went out today for some backcountry snowboarding. not too far backcountry; frontcountry is how i typically refer to it as it is the front range of the Chugach that frames the Anchorage bowl. we finally got snow in town this past weekend, Sunday night specifically, even though the mountains have been covered for a week now. snow in town means more up high and with what promised to be better coverage i figured that i could get some first tracks in at best, at worst do some conditioning for getting first tracks later in the season.
looking up from the pullout it didn't look super promising. decent drifts on the lower part of the slope but up high i could see a lot of exposed rocks. i started up in snowshoes anyway hoping for the best. as i climbed i watched for a line that would allow me to ride from the top of the peak. at about the 2/3 point though i considered ditching the board as all i could see on the top third of the peak were rocks. a little more climbing and i realized that i could connect the upper part of the peak two bowl with the deeper drifts i had been hiking up through, but the peak itself had little snow. i decided to tag the top anyway.
the view from the top of peak two looking south into the powerline valley is one of my favs. from left to right you can see The Ramp, The Wedge, Avalanche Peak, and Ptarmigan Peak. i had to downclimb from this point to connect to the open snow a little lower in the bowl.
Jackson (the dog) wasn't sure what was up as i unloaded my board and strapped in. he whined and paced nervously. i assured him everything would be fine, just not to run in front of me. we had an almost unfortunate event 2 winters ago the first time i took him backcountry riding. he had his paws almost sliced off when he abruptly stopped in front of me as i was going full throttle downhill. i ended up completely yard-saleing in an attempt to avoid him that time. this time however he heeded my warning and kept a good distance to one side or the other, only once cutting in front of me on a slower section.
the ride down was decent, not great for snow conditions but great to be getting a first run of the season in. as i picked my way down i attempted to connect the deeper drifted areas to make a continuous downhill run. it worked for the most part, i only heard my snowboard base scrape rocks a handful of times.
nothing like an early season run to get your blood pumping, legs aching, and beard freezing. made me appreciative of the mess of wiry hair matter blanketing my baby face. i would've had some serious wind/snow burn otherwise. thank heavens for no-shave November, and thank God for SNOW!