Tailgate Alaska

Tales from the World Freeride Festival in Alaska.

Tailgate Alaska Day 6 - Flat light city


I woke up on day six of Tailgate Alaska freezing my butt off. Apparently the heat in the RV stopped working again so getting out of my sleeping bag was a tedious affair. On the plus side, the sky was looking only slightly overcast, similar to the morning conditions on Tuesday. I was hoping the sun would burn away some of the clouds and we would get to go up. The ABA guides seemed positive about it so the decision was made to fly on day six.

Tailgate Alaska Day 5 - Not on my ship


Wednesday in Thompson Pass turned out to be a down weather day. Even though it looked promising when I woke up, which compelled me to get my gear together and walk over to the helipad, it didn't take long for the window to blow over and for clouds to roll in. When I got the official word from the ABA guys that Wednesday was going to be a day for “window shopping” (i.e. waiting for windows in which to fly), I decided it would be a good opportunity to drive the RV into town to get gas and a few supplies.

Tailgate Alaska day 4 - It's better to be annoyed than dead


I woke up on Tuesday morning to what looked like overcast skies. Even though I didn't think the helicopters would be flying, I decided to get geared up anyway. I put on all my snowboarding stuff, my climbing harness, avalanche transceiver, and loaded some Clif Bars and water into my pack and made it over to the village area. This was a good decision as it happens, because what looked like clouds was actually valley fog which was quickly burned off by the sun. By 9AM, the skies were starting to look bluebird and the helis were getting ready to fly.

Tailgate Alaska days 2 and 3 - Welcome to Valdez


I woke up early on day two of my Tailgate Alaska adventure, but since Anchorage is a whole four hours behind Ottawa, it felt a hell of a lot later than it was. First on the agenda was to finish the paperwork that I needed to do to get my rental motorhome on the road. While I was at it, I met up with a few other tailgaters that were renting their own RVs and also making the drive to Valdez later that day. Paul, Rob, and George from New York in one RV, Justin from parts unknown in another. I hadn't even made it to Valdez yet and already I was making friends, and each one of those guys seemed just as stoked as I was to get out to the frontier land and do some snowboarding.