Sunday, April 19, 2009

April 17

Friday. A really tough day in the Chugach. Since we drank it Blue the night before, I decided to wear my lucky vintage 1979 Harlem Globetrotters Hat. Now I now have a new nickname, "Meadowlark" given to me by Todd and the Alaska Rendez-Vous guides. Yes, the hat is dope! By about noon the sun was really baking the snow. The newer snow didn't bond well to a hoar frost layer about 20cm down. We were concerned about slides. On Ice Cube, Jessica went out and ski cut it. Todd skied down unaffected. Brad went next and released a class 2 slide that Todd and Jessica had to brace for. It slowed right in front of them and the slough went flying over their heads and over the cliffs to their backs. Brad stayed above the release point and was safe. Jessica sent Todd down to safe zone and stayed in the danger zone to keep guiding. I followed skier's tracks as instructed. I heard on Miller's radio what happened and he stayed super calm. It was reassuring but I knew what was up. I skied out cautiously looking for safe zones. I made one turn on the face and saw a crack spread skier's right. I stayed left and then on my next turn, it all ripped out. Another class 2. I stayed high and augered my fists into the snow. The slide tore through the rocks below me moving skier's left of Jessica. Cool, I didn't bury her. I skied the slide bed down to safety. Next came Miller and he also ripped out a big slab and this one was the biggest of the day. Check out the photo of Miller's slide barreling towards Jessica. After we all were down we breathed a sigh of relief. Our collective calm helped us out. We all knew what was going on and the severity of the situation. The Miller and the Baker together are super solid. Brad put together another superstar team like last week and today it showed. We were lucky. We had a great day and some really great runs and ramps. Reindeer Sausage and Billy North to close out the set was perfect. But it was unstable out there. Our prayers are with Eric Henderson, the French guy's family and the snowmobilers familes too. 

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