December 20, 2010

Solstice 2010

Could it be better?  Maybe, but not much on the Anchorage Hillside. 

After a morning lap on Near Point below timberline, a couple of hours downtown, and an alpine lap at Arctic Valley in the post-sunset alpenglow, the Hillside gets the blue ribbon. 

Touring on the Anchorage Hillside in Chugach State Park is exceptional!  A fresh 6" fell today at a temperature of 10 to 20 deg F, and created nearly ideal conditions.  The track is soft and fast.

Arctic Valley was runner up with 6" fresh, very low density powder on a wind-packed or rain crust, scritchy base, and 11F with an intermittent breeze,   Gullies with a lee shadow from the north wind have caught a little deeper snow.  With a sunset start in a wistful sort of light, Mt Gordon Lyon was a worthwhile lap.  The vivid colors of the solstice sunset were inspirational while setting an uptrack.  Descending in very late alpenglow through the boot top, airy snow was an other worldly experience.  Gliding back toward home, over my shoulder I caught a glimpse of the full moon, just above the horizon, looming large and yellow-orange in a very slight haze. 

Work in town was very necessary, but a distant third place in the powder sweepstakes.

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