Shunta's introduction to Alaska skiing has been a happy reminder of our wealth of extraordinary places to ski. Hailing from Hokkaido, Japan, a place known for its excellent snow and great skiing, it might be understandable if Alaska did not leave him awestruck, but Shunta's sincere and exclamatory appreciation of Alaska's mountains has been obvious and contagious. Sharing that same feeling of awe has been a reward in itself.
All Smiles above Summit Lake
We made it up Tenderfoot Ridge above Summit Lake to find a few rocks, some frozen ice chunkies, and smokey powder. We found an icy hard base with rain runnels and insufficient snowpack to fill in and smooth out the tussocks for a few hundred feet vertical. Upper hemlock groves and alpine zones were really sweet.