Friday, March 12, 2010

Valdez Update 3/2010

The heli ski season has begun on Thompson Pass, and we have been getting unbelievable amounts of snowfall. Over 200cms of snow has fallen in 10 days at the Tsaina Lodge where Valdez Heli-Ski Guides base their operation. Unfortunately, this has meant a lot of down days so far, but it is setting us up for an epic season when the skies break.

This has been one of the biggest storms I have seen in Valdez in seven years working here as a guide. In fact, it may be one of the biggest storms I have ever witnessed, period. In a three day period this week, 7 avalanches have hit the Richardson Highway on Thompson Pass in between mile 32 and mile 53. Some of these slides were naturally triggered, others by the DOT Howitzer, and other still by ski tourers.

Overall, however, the snowpack has good structure, meaning that when the storm snow settles there will be plently of safe, deep skiing out there.

We have been able to take advantage of a few weather windows this week. Below is a pic of Valdez Heli Ski Guides' Dylan Freed enjoying the Chugach in his Mammut Transmission Jacket.

Photo:Gregory Costanzo

--Doug Workman

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