Glacier City Gazette | Another Season is Gaining on Us in the Chugach!
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Another Season is Gaining on Us in the Chugach!

Another Season is Gaining on Us in the Chugach!

By Powder Hound Crew

Energy in the ski community is high following last year’s decent season. Ski sales are up and boot fitting is, again, the most crucial aspect of performance and comfort. Skiers and snowboarders know, whether the snow is bad or good, champagne or cement, man-made or blower, boots are the most significant part of any setup.

Climate continues to surprise South Central Alaska. We can never guess if we’ll see buckets of rain or piles of snow. However, there is one thing we can always count on, and that is unpredictability. We have seen 40” of snow blanket our resort in mid May and 10” of mid January rain melt it all away. No matter what the weather may appear to be at the moment, it can change overnight.

This unpredictability is a blessing, most of the time. The only limiting factor: altitude. Sometimes, Girdwood can impress even the most veteran of swashbuckler with a full-on rainforest experience. And the silver lining usually involves massive amounts of our favorite white-colored precipitation at higher elevations. So on those days where it may not be ideal at the resort, there’s still good snow and good turns to be scored.

In the past 5 years, we’ve witnessed the transformation and advancement of alpine touring equipment to a point where you can be just as dialed in on the hike up as you are on the ski down. Usually the sport’s hook first connects with some sort of AT binding on a regular alpine setup.

There’s absolutely nothing like the feeling of standing at the top of a peak that you’ve hiked up, looking over a beautiful mountain range just knowing that you’re headed for the run of a lifetime. It usually takes only one of these experiences to get folks hooked for life. That is why the sport is growing so significantly.

Sure the lift lines in the ‘lower 48’ are another reason, but up in Alaska the lines we face at Alyeska Resort are, comparatively, slim to non-existent. Here, alpine touring grows from a simple love for the outdoors.

With a mixture of amazing backcountry and a wonderful resort, we need to make sure that we are setup with the proper gear for the conditions we face.

Frequently we want to follow all of the new ski technology without even glancing at boots. And, honestly, skis and snowboards, all brand new and shiny, are quite sexy. Painful feet, however, are NOT sexy. They cut your day of charging into fractions and increase your time spent in a crowded lodge or along a cold pass pulloff. Make it a point this season to get your feet dialed and feeling just as comfortable at the end of the day as they are first thing in the morning.

There are many ways of perfecting the setup for your specific needs. Check the many different types of foot beds for specifically AT or resort skiing, finding the boot with the proper strength for the skiing you plan to do. Whether you need more strength for a sagittal motion (driving long race/carving skis) or increased strength for frontal motion (wide, rockered skis), it is important to find the right product.

Place your trust in local boot fitters. They’re the ones in the know when it comes to everything ski-related, from proper water proofing, to which skis will perform best in all of our conditions up in the Last Frontier.

Yep, it’s another great season in the Chugach! So stay pumped and get geared up properly so that YOU can have as much fun as we do, no matter what the conditions may be. If you’re not sure which skis will suit you, demo a couple of pairs. If you take care of your gear, it will most certainly take care of you.

Getting the proper tune on your skis/snowboard can replenish the fun you forgot was possible. Do your lunges, ride a bike and stay in shape, because soon enough the weather will switch, snow will be deep and we’ll be wishing we had bought the ABC store’s snorkel setup on that last family trip to Hawaii.