Alyeska Resort Girdwood Alaska
Mixed bad of rain, snow, fog with sun breaks. Temperatures were in the mid 20`s at night to 30 to 35 in the day.
All over the map from hard pack ice to powder to wet heavy “gunk” to rain soaked slop.
This entire week at Alyeska was so typical of spring weather and each day, you never knew what you were going to get. Frequently it was white out powder conditions on the top of Chair 6 and steady drizzle at the base. The snow up top and on the North Face was pretty good, wet heavy powder on top of a firm packed powder base. This defines the very essence of the word variable.
Except in the mornings, there was not much in the way of ice or really firm snow except in weird random spots. For the most part is was loose, heavy “mashed potatoes” that was very churned up. I was fortunate enough to be there on a day where the North Face finally stabilized enough that avalanche conditions reduced to the point that patrol opened it. I was able to get several first lines down from the top to the tram. I was the second rider to drop Christmas Chute and except for the horrible flat light, was a spectacular ride. I spent a lot of time riding down Chilkoot Ridge through the natural half pipe at Eagle Rock to the bottom of chair 6.
In all the varying terrain that I rode it was off piste, deep churned up snow and it was the dampness of the board that stood out. I was able to power through absolute crap that I was sure was going to throw me, but the dampness of the board allowed me to maintain control in some really sketchy situations. This was also riding conditions where the rocker between the feet came through when I needed to bust through stuff and stay on top. As I mentioned earlier, a wrong move forward at the wrong time and this beast will buck you like any traditional cambered deck in the same situation. Staying a little tail heavy keeps the nose up and out of the poo in just about any situation.
The North Face of Alyeska is almost 2,000 vertical feel and the top half is a solid 45 to 5o degree pitch with cliff bands and other hazards. You want to have a board that you can rely before dropping off of this. Again, the agility and sure footedness of this board builds confidence to drop almost anything. This board really shined on this super steep and deep terrain and was a true pleasure to ride. Christmas Chute is considered one of if not the most challenging and potentially dangerous descents on the mountain. It is very steep, very narrow and lined on both sides with jagged rocks. This board made this run seem like just any other double black run. I credit this to it`s uncanny ability to respond to torsional twist and fore-aft movements. When you decide to initiate a turn, there is no hesitation. A little pressure on the feet to twist the board and whamo, it is in the turn. A fore to aft movement at the bottom of the turn and this thing rockets out of the turn pointed uphill and slowing you back down. I totally trust this board in extreme environments.
Down low, it was a rainy mess a lot and the snow was super super sticky and grabby. The base of this board dealt with it about average. Like any board, if you ride in these conditions a lot, a light base structure will help. Riding the tail, using the rocker to keep the nose up helped here too. Overall, this board handles the wildly variable conditions like a champ.