Back from Alaska

| October 27, 2009 | 5 Comments

I made it back from a quick trip to Alaska where, once again, I had a great time. I love that state.  Thanks to Joe Stock and all of the Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center, the slideshow on skiing the AK Family was a success and raised a sizeable whack of cash for the avalanche center.  Many people take their local avalanche centers for granted, but having worked at one for a season, their very existence is always tenuous.  If they do too good a job and nobody gets hurt, they are one of the first to get chopped for state funding, so they often have to rely on outside funding (such as Friends groups), to supplement their annual expenses.  Nobody is getting rich off of avalanche forecasting and it is a labor of love for almost everyone involved in it.

I had planned on spending a day skiing while I was up there, but… there’s no snow.  Instead, I went for a hike up Flat Top with Joe and although it was lightly raining, the Big Boy and his Old Lady were sticking out.

Sultana on the left and Denali on the right with Anchorage in the foreground.

Sultana on the left and Denali on the right with Anchorage in the foreground.

It was fun to give a talk about skiing them the night before and then see them poking out from the skyline like old buddies the next day.  Denali, Hunter and Sultana are three of my all time favorite skiing peaks and it was bittersweet to think that I don’t really have a compelling reason to return there any time soon.  I’m sure I’ll think of something.  ;)

Joe in his element on Flat Top.

Joe in his element on Flat Top. Come on Joe - at least pretend like you are having fun...

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About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (5)

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  1. Rich Meyer says:

    Hey Andrew,
    Rich Meyer checking in from the Left Coast. Although this is my first “comment” on Straight Chuter I’m a dedicated reader when I’m home. Good stuff by the way… Especially the occasional dig on us ski – guide guys… Love those!
    Since you are down with all the suffering avalanche centers around the country, how would you like to post up a flyer for my little fundraiser here in Berkeley. (Nov 18th) Be happy to send details and a digital poster… This will be the 3rd annual avalanche awareness presentation at Clif Bar HQ, in Berkeley CA. Last year we had about 100 folks come out and raised over $800 for the Mt. Shasta Avalanche Center… This is not a party or another movie premiere. This is more like a free venue for Bay area skiers to get a little taste of BC education…(and stoke!) Just some basics…. Then we do a raffle to raise some cash…

  2. Andrew says:

    Hi Rich – I’d love to put something up about the fundraiser, but send it quick as I’m taking off soon!

  3. duggaboy says:

    The packrafting was good that day, but then anything with Joe’s good.

  4. d3 says:

    You said:
    Many people take their local avalanche centers for granted, but having worked at one for a season, their very existence is always tenuous.

    because YOU worked at one renders them tenuous or … what?

    i kid, i KID!

  5. Andrew says:

    Freudian slip… or harsh fact? You decide. :)

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