VIDEO and PHOTOS: A European's First Alaska Ski Trip
I’m lying in my cozy sleeping bag. It's warm and nice here. Since the tent is not lit up in its distinctive orange color, I guess there’s no reason to get out. The sun is still hiding behind the ridge east of us. As long as there is no sun, it's cold and I have no business outside. As I relax back into my bag, a song of the Finnish band “22 Pistepirkko” hits my mind:
“Hello sunshine! It’s good to see you
I've been down in a rabbit hole
Hello brightness! Came here to greet you
It's time to rest on my searching stroll”
As I open the zipper of the tent, the first rays of the rising sun touch my face. I leave my rabbit hole, feeling the delicate light warming me. I glance around in a 360 degree move. Not a single cloud spoils the perfect image of blue sky above Chugach Mountains thickly layered with snow. I feel happy. I move over to the kitchen where the odor of freshly brewed coffee teases my nose. I feel even happier.
“Hello jackdaw! I want to tell you,
I'm coming from a place that offered nothing to see
Hello magpie! I was so damn low
I even went to meet the devil at the crossroads
Our group is hiking toward the head of Woodworth Glacier. We hike straight in the direction of the sun at the horizon. We're en route to steep ridges and peaks, usually reserved for mountain-loving birds. I imagine how I play around on the mountain just as joyfully as they fly. As a newbie to skiing in Alaska, I’m probably as far from that as après-ski in Austria is good for your liver.
“Oh my friends, it took so long I've been down a bit too long”
At the entrance of my line, the sun starts to illuminate the steep face. I can see my own shadow move into the flank. Then comes this particular moment when you ski a steep and exposed line. Full on concentration. After a couple of turns you start to realize that you’re skiing outside of your comfort zone and you’re feeling great. At this moment, every turn is pure pleasure and for a short time it seems like the world is revolving around you.
“Hello maples, I want to leave the road
To sit under your cooling shade and dream awhile
Hello grasslands! So glad to hear your voice
'cause I've been running and riding for miles
I feel satisfied. I want to embrace the whole world. We share the moments of the day in our group as we head back to our basecamp. As we reach the camp, the sun tints the steep spine walls towering opposite of us in an intense afterglow. Well, maybe tomorrow. We end the day with a hearty dinner. Soon I’m back in my sleeping bag again. Simple life. While my mind drifts away I dream of repeating this day over and over again.
“Hello stranger! Take a look!
I've gotta cinderella's glass shoe that I'm travelling with”
Listen to the Song “Hello Sunshine” of 22 Pistepirkko and take a look how camping in Alaska can look like at this video:
https://vimeo.com/115120212 Alaska - Camping With Northern Lights