March 29, 2009

Skiing Volcanic Ash

Mount Redoubt erupted. And erupted again, and again and again, so many times that I lost count. It's like trying to count the number of times the wind blew. With so much erupting, Redoubt's grey-brown ash eventually made it to our ski hills.

Like a heavy layer of dust, the ash was buried beneath 5" of fresh snow at Alyeska. Other than the very strange appearance, it had neglible effects on off-trail skiing.

The US alpine skiing championships are being held at Alyeska, and the ash seemed to have little effect on the slalom today. The weather hasn't cooperated for the races - too much snow. And now the Redoubt fallout. How do you wax for ash?

The upper-most Chair 6 closed at 1:40 p.m. today. The resort reported high wind was the reason for the closure; the peak gust recorded so far today was 39 mph according to the weather station at the top of the quad. Tanaka had untracked snow near the southern boundary, so we played there for several short runs after Chair 6 closed.

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