Anchorage skiers delighted with heavy September snowfall –



APU athlete Becca Rorabaugh skis over Anchorage on September 25, 2021. (Photo: Instagram screenshot)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A fall survey of people with early snow falls somewhere between a trope and a cliché in these pages. Consider, for example, “Start of the season at Hatcher Pass: a photographic essay, “Snow at the start of the season: an overview of the photos,” Where “Alaskan people revel in October skiing at Hatcher Pass, Birch Hill“(with photos). You can feel a theme here.

But the first snow dates in these articles are October 6, October 14, and October 15. How would you like to read this same article, but put together – * scratch record * – September?

All that to say it snowed in Anchorage over the weekend. A lot. Like, up to 16 to 20 inches a lot. Like, knee-deep on Reese Hanneman a lot. As the the local office of the National Meteorological Service explained, “the humidity of [Cook Inlet and the] The Gulf of Alaska was pushed against the Chugach Mountains in what is called an upflow. The cooling of the air as it moved up the terrain, combined with a constant influx of moisture and higher level support, created the large scattering of snow totals on the east side of town. and in the Chugach Front Range.

Local skiers, from Olympians to weekend warriors, knew what to do with the results of abundant humidity and fresh air. Friday morning training for the APU elite team has turned into classic 2 hour snow skiing. On Saturday afternoon, Scott Patterson and David Norris recorded a classic 3.5 hour ski OD on the Hillside trail system. For their second workout of the day. Many athletes went backcountry skiing on Friday, then downhill skiing on Saturday, hurtling down the slopes of Arctic Valley before slashing nearly two feet of fresh snow. As former FasterSkier reporter Nat Herz captioned a Saturday Instagram story from Arctic Valley, nodding to less salubrious real-world concerns, “Alaska: Highest number of Covid people in the country. Best fucking September ski anywhere.

If ski racing in September with every Alaskan hospital rationing care and patients dying for lack of ventilation was surreal – and it was – then so were ski trails. from Hillside, at the east end of Anchorage, and seeing nothing but bare land on the west side of town. Due to some weather oddities in an area with nearby mountains and ocean and the potential for remarkable microclimates, it snowed literally zero inches anywhere west of the Seward Highway, which roughly cuts Anchorage. The views of the snow-capped mountains from Kincaid Park, the city’s other main northern area, were world-class, but none of that snow reached sea level in Kincaid.

Geographically speaking, the distance of “Trace” of snow on this map at “16.5 inches” is approximately eight miles as the crow flies, with each end point of this line easily visible from each other. Concretely, you can ski in the morning under snow-covered trees, then run, or go mountain biking, or even roller skiing in the afternoon, on dry slopes under magnificent full colors. (Most of the leaves are still on the trees, except for the ones that recently collapsed under the heavy snow load. Because it’s still September.) It was like Bend in the spring, but without the altitude or sunscreen.

Finally, a brief history lesson. On September 24, 2000, an aspiring pro Nordic skier named Cory Smith reveled in a fall snowstorm that allowed him to do loops on a Park City golf course before he one day melted at 60 °. “A three hour OD on snow in September! Unheard of ”, exclaimed Smith. his Proto-Nordic blog.

Over the next two decades, Smith grew closer to the 2002 US Olympic team, but ultimately did not make the 2002 US Olympic team, an obscure website called found. , retired from professional skiing and moved to Anchorage, where he coded a simple yet effective and widely used code. website used for user generated ski slope reports. On September 24, 2021, he would write on “Hillside is very skiable. It’s slush so waxless rock skis are the way to go. But if you want a real WTF experience of September (really fantastic winter), go a little higher. There is about 2 feet of snow and a nice ski trail from the Upper O’Malley trailhead to Glen Alps. ”

Please enjoy this selection of recent photos from a truly fantastic Anchorage winter experience (plus two bonus photos of Fairbanks snow at the end). All images are screenshots of their respective Instagram photos or stories, posted at some point between Friday and Sunday.

Associated reading:

“A summer without snow: athletes and coaches for a year without summer skiing”, FasterSkier, October 2020

“Summer Ski Odyssey Reveals Decaying Dreams in Italy”, FasterSkier, August 2013


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