After many years of research, Joe Stock of Anchorage, AK has recently published a new guidebook titled “The Alaska Factor – Backcountry Skiing in Southcentral Alaska.” It’s a full-color beauty and well worth adding to your guidebook collection.
The Alaska Factor mainly focuses on areas that are day or weekend trips from the Anchorage area, but also throws in a few select tours in the foothills of the Alaska Range, which were probably just too good to leave out. The cool thing about this book and area in general is that any of these areas would be worthy of a destination trip by themselves, but they are also great day fillers if you’ve been weathered out of a longer Alaskan trip and are looking to squeeze in a few days of skiing. Classic zones like Girdwood, Turnagain Pass and Hatcher Pass are covered, and unlike other cheese-ball guidebooks, Joe actually has topo maps and directions for how to get there.
Most, if not all of the lines in this book are below 10,000′, which means you don’t have to deal with the joys of altitude sickness. In the Girdwood area, many of the peaks top out at under 3,000′, but in true AK style, you can still ski monster runs that almost take you all the way down to sea level.
Another cool thing about this area is that you get the full Alaska experience, yet on a budget. It is a great place to gain some experience with glaciers, route finding, crevasses and avalanche assessments while still being able to stay in a hut or hotel.
The Alaska Factor is 144 pages of solid information and plenty of skiing stoke-ography. It is available on Joe’s website site or at select Anchorage retailers. Highly recommended.