Tailgate Alaska

Tales from the World Freeride Festival in Alaska.

Tailgate Alaska: Day 10 - Don't hate at Tailgate, snowskate until the weather breaks.


I woke up on day 10 of Tailgate Alaska to total greybird skies. It seemed unlikely that anything was going to go down, even Big Mountain Taxi was grounded; the light was really too flat to see any terrain features whatsoever. I've learned, from watching the movie “Lines”, that when in Alaska, you should expect strings of days like this. The trick is finding something to do on them. That became my mission, to find something to do on the middle of Thompson Pass when everyone is either too tired or hungover from the previous night's festivities to want to do anything.

Tailgate Alaska: Day 9 - Easter Showers


The NOAA forecast for Valdez on Sunday called for snow showers in town, and snow in the Pass. This time they were right because I woke up on day 9 of Tailgate to see snow falling to the ground. On the one hand I was glad since the Pass could use a little bit of cover to bury the tracks from the past week, but on the other hand I was a bit disappointed because it meant I couldn't go snowboarding. However, since it was Easter Sunday, I thought I should go to town anyway to call my family and wish them a happy Easter. While I was at it, I decided that Sunday was a good day to bathe, and since the forecast was calling for showers in Valdez, I similarly forecast a shower of my own.

Tailgate Alaska Day 8 - Return of the King


The King of the Hill is a contest that was started by Nick Perata in the 90s. Although the last one was held ten years ago, it seems like the time is ripe for the return of the big mountain snowboarding contests as is evidenced by the growing popularity of the North Face Masters series. Tailgate Alaska seems like the perfect event to bring back one of the original big mountain snowboarding contests: the King of the Hill. With the backing of big name sponsors such as The North Face, Recco, and Flow Snowboards this will be the first, of hopefully many, King of the Hill events in the years to come.

Tailgate Alaska day 7 - So long and thanks for all the fish.


I woke up on day seven of Tailgate Alaska to bluebird skies, however, I decided not to fly for two reasons: 1) I had worked my shoulder the day before taking a nose dive in the sun crust, and 2) I wanted to get some runs in with the New York boys who were heading back to Anchorage the following day to catch their flight home. So I gave up my spot on the heli list to Gabe, and got some chips for the Big Mountain Taxi to do a few runs with Paul and Rob instead. George decided to go into Valdez to do some fishing and we planned to meet up with him later on at the Totem Inn before heading to some planned festivities at the Pipeline Club later that night. Hopefully the boy's last night in Alaska would be a good one.