I finally got the chance to look at my photos from my Haines trip with Alaska Heliskiing, as I start to put the shots together for my Poor Boyz Segment. This trip to AK was my 2nd Heli trip to Haines. Having people like JP, Julien and Pep up there with me helped a ton. When you are trying to get shots, be safe, and push your limits on skis, the dynamic that Poor Boyz has is what makes it all happen. It is also good to be around fun people while most of the days you are not skiing. You are sitting waiting for the sun to pop from behind the coastal clouds so the cameramen can do their job as well as the skier.
I picked out some pictures here that I wanted to talk about, I figured since Haines is such a diverse arena for skiers that I would talk have a photo reference to talk about. A picture is worth a thousand words, and when you are standing ontop of a line, a photo is your lifeline, your map, your only reference to the maze of snow and features that lies below your skis.
This is a Spine that I picked out for one of my runs. It was a feature we hit later in the day, so the landing was a bit in the shade. Even though this looks like a really basic run from here, it was crucial that I had this photo because when I was standing at the top the first turn rolled over a bit and I had no Idea where the spine was. I had to reference the spines on the left that were visible to pinpoint where the spine I desired was. Another tricky thing was planning my turns out so that I didn’t end up to low where the snow starts to ripple and turn rocky at the bottom. There are alot of things to think about even on a smaller line like this. I was not to worried about sluff knowing that it would all funnel fall line where I would already be tricking and landing in the shaded untouched area to the lookers right.
This is Dane, Pep and I standing at the top of a run, after just being dropped off by the helicopter. Some of the runs are not super gnarly, and we all get out together and cruise around and hit features together. These are fun runs, usually there is a cornice or windlip that the filmer sets up on and we each get a hit on.
This was the only fracture I had go on me during the whole trip. It had snowed about 2 feet and the snow was really nice. I actually hit the pillow aiming lookers right so I did not even get caught up in it at all, and it was only the top layer so even if it took me down it wouldn’t have been too scary. I actually skied around the entire sluff and got a glimpse of it as I was riding out, it was loud and looked big but once I skied down and watched the footage I was like, oh that was nothing.
The hardest part of investigating new zones and areas is grasping how big the features are when you will be actually skiing down them. From this angle in the helicopter, about half a mile away, it looks like a regular pillow line. It is not until you get closer and actually stand next to these pillows do you notice that each one of them is the size of a dump truck.
Here I snapped a photo standing at the bottom after I skied this thing. It is the middle line from the photo above, and from this angle where it engulfs the entire photo it looks way bigger right? I have realized that no matter how hard you try and memorize a pillow line like this, your gonna get taken on a wild ride and usually end up on a different track. The fact is when your dancing down the pillows you only see the pillow ahead of you, then the next one then the next one. While your on that pillow your hoping your lined up for the next one, but if your off by a few degrees on one of them its something you have to adjust in the blink of an eye or your gonna be somewhere completely different than what you expected.
This was a cornice that broke off while I was standing above and to lookers left of..(thankfully from a safe vantage point). Seeing this massive cornice fall, the sound it made, the way it tumbled and broke down to the bare rock beneath was a gut wrenching experience. I felt my heart start beating quickly and I hunched to the ground making sure the snow beneath me was actually there. I was too shook to ski my line, I wanted to get to the bottom and to saftey just incase more of the cornice decided to go.
This is all it took to trigger the cornice. I had already crossed safely, we made sure to traverse well below the already prominent crack. It was not until the guide made the second crossing that the snow punched in, just a 200 pound human sliding across on skis was all it took to send thousands of tons of snow down the steep face.
If you want to read more about this cornice fall, Dan Carr did a nice write up on it. You can get his eyewitness account, as he was standing at the bottom and ran from the falling snow.
I am excited to see the new Revolver Teaser, Look out for it soon.
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