Some readers have inquired as to the fate of poor Nelly. She was abandoned in a remote Alaskan valley, below the road, and braving the fifty year storm. Indeed, a sad and a tragic turn of events for the mighty blue wonder.
After having to leave her overnight, Oskar, Mark, and I rallied in the morning for a rescue mission, and hopefully some more pillows.
- plastic air-vent
- plastic air-vent, again
- plastic air-vent, yet again
- two Ford F-350 transmissions
- two Canon battery chargers
- two radios
- one harness
- one Ford F-350 windshield
- 800 Rev right front suspension including the much discussed flying nun.
- one Yamaha pod
- one Arctic Cat 900 choke
- four ski poles
- four flat tires(one truck, three trailer)
- one Toyota clutch
- one tool box.
We left Abbotsford intent on pushing as far north as possible. Leaving town, It was snowing so hard that the perimeters of the road and the lane markers disappeared in a matter of minutes. Progress was slow and close to midnight, we joined a domino-like stack of semis who were waiting for a jack-knifed truck to be cleared from the two lane road. Tired from the long push, we all napped in the right lane and around 4 am woke to the sound of horns as semis honked a migratory cry. The road was clear.
Just when we thought the storm was going to break, another system would pop, and bring yet more pulses of snow. Snowed in, we were anxious to start branching out and begin learning the different zones in the area.
Enter Woody Pahl: son of our landloard Dave Pahl, local high school senior, and maniac on his sled. Woody inspired us with tales of dreamy terrain and easy access to Flower Mountain.
Flower is a beautiful peak visible from the highway and home to uber world class heliskiing descents like Hangover Helper, Indy 5000, and Mahogany.
When we showed up at the Haines House, the pipes were frozen. No toilet, no shower, and the occasional spurt of running water-true Powder Road style.
The Haines House operates from three possible heat sources, all of which can be used in synergistic unison.
1. Diesel Heater
2. The Wood Stove
3. Sweaty Latin Dance Party
With all the down days stacking up, the crew showed impressive inefficiency. We had a hard time getting out the door before nightfall. Photos needed to be taken.
Patrik, who came for the skiing, ended up as a mechanic, and once again, the number of days he had left for this trip were dwindling.
Patrik and I needed to shoot some images, even if the snow never stopped falling and the light remained grey.
The second to last run of the day. It had been a fun day, and everyone was feeling good, so we decided to engage in a bit of shenanigans.
Gliding through the woods, our group of four came to a thick, fallen tree wedged up against another of its tree brethren. Fallen at a forty-five degree angle, it was seemingly the perfect ramp: you could ski up the log, then air off it. Conveniently, the ramp tree was wedged high enough so there was plenty of space for someone to ski right beneath it.
One comes to Haines, Alaska to confront their personal demons on aesthetic, heavy big mountain lines. With snow that glues itself to seventy degree spines, It's the capital of the snowy planet for that kind of jazz.
Typically, tree skiing and Haines aren't used in the same sentence, but in one of life's little surprises, we found ourselves on a pillow hunt during the Fifty Year Storm.
Oskar and Mark showed up in Alaska with more camera gear than a mid-town fashion studio. Huge black cases overflowed from the trailer.
There were enough lenses to shoot the Superbowl. Their accessories are numerous and interesting. Like a club of Dungeon and Dragonistas, these guys trade 'pocket wizards' and 'slaves'.
From the Haines House, it's a short snort up the driveway to where the Lower School House Road intersects Mosquito Lake Road. Take a right, and then another quarter mile down the road puts you just above Mosquito Lake- a quick five minute jaunt.
A good sized body of water that stretches a couple of miles in total length, Mosquito Lake features a series of sections and dogleg bends that make you feel like you are entering new, secluded sub lakes everytime you pass a new kink in the topography.