AFM in AK
After a long month of march sunny and après ski tanning temperatures, I was so excited about going to AK with exciting terrain and perfect snow. Plus the crew was epic: Xavier and Victor Delerue, Mathieu Crepel, Fredi Kalbermatten and myself - French party trip to Haines The last time I was in Haines we saw the sky twice out of a whole month, well this year it’s been pretty much the opposite. I’ve seen nothing but sunshine and blue sky, as weird as it sounds, it felt a bit like summer camp!
We were sharing the heli between the 2 crews, at first the Delerue crew took the heli in the mornings and Fredi Mathieu and myself used it in the afternoons then we switched and my crew would go up in the morning. It worked out well as we didn’t need to stress on sharing the heli between both groups at the same time, but then we also didn’t really get to spend time all together as we had opposite schedules every day.
Our first day up Mathieu had the sickest line ever, few turns into airing a first time above some ice as his sluff was raging down the face, coming ahead of that sluff to bs 360 at the end of his line, landing in the middle of his sluff and still stomping strong out of it, so sick! I had found the sweetest spine ever a bit further on the right which ended up being the biggest adrenaline rush of the trip for me. Looked so sweet from the bottom and so impressive from up top, the snow was epic on that one and I really loved it, until I got taken out by my sluff on the run out. Well, I guess that was a great reminder of sluff management! Such a great first day up there though!
White Alaska turned into blue Alaska, I mean usually the weather is white and you are seeking for the sun window and that means the snow is insane! And when the sun’s out everyday that means you can fly everyday, but like anywhere else it also means the snow is suffering from it. Instead of seeking the sun, you end up seeking some good snow high up above glacier terrain. Some days were tricky, as snow was windblown or sun crusted. Some faces were epic, but not approachable with the heli for drops up top. Some lines looked so sweet but ended in the scariest glacier mouths. In the end one good face makes it up for it. On the last couple of days, that one face was that last face that had been left behind by other crews before us, and it ended up being my favorite out of our time there. The 3 of us got a couple sweet lines on it and the snow was pretty descent. I mean it wasn’t pow but looked alright on film and more importantly felt quite fun underneath the board. Plus, the glacier mouths were big enough to give you a bit of excitement when you got over it but not big enough so that you wouldn’t make it!
After that, the sun just got shinier and warmer. We were waiting for a reset which never showed up, and everyone was in Haines, hiking, climbing, kayaking. Great people, great vibe! We went fishing on the fjord one day, it was a beautiful and quiet, a nice afternoon with friends faking to fish as we didn’t caught any, but we saw seals and dolphins!! Lots of dolphins!! Everything about Alaska is magic, the mountains, the landscapes and the wilderness!
Thousands of thanks to Standard films who let me tag along on this trip!
And tons of thanks to Seaba, the heli operation that were awesome to us and where all the fun happened at Fort Seward! hope to see you all next year again!
Posted by Kelly Vance on 04/19/2012