Free Shipping over $75 - Sale! Save up to 15%

Jones Ambassador Guide Liz Daley just returned from an expedition to the Tordrillo range in Alaska. Here’s thoughts on the adventure from Liz:

Friends have been talking about Alaska for years. The land of perfect, stable, bootable snow that sticks to everything. Massive unridden spine walls, endless couloirs, huge alpine faces and large glaciers running from the sea to giant serac’d capped peaks. It snows at night and is bluebird in the morning. There are wild but friendly unicorns and rainbows atop every spine line. The climate heals any weak layers in the snowpack. It’s not that dark in the winter. Ok, the unicorn part may be a tall tale but everything else is absolute fact.

The past five years I’ve saved all my pennies to get to Chamonix and going to Alaska just seemed out of the question. I always thought, "Alaska couldn’t be much radder than the Alps could it? A girl just can’t have it all." I tried to remain content with staying in the Alps, which I totally was… BUT this year I got lucky and decided to go find out for myself what the BFD was with AK. And boy oh boy Alaska did NOT fail to deliver.

We flew into Anchorage, and Emily from Silvertip Aviation, www.silvertipaviation.com picked us up and her lovely fiancé, Matt flew us out to the Tordrillos. I’d highly recommend Silvertip, they fly out of Wasilla to the Chugach, Talkeetna, Tordrillo and Alaska ranges. Super nice couple, great service and solid pilots.

Alaska had a pretty bad season this year, low snow and a gnarly persistent layer I kept hearing about which made me kind of nervous to be 100 miles out on a glacier in the middle of now where with help far, far away. A little different than being in Chamonix with a free heli evac service just a phone call away. It’s also different than Cham because you don’t have a bunch of D bags dropping in on your head or racing you up to a classic line that’s in condition… they also aren’t around to open up a big line for you in sketchy conditions (the only time they’re appreciated).

We set up camp then went for a little evening sesh on some west facing glowing slopes near our tents. The new snow that had fallen in the last 2 days was kind of baked with a nasty sugary layer underneath. I made some sweet fast turns then got up onto a spine to let my slough pass through the choke at the bottom. After it passed I pointed it over the shrund and out onto the glacier. SO FUN! It took us a couple days to figure out the snowpack, the weather and where the good snow would be then we crushed for the following 8 days.

We got up at about 3:45am almost every morning after that and hit the northeast aspects, where the snow was blower, that had light on them at sunrise. We’d come home after an 8 or 9 hour sesh, eat whiskey snickers pancakes, nap, drink some pabst then go back out for an evening sesh when the light was on the northwest aspects.

Caroline getting some sunrise turns in. Absolutely gorgeous.

Me in my tent on one of two down days.

Carolina in the pink light! This morning there were windslabs everywhere from a storm that deposited about a foot of fresh overnight. We stayed on smaller lines with good run-outs. I cracked a few small ones off. It was a good lesson in risk management and hazard evaluation.

Jay Beyer and JT Thompson going to crushtown in a crevasse.

Megalaspine zone miles from camp.

One afternoon we were tired from endless spines and powder, soon we got bored and we decided to make a music video.

We called this zone Cham, because it looks like Mont Blanc and the Tacul. Want.

Overall Alaska was an AMAZING experience and now I’m begrudged to make it happen every year. Oh dang. I’d really recommend camping out on the glacier for an extended period to get to know your zone and maximize shredding potential. I taught a splitboard course in the rain at Mt. Baker in a white out yesterday, dreaming of being back in AK.

Share Story
Published on
5 May 2014
6
Mar
Trip Reports
Hunza - Splitboarding In Pakistan With Julien ’Pica’ Herry
Story By Julien ’Pica’ Herry. Photos By Jeremy Bernard. Jones Ambassador Guide Julien ’Pica’ Herry shares the story behind Hunza, the new adventure film by Invade Media documenting the magnificent mountains and culture of the Hunza Valley in...
Julien ’Pica’ Herry
26
Feb
Meet The Team - Videos
Out Here Ep. 2 - Splitboarding In The Wasatch With Chris Coulter
Thrilled to debut the second episode of the OUT HERE video series! Made in partnership with Spark R&D, the OUT HERE series shares the backcountry snowboarding adventures of Jones x Spark R&D ambassadors as they explore the outer reaches...
Chris Coulter
22
Feb
2019 Splitboard Demos In the Eastern United States
Calling all shredders on the East Coast of the United States! Very excited to share some upcoming (and rare) opportunities to demo a splitboard in your neck of the woods. Join us at one of these events and learn what the thrill of earning your...
Seth Lightcap
25
Jan
Splitboard Skills Courses In Tahoe And The Tetons
You want to ride dream lines? What are you waiting for? Learn to splitboard! With a split in your quiver and the proper backcountry skills a lifetime of amazing riding experiences awaits you. Finding the right partners to teach you the protocols...
Brendan Burns, Iris Lazzareschi
7
Jan
Introducing The Ultra Mind Expander
It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when... Introducing the 2019 Ultra Mind Expander LTD, a new super charged version of the Mind Expander that Jeremy Jones and surf shaper Chis Christenson have been dreaming about for years. The Ultra...
Jeremy Jones, Jimmy Goodman
18
Dec
Meet The Team
From The Pipe To The Peaks - The Evolution Of Elena Hight
How do you top a fifteen year competitive freestyle snowboard career and a mantle full of the biggest trophies in the game? If you’re two-time US Olympic Halfpipe team member Elena Hight, the next chapter of your shred career starts with a long...