Monday, 19 April 2010 by Stefan Gimpl (comments: 0)

Alaska 10

I just got back from a snowboard trip to Alaska. 

Beginning of March when I was anxiously waiting for some fresh snow to fall in Austria I realized that this year is not going to be a great powder season over here in Austria. So I decided shortly to travel to Alaska and to try my luck for powder snowboarding there. 

I didn’t know very much about the place and conditions over there. Of course I have seen it on the videos but it is a long way to really get to the top of the lines in Alaska. 

As luck would have it a few days later Bernd, a friend who interviewed me for TV in October, wrote me an email about his stay in Haines and his experience as an apprentice as a heli guide. A couple of days and emails later I was already in Juneau, Alaska. Bernd generously offered me to stay with him and he organised a bunch as well. 
In Juneau I met some free skiers I have been riding with before (as usual when you go to a snowboard and ski destination). We all had to stay in Juneau overnight because the inland planes wouldn’t fly due to bad weather. Next morning I hopped on a plane to Haines and a few hours later I was already in the helicopter at 33 mile road outside of Haines. 

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Instead of worrying about jetlag I already dropped some nice little spines in South Eastern Alaska. I realized that the mountains are great there and the snow was all time. But after that first day of riding patience was good to have. Weather does not always cooperate in Alaska and it is even harder to forecast. But we were lucky to have a meteorologist living with us in an awesome log cabin without running water just 2 miles next to the helibase. 
Well we called him „Metereolügner“ after a while ☺ (for those who understand German) 
Bad weather program for me was trying to keep up with Bernd (who competed as a junior in cross country skiing) ski touring up the mountains on Haines Pass. Just over the border in Canada. On the second day I already brought my poles (I forgot them first cause I am not used to carry something in my hands other than a golf club or tennis racket). 

Third day I already made it to the peak on Three Guardsmen. And we also had some great pow turns there including a 1000 meter vertical run without any flat parts. 

My legs started to get tired and I was ready for the heli. After hanging around the helibase pretty much every morning we had a great sense for picking the best days for flying with the heli. Bernd and his fellow guide schoolers always supported me with a good crew for riding step terrain. Rob, my favourite guide always found challenging runs for everyone. He made sure to keep the adrenalin flowing. We did do some good runs for sure. 

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the view from Three Guardsmen, splitboarding run

I think in total I did around 30 runs. Indy 5000 was probably the most impressive with a 5000 feet vertical face. For two days we were also shooting photos. Somewhere in between a filmcrew and clients. We didn’t really spent too much helitime with spotting lines and photographer picups. But somehow Hans Gulsvik, our photographer, Bernd and me made it work. (We think so, we haven’t really seen the photos yet but we are confident). 

One other day I flew out with Wolle Nyvelt and the Absinthe film crew. Wolle rode his powsurfer (without bindings). Impressive how he rode it in the powder. 

My last day of Snowboarding around Haines was in Canada again. Just over the border once more but this time with the snowmobiles. Mark Schultz, a former pro snowboarder and Haines local is the man for snowmobile-snowboarding. Being a guide, snowboarder, local knowledge and a pic up with trailer and 4 sleds qualifies for that. He brought us to a face called dinnerbell. Which was my favourite run of the trip. 

I hope that I can show you some pictures from riding those lines soon. I will keep you updated. 

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Caffein, another classic run. a little shorter but steeper! 

Alaska 10
Indy 5000. 5000 feet of vertical drop! One of the amazing runs we did
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