December 29, 2008

Return to Rusty

It was good to be back in the track. The Rusty uptrack was pleasant after the pain of setting it. Clear and colder, -5F. Added a layer.

A lap in the shadows on the "back side". COLD.

Yesterday's track from the saddle.

Entered the Rusty sunny side about 300 ft higher than yesterday. Crust was semi-supportable. Oh well, you gotta go to know. The snow below was soft and worthy of a short lap. On the way home, I began to question the wisdom of taking that last lap, arriving at 5 p.m. with a 3:48 sunset, but headlamp in the pack was unneeded insurance with the inspirational alpenglow.

Yesterday's track down Rusty Gulley. Skied great again today!

The Chugach Front Range Area falls mostly along the western and northern periphery of Chugach State Park. This park has skiing terrain from gently rolling cross-country touring delight, skate-skiing, rugged touring, yo-yo powder skiing, and multi-day trips from slogs to climbs with extreme exposure. I have probably spent more skiing time in this area than all of the other areas because I fortunately live on a property within earshot of the common boundary of Chugach State Park and Far North Bicentennial Park in Anchorage. Far North Bicenntenial Park has exceptional groomed skate and classic skiing trails, wildnerness touring, a 300-foot vertical chair lift (good place to learn), and even a ski jump.

The Chugach Front Range alpine has a notoriously unreliable snowpack above tree line. The ephemerality of the above tree line powder has a yin-yang balance to the remarkably reliable snow quality below tree line.

The quickest access to powder from Anchorage is, of course, the Anchorage hillside tail heads. The Anchorage bowl is bounded on the east by Chugach State Park, and there are several ways to access the Chugach front range from Anchorage. Starting from the north and working south, the front range access points are: Hiland Road, Arctic Valley Road, Stuckagain Heights, Prospect Heights, Upper O’Malley, Upper Huffman, Glen Alps, Canyon Road, and Clark Road.

This beta bit is a sampling of the "Anchorage Powder Guide to the Untracked". Enjoy the untracked.

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