As of this writing it appears the Grandview Ski Train in Alaska has been canceled. Talk about a tragedy, since the 1950s this historic train has been running a trip or two every year in early spring from Anchorage to the Kenai Mountains. I got to go in 1996. One of the best mountain “culture” experiences of my life. Check it out.
At the whistle stop, the train disgorges something like 600 skiers into full-on Alaskan wilderness. No lifts. A unique form of mechanized access! You climb and ski the surrounding mountains for the day.
If you make it back to the train on time, you ride back to Anchorage and party in style, perhaps capping things off with a dance in the Polka car packed with so many crazy dancing “slam polka” Alaskans you wonder why the thing doesn’t jump the tracks. Oh, and if you’re late getting back to the train, they leave a survival kit for you. More here.
Sad news is that one of our central Colorado backcountry ski huts burned down. Fowler-Hilliard was located in the vicinity of Copper Mountain Resort and Leadville. It provided a nice lodging location to access a variety of moderate backcountry skiing, although ongoing issues with huge amounts of snowmobile and snowcat use could taint the experience. Plans are to of course rebuild the hut, and I’d imagine it’ll rise out of the ashes as something even nicer than the first one. It sounds like lighting might have been the match, but who knows? No one saw it burn.
Yes, folks are skiing powder in Colorado. Fanatic ski alpinist Jordan White and his crew glissed the boot-top alpine fluff up at Montezuma Basin. For access, they 4-wheeled the historic Montezuma Basin jeep trail. I’ve always got to emphasize how cool that road is, and how unusual. It’s one of the only roads in Western Colorado that provides access to a permanent snowfield at the base of a 14,000 foot peak, yet does so in a primitive fashion that adds to the fun and adventure with some moderately challenging driving.
We’re catching some movies at The Meeting film conflab in Aspen this weekend. Reports on that next week. Meanwhile, ski-u!
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.