Tuesday, February 01, 2005

PS New month... New experience.

Yeah it's huge... No I didn't crap my pants..
copyright castillo 2005

It happens to be the first of the month... WELCOME FEBRUARY!!! Figured with all the dormant times in the dorm there were mountains that needed to be skied somewhere; and although it was a dangerous job, I knew I could count on the A-team to make a journey into a world I have previously only dreamed about.

Mission: Ski Alyeska, one of the swankest resorts (second only to backcountry or heli skiing) in the Anchorage area. Come back to tell the tail...

Here I am... We departed early morning which for us was like nine something, which still mind you is before the sun rises. Drove another AMAZING stretch of highway... From Anchorage to Girdwood, (Seward highway)... ( the only highway in and out of Anchorage, you can't miss it, and if you do, well then I'd like to shake your hand). The camera was in the back of the vehicle so I have no coverage of this... Lame I know, I will learn my lesson one of these days. So imagine driving with some type of frozen inlet (IMMENSE ICE CHUNKS floating all about) to your right with marvelous snow capped mountains rising from all over da place. Even next to the winding road that follows the shoreside's every move moutains shoot up into the azure sky. And to top it off its geting lighter and the sun is peaking over the peaks... It was one of the most delicious things I have seen since our climbing experience at arctic valley... There will definitely be a photo gathering mission on that stretch shortly. Also I've come to realize that Alaskans bank on tourists... Why? Along side the road you will see signs like, "ROCK" 'oh, wow, honey wake the kids? Can you believe this? A ROCK right by the side of the road, the people at work are going to be sooo jealous - I AM SO GLAD WE DID THIS!!!' So maybe that was an exaggeration, but seriuosly there are a plethora of signs that have a camera icon advertisting senic overlooks. The last thing I want when I am traveling 65 mph on a windy road with mountains to the left and water to the right is someone slammin on the brakes to read a sign... Personally, I like the "AVALANCHE AREA DO NOT STOP next 5 miles" Why? because I just fathom people parked on the side of the road with binoculars look up to summits... "Did you see that one? Don't worry it'll be here soon..." Ok, I'll stop, its been a long day...

Onto Alyeska... This resort is pretty sweet, big run, small run... not so much actually all the runs are quite long. Nice and groomed, or headwallish and not groomed. Picture looking up... Riding a Chairlift and then looking up some more. You gain some FEET with this monster. They even have a tram! How cool is that? So the day started off cold, and ended cold, teens, negative near the top, but heck that'll happen in the winter...

Suited up, headed out road the chairlift. I have never been so high in my life, off the ground on a chairlift that is. Almost erie at times, when the wind blew it felt like accupuncture on your face, only the kind that hurts... It rips at any exposed flesh, and the sun with all its power can do little to quell the wind's appetite. The runs... STEEP, maybe they weren't that steep, some of them were as described on another website "will make you wish you were wearing depends" I can vouch for that. Anything in the midwest that is a black diamond... Is a joke out here, that's like a blue square that continues for over a mile. When you fall, which I did my fair share of today. You don't stop, you slide down, down, down the hillside until you realize you haven't ceased to move and find something to self arrest yourself with. Skis work well, provided they stay on, but if your slidin' on yo' belly with a snowboard behind you or over your head you'd better turn your arse around and dig that tail edge into the moutain, or you'll soon see how well that waterproof breathable material works as a sled. I don't even want to talk about the black diamonds here or double blacks... I already went into a catatonic state once today just thinking about it and I fear going comatose if I tell you any more tales... Needless to say I am not ready for that type of commitment to the ER anytime soon, nor do I think that Columbian Life Insurance is willing to admit I am one of their clients after the fact.

All in all it was a good day. Feel the deep burn... I say deep because the burn, its so deep in the quadriceps... Making me wish I wasn't so intense with my academicitious first semester and spent more time in the gym inflating those pistons/ shock absorbers... All in due time. Have no asperations of being a ski bum... (parents breath a sigh of relief...) yet anyway... The day retired with a beautiful pink sunset reflecting off the mountains and myself taking a few rides on the snowboard which one of the suitemates was using during the day. At one point I did catch my toe edge and was sent plowing down some run towards a horizon line, realizing I was fixing to die I swam as hard as I could, (looking humorous I am sure) towards safety. It turned out I wasn't that close to death, but when you've been out for the past many hours and a long day persued, anything's possible right?

Hope that its warmer than tis here in your neck of the woods...
No life's worth more than any other, no sister worth less than any brother...-Michael Franti

It's your world...Capture it.

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