Tailgate Alaska

Tales from the World Freeride Festival in Alaska.

Tailgate Alaska 2011: Hurry up and Wait

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I recently attended the 2011 installment of the World Freeride Festival. This annual festival takes place on Thompson Pass in Alaska, and draws riders from all over the world to tailgate and ride some of the sickest terrain on the planet; hence its name, Tailgate Alaska. A friend told me that the problem with going to Tailgate Alaska is that you end up being compelled to return every year. My response to him was: so what's the problem? As it turns out, he was exactly right.

Map: Show me the way to AK

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Tailgate Alaska officially kicked off yesterday (7PM AKDT) at mile post 29.5 on Richardson Highway. The bad news for me is that I'm writing about it while sitting in the flat eastern timezone. However, my official departure for AK is not too far off — less than seven days away — so I'm not too bummed about it either. It will give me a bit more time for some last minute preparations before I leave; like securing a good map for example.

Tailgate Resolutions for The Last Frontier

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The January issue of Backcountry Magazine arrived in my mailbox this week. During my initial flip through to determine which articles would most interest me, I came across an ad for Alyeska Resort in Alaska. The full page ad consisted of a picture of skier Clint Butler riding in fresh pow, presumably at Alyeska resort, with the caption: Alaska, the last frontier. This bothered me somewhat, especially when I read the rest of the copy in the ad: "Package includes four-nights lodging at the Hotel Alyeska plus 3-day lift ticket and breakfast each morning for two." This seemed kinda like riding in the camera car in the Tour de France and claiming to have participated; hardly the last frontier I imagine when I think of Alaska.

Expedition: Alaska - Chapter 1

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While I was in Alaska for the World Freeride Festival (better known as Tailgate Alaska), I brought along a GoPro HD Hero camera to document the occasion. I wound up taking more than four hours of video footage while I was there — which might have been more were it not for dying batteries and filled up memory cards — so in the last few weeks I've been sorting through it and putting it together for your enjoyment. The following video is the first chapter of the Shred Labs: Expedition Alaska video series.