Alaska is one of my favorite places to ski as it has so much variety and such wild terrain. It has three different snowpacks, high peaks, rugged mountains, huge ice fields, traverses, rivers, wildlife and everything in-between. I go there for the skiing, but often times the actual turns are secondary to the sense of exploration and adventure that Alaska provides. Good skiing conditions are just icing on the cake.
The Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest National Park in the U.S. and entails over 12 million acres of the most rugged alpine terrain in Alaska, if not the world. It has been called “The Mountain Kingdom” for good reason and there is no shortage of amazing skiing. For reference, the famed skiing of Valdez, Alaska takes place in a tiny section of the larger Chugach Mountain range, which in turn is only one of four mountain ranges which make up the Wrangell-St. Elias Park. This area defines the absolute top end of the “Big Mountain Skiing” spectrum.
Starting on April 26th, the second part of the Alaska odyssey involves meeting up with Courtney Phillips, Noah Howell and Jim Harris (all from Utah) to spend two weeks in the Revelation Mountains. The Revelations are 140 miles northwest of Anchorage and are best known (if they are known at all) for their technical rock, ice and Alpine climbing. People have climbed here and traversed through the range, but as far as we know, the ski mountaineering potential of the area has not been explored. We want to see what there is to ski.
This part of the trip will involve landing on the Revelation Glacier, setting up camp and doing day trips to the nearby peaks. The plan is to move camp every few days to fresh skiing terrain, but like most trips to Alaska, the weather will be the ultimate determining factor. Afterwards, we will walk out of the Revelation Glacier and down a river bed to an outfitters cabin where we will be flown back to Anchorage.
That the plan, but with Alaska… you never know what will happen. Sometimes it exceeds your wildest dreams and other times you spend a lot of time sitting in tents reading books or playing Scrabble. You never know until you go.