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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Arctic Valley

A couple of our new friends, Ian and Kara, who recently moved up to Anchorage about the same time we did, went downhill skiing with us this past weekend.  There are a handful of ski slopes relatively close to our home (within 30 minutes or so) and we wanted to try them all out.  The most recent one, Arctic Valley.

The unique aspect about this mountain is that it is completely non-profit and run strictly by volunteers.  It's on the military land and only open on the weekends.  The volunteers get free skiing, hence the incentive for giving up your time to run a lift or two.  And since it's a pretty low budget ski mountain, the slopes are not groomed. Ever.  All the fresh powder accumulated throughout the week is game to those few visitors it receives on the weekends. 

There was a lot of fresh powder this past weekend - well over a foot in some spots. 
This created an uncharacteristic amount of large moguls.  I'm pretty sure I got air born on every turn.  And a few times I would voluntarily just fall over because my thighs were burning so bad from trying to maneuver all the bumps!

It is no easy mountain.  The majority is rated black diamond. 
Fabulous for the new skier like myself.  Hah.

I will say that until this day, I had not fallen once while downhill skiing.  However, I can now say that my fear of completely wiping out and/or face planting it is forever gone.  More than once the front of my skis would hit a deep snow bank and make an abrupt stop...while my body did not.  It was thrilling.
Views from the top.  Stunning.
Another unique experience was the T-bar lift. Typically these take you to the "bunny hill".  Not this one. It takes you ALL the way to the top of the black ski slope.  This was way more challenging than I thought.  My first go around I made it about 100 feet before my skis got tangled up and I wiped out and I had to beg some poor kid to pick up my poles on his way down.  Again.  At that point, I wasn't surprised.
On my way up!

Me...on the ground. Like usual this day.

Riding tandem on the T-bar lift.  It was hilarious.  In order to get off the "bar" Matt literally had to shove me to the side...I hope the view brightened some body's day behind us.  And I think Matt may have slightly enjoyed that.

Laughing all the way up....
video

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