Thompson Pass 3/29/12

30 Mar, 2012

After spending the last couple days exploring Valdez, it was finally time to head up to Thompson Pass and get the full scale of Alaska mountains. I headed up bright and early with my gear to see what work needed to be done and ended up getting in a couple laps to warm-up for this adventure.

During Tailgate BC, Nico was telling me about Alaska and how your whole season is basically practice for AK. That everything you’ve ridden hopefully prepares you for the riding you’ll have in Alaska. It was definitely humbling and a reminder that these mountains are no joke.

For those who don’t have a sled in AK, the crew at Big Mountain Taxi will get you up the hill but a lot cheaper than a heli. I ended up headed out with driver Calean (spelling?) who took care of me on the ride up. We headed up Nick’s to get in a couple laps there. Here’s a shot of Nico getting driven up.

Gear for Alaska. Dakine heli pro backpack with my backcountry gear, Jones Hovercraft, Smith helmet. Today I had a new piece of gear, a harness. Just in a case of crevasse rescue, you need a harness up here in Alaska. Luckily Mark from Flow let me borrow his.

Nico and myself at the top of our run which wasn’t even the top of the mountain (yeah I’m no Jeremy Jones). The view was pretty incredible (it’s actually the first shot in this post). It was a good thing Nico rushed me on the first run because it made it so I did not think about the fact I was about to ride down terrain I didn’t know, in Alaska, in the backcountry. All I focused on was the powder turn, to the next powder turn and looking ahead to see what was coming up.

The first run with Nico, he’s about to drop into a steeper gulley that I’ll be taking soon after.

This was the view from my angle about to ride down. You can only see so much ahead of you but it’s gonna be good powder turns. Just hold on and enjoy the ride.

For the second run, Nico had to return on his sled to get his helmet that dropped so I ended up riding my first solo run in AK. It wasn’t anything crazy steep, just a good pitch down the mountain and wide open turns. At the same time, with no guide and no one around…it’s just your heart beating the whole way down.

At the end of the runs, I took a shot of the terrain we just rode. The first run came down into the right of the very center down that first steeper section to the right of the rocks in the center. The second run I rode the top of that ridge all the way to the left.

That’s the start of Alaska! It’s pretty incredible, humbling and it felt good to warm-up. I know the next couple weeks will push my riding and definitely ready for it.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. March 30, 2012

    Equal parts stoked and jealous. Keep the shots coming, have fun and stay safe!! 🙂

  2. March 30, 2012

    Why a harness? Were you riding on a glacier, because you won’t find a crevasse anywhere else will you?

  3. March 31, 2012

    Adrienne, thanks had a great day!

    Shralp, my buddy Nico wouldn’t take me out unless I had one. He’s just being mr safety. But there are glaciers and crevasses in the area and I wasn’t sure where we were going.

  4. April 09, 2012

    Seriously.. gorgeous pics! So jealous!