2012-2013 Ski Season Edit


I know, I know, the ski season is far from over and for me it is really just beginning as the steeps stabilize and access roads melt out. Nonetheless, I figure I should share the footage I collected over the winter in addition to telling the story of how I blew my knee out over a year ago with everyone. So enjoy some helmet cam footage of powder skiing in Southwest Montana.

Music by David Bowie (duh!)

Advertisements

We interrupt this broadcast…


I figured that this is a ski website and all I have done is post tropical pictures. Well, I have been skiing and here is proof.

Last weekend up on Hollywood Wall in Frasier Basin.

The Off Season in Northern California


So summer is supposedly supposed to be winding down, but temperatures here in Redding are the highest they have been so far this year. I made the following edit in the enjoyment of air conditioning. So sit back for a few minutes and enjoy some of my summer activities…

Hotlum-Wintun Ridge – Mt. Shasta


It’s looking like an early start to the ski season for me out here in California. With temperatures in the valley consistently in 90-100s but abundant snow on the nearby volcanoes, skiing is perfect for cooling off. In a chance encounter I met a couple of Redding skiers on a solo mission to Mt. Lassen, who dragged me up Mt. Shasta last weekend.

We planned to ski Mt. Lassen but at the last minute we changed plans to head up to the Brewer Creek trailhead on the East side of 14,179′ Mount Shasta. Our crew consisted of Jason, Nick, Nick’s two sons Andrew, 15, and Gabe, 13, and myself. Andrew and Gabe were on their first big mountaineering mission and kicked ass, reaching 11,000′.

I was armed with an awful hangover and a 40 lbs pack, and we began the approach around 11 am on Saturday morning. The Brewer Creek trail dragged on as it needlessly switchbacks up the gently sloping base of Mt. Shasta.,

14,179 Mt. Shasta from the Brewer Creek Trail

Our goal was to ski the tantalizing couloir that drops from the summit onto the Wintun Glacier. At the right time of year this is the longest continuous ski decent in the lower 48. But after leaving the trail at treeline and beginning the climb up the Hotlum-Wintum ridge, the shear immensity of The Mountain in combination with a lack of fitness would make a serious summit bid improbable.

After an all day death march up the lower mountain, we pitched camp on a moraine at about 10,000′ elevation.

After a full day of climbing the summit still seems far away. It was sort of discouraging climbing for hours feeling like you were going nowhere.

Nick Akimoff at camp during sunset.

It turned out to be a beautiful night, with a great sunset and a full moon. There were very strong winds during the night, but they did not bother me as I was bivouacked under some rocks. However, it was a long, noisy night for everyone else sleeping in tents.

Full moonrise as night falls.

The full moon would have made for some fun climbing, but strong winds kept us hunkered down for the night.

Everyone was awake around 7 a.m., and after we ate breakfast and broke camp, we started climbing around 8:30 am. Both the boys had mild altitude sickness but made an impressive push to 11,000′. It was fun to climb with Gabe and Andrew and they did way better than I would have at their age. Nick stayed with his sons and Jason and I pushed higher, hoping to reach the top of the Hotlum-Wintum ridge where we would still get a 5,000′ mid-August ski descent.

Gabe Akimoff starts the climb up Mt. Shasta

Jason leading the way.

Andrew Akimoff reaching 11,000'. He was feeling well but felt it was better to hang back with Gabe, who was really having trouble with the altitude.

Jason Foust reaching the top of the climb. We skied from around 12,800' and skied to around 8,000' for 4,800' vertical on August 14th.

Thick clouds were rolling in and out by the time we reached the top of our climb. We spent some time resting and waiting for a sucker hole to ski down in. We finally had our chance and we rode about 2,000′ of perfect corn. Just below 11,000′ the snow went from good to Volkswagen size suncups. My brain rattled around in my head as I skied over the suncups to our gear cache. Here, we loaded our packs and skied the remaining 2,000′ of sun affected snow to the trail. Then we slogged back to the trailhead and reached the car around 3 p.m.

Jason snowboarding below the summit buttress of Mt. Shasta

Jason riding into the building clouds.

For the full descent check out the video below.

Thanks Colorado, it was short


As I alluded to in my previous post I recently moved from sparsely populated western Colorado, to a “small” Northern California city named Redding. I moved here because of a job opportunity but there are plenty of fun recreational options, including fly fishing within a 5 minute bike ride, mountain biking from town, 2 cascade volcanoes within an 1 1/2 hour drive, and Squallywood a weekend trip away.

Gunnison was fun, but it was a little too small, and a lack of employment options left my fiance and I a little stranded. I had a great couple of months living the ski bum’s life collecting unemployment as documented in previous videos. So, without further adieu, here is my perspective of January 2011, my last month in Colorado.


Music: Lightsonic, by Groove Armada

Sweet epicness brah! Silverton ’10


In an attempt to start a new family tradition, my dad, two brothers and I, all met up after Christmas to ski Silverton Mountain Resort in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Silverton is special to my family as my parents, Zack, and I all lived there in the mid-80’s (I don’t remember much because I was only 2 at the time), so it is cool to go back and hear my dad’s old stories.

We picked my older brother up at the Grand Junkyard airport around 10 pm Christmas night, his flight from Bozeman was only a little delayed because of the underwear bomber, and booked it south to spend the night in Ridgeway. Arriving after midnight, we all drank a celebratory beer and passed out to wake up early for the hour drive to the first place I ever lived, Silverton, Colorado.

Main Street Silverton. A road to paradise.

We arrived early for some coffee and eggs then drove to the shady and cold base area of Silverton. After doing the mandatory check in and buying our tickets we busted up the double chair to go ski some glades on Dolores.

Looking through the trees at the Prospects backcountry zone

My dad makes it look a lot better than it was.

The snow on Dolores was not the best and we got worried after a marginal first run. We skied down for another lap and went and skied Colorado, a run with a slightly different aspect and found great snow. We explored the rest of the day and watched the Heli, drop skiers off on peaks all around the ski area.

About as close to heli skiing my older brother and dad have ever been.

My dad catches a little air coming off a headwall

My little brother, Jon, shreds some powder with my dad watching.

Jon milks some powder at the end of our first day of skiing.

After finding where the best snow was on Saturday, we stuck around Sunday to lap the best snow I’ve skied all season. We headed straight up to Rope-Dee and dropped a tight and steep slot to ski some hero snow.

My little brother slashes over some exposure above Rope-Dee

My older brother, Zack sends a cornice at Silverton Mountain Resort.

Jon gets nice and deep on the Rope-Dee run

Zack teaches the powder a lesson in slayage 101

Zack ripping up some soft snow

Zack jumps over some trees off a windlip

One last hike for the day. Another awesome trip and as always had too much fun skiing.

Finally huge thanks to my Grandma Kay for sponsoring us on this trip. Thank you grandma!

My dad called it a day early while the brothers and I took a couple more laps. I borrowed my little brother’s POV cam that we poorly mounted onto my helmet for the last run of the trip. Below is an edit of the run, it’s pretty silly.