nearly 7 feet of snow in Turnagain Pass and nearly 11 feet at Alyeska. Very strong winds have been present in most locations for the duration of the week. We have seen large natural avalanches occur in many areas, in some cases running more than once. With this much wind and snow many starting zones are reloaded again. Unstable conditions have been common from Girdwood Valley to Summit Lake over the past couple days. There have been several very large destructive avalanches observed as recently as yesterday morning.

Here’s a recap of some of the most recent significant avalanches…
THURSDAY 2/21
-Alyeska triggered a very large avalanche on the North Face that ran all the way to the flats near Winner Creek Trail.
WEDNESDAY 2/20
-Alyeska triggered a very large avalanche with artillery on Max’s
-Several very large natural and artillery-triggered avalanches along the Seward Hwy south of Girdwood.
MONDAY 2/18
-Chugach Powder Guides reported a very large avalanche triggered by explosives in their snowcat terrain in Girdwood Valley. The crown face was approximately 2 meters deep with large propagation and sympathetic avalanches that wrapped around the majority of the bowl to the North of Notch Ridge.
-Alyeska Resort triggered a very large avalanche off the Headwall with their artillery.

FRIDAY 2/15
-Avalanche in the Seattle Creek drainage killed two snowmachiners. The large avalanche was triggered by the riders on a steep, windloaded west aspect in an area called Stock Bowl near Widowmaker Peak. Two other riders were dug out successfully by the remaining members of the group. All riders where wearing beacons and had rescue gear. Without the excellent rescue skills of the surviving victims, we would have likely had four fatalities.

-Another very large human-triggered avalanche occurred on Magnum on the same day. Fortunately nobody was caught or injured in this avalanche. It was triggered remotely 50 feet below a skier who was digging a snowpit at the top of the West face above the highway. It propagated thousands of feet down the looker’s left ridge and failed on a “slick layer of facets” 1 meter down.
-Also on Friday, a snowmachiner triggered an avalanche near Skookum Glacier in the Placer drainage and was buried up to his helmet. His partner dug him out uninjured but his sled was buried 7 feet deep.
THURSDAY 2/14
-Five Fingers path in Portage Valley avalanched large enough to break several trees at the valley floor.

Weather Forecast
WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-
INCLUDING...WHITTIER...SEWARD...GIRDWOOD...MOOSE PASS
500 AM AST FRI FEB 22 2008

...STRONG WIND THROUGH THIS MORNING THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND
TURNAGAIN ARM...
.TODAY...SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 3 INCHES.
HIGHS IN THE 30S. LIGHT WINDS. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN
ARM...EAST WIND 20 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 50 MPH DIMINISHING TO 10
TO 25 MPH IN THE AFTERNOON.
.TONIGHT...NUMEROUS SNOW SHOWERS. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 2 INCHES.
LOWS IN THE 20S. LIGHT WINDS.
.SATURDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE
UPPER 20S TO MID 30S. LIGHT WINDS.
.SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS 15 TO 25. HIGHS
IN THE MID 20S TO LOWER 30S. LIGHT WINDS.
.SUNDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS 10 TO 25.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 36 26 33 / 80 60 20
GIRDWOOD 36 21 30 / 80 60 20

Let us know if you see or hear of any avalanche activity. You can leave a message at 754-2369 or email us by going to our home page at avalanche.org. The next advisory will be on Saturday, February 23rd.

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No Sleep Till Seward (AK)



We almost died on the drive from Girdwood to Seward to get this photo. The picture, a stop in Moose (Knuckle) Pass and lunch in a place called the Gene Thorn's Showcase Lounge were the highlights of an otherwise dull day.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

2008 Ski Season: Day 6





Today was day three for us on our Alyeska trip. I woke up first thing and called the Chugach Powder Guides to reserve a spot on the snowcat for tomorrow. With the snowcat trip tomorrow locked in, I was able to focus on today. The weather cooperated a bit more and we got a full day of skiing in. The morning was spent doing laps off of chair 4. We found out that chair 6 was going to open at around 1 PM. We broke for lunch, took chair 4 up, skied down to chair 6, and rode chair 6 to the top. The snow was great at the top as it was unaffected by the rain over the past few days. Earlier in the day, we saw the snowcats making paths through the ungroomed and we decided to follow those tracks out.

A few rounds on chair 6 later, we found an awesome line off of the chair lift. It was really steep with a ton of snow. I got some good turns in and was pretty happy with my skiing.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be an epic day. More to follow.

