A Tour of the Last Frontier

It was the end of February 2018.  As the snow piled out of control in Revelstoke, I was surprised to not be out skiing every day.  I was not sick or injured or fed up with skiing. Quite the opposite. I was planning a trip I have been dreaming of since I started downhill skiing as a young girl. Back then, skiing in Lac Beauport at -20 on warm days, I remember thinking that one day I would go ski the big mountains of Alaska. That little girl’s dream stayed in my mind and finally everything lined up to make that dream come true.

In early March, after spending countless hours transforming our camping trailer into a cozy winter nest, we hit the road in style.

The rig

Turns out Revelstoke is quite a ways from Alaska so we were itching to get out after 2 very long days on the road. Fortunately, we made it to Bell 2 on the Cassier Highway for a few days of couloir skiing. 

Bell 2

After 2 more full days on the road and we arrived in Thompson Pass, Alaska in a complete snowstorm. Completely exhausted and secretly a little bummed to be in such crazy whiteout, we pulled over at the first pullout and went to bed hoping for improved conditions by morning.  At sunrise, the clouds magically opened unveiling what in my kid’s mind I could have never imagined. 

Thompson Pass

We found endless mountains, hundreds of ski lines, and countless couloirs. I thought to myself, “Girl, you just died and woke up in paradise”. We stayed at Thompson Pass for about 10 days, skiing an average of 3 couloirs a day, returning tired and happy home cook meals and warm fireplace back at the camper.

Thompson Pass
After spending day after day couloir skiing and steep face skiing (see story here) we welcomed a travel day on the ferry from Valdez to Whittier. Unfortunately, the conditions on the Kenai Peninsula and around Girdwood were not what we had hpe for.  After a couple of attempts in the area and a necessary pit stop at Mary Lou’s Liquor to hear the “Hardcore Alaskan” grizzly bear fight story, we carried on to a little hidden gem: Hatcher Pass.
Hatcher Pass

It seems like we had found the perfect playground for grownups… snowmobile access lines, multiple couloirs, and big, steep, open faces. 

Hatcher Pass

We found a nice quiet spot for our cozy camper and climbed summits and couloirs for a week under sunshine and deep blue skies.

Hatcher Pass

We also got the weather window to complete the Bomber Traverse in 1 day: a 21 miles ski traverse covering some amazing peaks and glaciers and the wreckage of a plane crash from 1957. The Bomber Traverse was the highlight of our stay in Hatcher Pass.

Bomber Traverse

We skied so much, my feet would not fit in my boots anymore. After 25 days of exploring different zones, meeting some pretty funny characters, and being on the road, it felt like we only scratched the surface of the last frontier.

On the road again

It was time to hit the road again, and just outside of Haines Junction we literally almost hit the largest moose I had ever seen.

My little girl’s mind was right about wanting to ski the far mountains of Alaska but my woman’s mind craved to return having witnessed such endless potential.

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