VIDEO: BD athlete Christian Bless big mountain tele skiing in Alaska
Black Diamond athlete Christian Bless filmed this POV footage during a spring trip to the Chugach with Alaska Backcountry Adventures and enst it to us along with this report.
Sensational snow, breathtaking peaks, blue ice, smiling ski bums and a helicopter… isn’t this every freeriders dream? My dream of skiing in Alaska came true last month with an unreal trip to the Chugach Mountains of Alaska. I made a last minute call to the Black Diamond European Ski Team Manager, Dan Caruso—who’s been a heli-ski guide up there forever at Alaska Backcountry Adventures (ABA)—and the dream became a reality. We sat in our rented motorhome, parked right next to two helicopters and got ready to fly into paradise.
Our first day at Thompson Pass was bluebird! Not a cloud in the sky and fresh powder everywhere. Dan showed us some local secret spots with steep couloirs, deep untracked and gleaming glaciers. All that I’ve learned about avalanche protocol here in Europe seemed to be irrelevant, as we dropped into super-steep terrain with deep snow just sticking perfectly to it. 50cm of fresh, cold smoke sat on the 50° shoulder of the ice-riddled run known as New World. Dan says “Keep an eye on me” as he drops into the steepest, most exposed line I’ve ever stood on top of, and he proceeds to make perfect, effortless turns and vanishes in a swirls of white smoke.
As the weeks rolled on, the sun and bluebird skis stayed and we ventured deeper into the Chugach, dropping into all the classics and eventually even skiing the pinnacle peak of the range, Meteorite! The locals tell me that we showed up for the best weather-window in the last decade, and it doesn’t get any better than this. It’s hard to explain just how breathtaking and adrenalin-infused this whole experience has been. Dave ‘The Wave’ Muccino and Happy Rintala, two veteran guides at ABA invited us to a barbeque where we met other freeriders and a few redneck snowmobilers to round out our “Alaska cultural experience,” making this truly a trip of a lifetime.