Update: Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

2008 Ski Season: Day 5



Today was the second day at Alyeska. According to onthesnow.com, he resort leads the nation for most snow over the past 72 hours:

72 HOUR SNOW REPORT

1. Alyeska, Alaska 36"

After a supreme day yesterday, the great conditions I had been skiing seem to have finally dried up. Of the first four days of the 2008 season, three were powder days. Today was definitely not. We had rain at the base which is about the worst weather condition you can have for skiing. To make matters worse, both the tram and chair 6 were closed for the entire day leaving the upper mountain inaccessible.

Still, we got out and made some turns. Today's photo is an action shot of Omer chillin' in front of a ice feature. Photo by Andy Mouratis.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

2008 Ski Season: Day 4


Greetings from Alaska. We've just finished skiing day 1 of 6 days at Alyeska resort in Girdwood. . We got over 12" of fresh powder yesterday and it snowed all day today. I'm figuring Alyeska had to be the best two day snowfall across the country. We'll find out tomorrow.

I got into Anchorage last night on United, but my skis didn't make it. I flew SFO->DIA->ANC, and my flight out of SFO was delayed by a drink cart of all things. I made the connection in DIA by literally sprinting off the plane and making my flight. There wasn't enough time to get the luggage across.

After getting up this morning for breakfast, I began the painstaking process of tracking down my lost luggage. I put over four phone calls into United's 1-800 number which was obviously routed to Bangalore.

A typical conversation:

Indian: Hello sir, I see you are calling about lost baggage, how can I help you
D: Where are my skis?
Indian: I'm happy to help you with that sir, do you have the baggage claim number
D: 123456
Indian: I see your bag has been checked to Seattle
D: When do I get my skis?
Indian: I'm sorry sir, I cannot see anything beyond SEA, please give us some time

And on like that all morning. Finally, I got one guy to tell me my skis didn't make it out Friday night. That basically meant I would lose a day of skiing. I cursed the Indian guy out on the phone and told him United had ruined my vacation. He capitulated and told me to rent gear to send in the receipts to United for reimbursement.

This worked for me but I had all my ski gear in my ski bag sitting in SEA. Luckily, I had my ski jacket. My brother lent me some north face pants and glove liners. Another friend had an extra pair of goggles. I borrowed another long sleeve shirt and put together a fairly decent impromptu ski outfit. Fifty bucks later I had rented boots, poles, and powder skis and was off on the tram.

We got to the top of the tram and started making turns. I had not even completed the first run of the day when I got a call from a 907 (Alaska) exchange. It was Alyeska resort calling to say they had received my skis from United! This was great news as I was ill-equipped to deal with a powder day with my rag-tag ski gear.

I headed back in after noon and collected my gear. A quick fifteen minute change session and I was out on my prized Volkl Mantra 184s.

The rest of the day was phenomenal. The snowfall total must have exceeded 12 inches today alone. Powder was everywhere. More details to follow tomorrow and throughout the week.

See also:

20008 Ski Season: Alaska Preview

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

2008 Ski Season: Alaska Preview



Nice map huh?

I'm off to Alaska tomorrow for a week of skiing at Alyeska Resort. The weather seems to be cooperating and there is a great storm brewing now.

One option I'm looking at is Snow Cat skiing. The Chugach Powder Guides operate a heli-ski business with the Snow Can in reserve. I'm going to try to get a seat on the Cat at least one day while I'm there. More info as I hear back from CPG.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2008 Ski Season: Update

Alyeska:

New Snow (Cumulative)

Past 24 Hours: 14"

Past 48 Hours:18"

Past 72 Hours: 18"
Base Depth

Lower Elevation: 41"

Middle Elevation: 96"

Upper Elevation: 134"

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Must be the Season of the Rat


2008 is the Year of the Rat, which is also known by its former name of Wu Zi. We celebrated in the office today. I got to demo the Si Lim Tau, my Wing Chun Kung Fu first form. I wore my Bruce Lee t-shirt. We had sweets from China. What fun!

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Rescued skier: 'We never ever considered giving up'

Two skiers who went missing Saturday from Alpine Meadows resort were found this morning by a Placer County helicopter. They headed out of bounds Saturday and got lost. The pair made snow caves, ate cliff bars, and melted snow to stay alive through two nights of stormy conditions.

Mercury News Article

For more on the the conditions after the storm, check out my 2008 Ski Season: Day 3.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

2008 Ski Season: Day 3



This is a photo of what skiers call a yard sale. All your gear is strewn out on the ground like a sale in front of your house. Need a pole? Here's mine, 10 bucks.

Note to self: Powder day+iPod blaring Q-bert scratching=yard sale

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

G Love and Special Sauce


Live at the Riviera, Chicago.

Photo by Andy Mouratis

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Real Programmers




Funny, because I use nano.

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