It's that time of year again. Fall segued nicely into winter. This year's batch of ski bums have trickled in full of anticipation. Most have bounced from snow town to snow town, starting in the East on the ice in minus temps, then heading west. They soak up the sun in the Rockies while learning to absorb miles of moguls. Often they stop over in the Wasatch for the "Greatest Snow on Earth." Great snow, three or four steep turns, and 3.2 beer. Yuck. Or maybe Wyoming with its couloir and its social scene.
Eventually the ski bums get to AK and its coastal ranges jutting right out of the ocean. Broad peaks with big ramps too steep to hold snow most places abound here. High winds plaster snow against the mountains while snow sliders dig out their gear and curse themselves for not waxing the boards in July when they finally gave up skiing for the year or dealing with the funky construction like ten feet of sewer pipe outside of the house.
The snowguns crank out a base to get us started and get us through the inevitable bouts we'll have with rain. The darkness limits travel time so we all share the few places one can get to and back from without getting slapped by alders we didn't see. We stare longingly from the ridge to all the future lines beyond but remember we need to wrap the pipe with heat tape and insulate it or tomorrow morning's dump will be in the bathtub, too.