It’s wild up there—in Alaska. The mountains are bigger than anything we have in the lower 48, the snow precariously clings to steep pitches making for the most puckering and life-altering rides for any skier. Alaska has become a pilgrimage for skiers and snowboarders looking to explore.
Last year, skier Anna Tedesco and photographer Andrew Muse headed north to log time on top of Thompson Pass, go deep into the mountains, and share their experience with us. We recently caught up with Anna and Andrew to learn a bit more about their adventure. Here are a few nuggets from our conversation with these two amazing people…
Off Piste: What’s the scene like up there?
Anna Tedesco [AT]: “I had never been before. To me, Alaska was the pinnacle of skiing. You see the movies where athletes are skiing the sparkly spine lines. It’s a dramatic landscape and it was super unfamiliar to me. I didn’t know much about Alaska, but I had a bug to find out more for years.”
Andrew Muse [AM]: “We posted up at Thompson Pass and had a parking lot to ourselves at the base of a beautiful peak called Loveland. The terrain there is amazing. It’s park and play, and then you go a little deeper and deeper and deeper [into the backcountry]. In 10 minutes you’re in big, crevassed, full-on big-mountain Alaskan terrain. The lines that look like mellow lines are still some of the biggest I’ve ever skied. The scale in Alaska is really hard to wrap your head around.”
Off Piste: Is all the effort worth it?
AT: “When I got back from one of our first days out exploring my mind could quite comprehend how big and bold all these mountains are. I pulled out a map of the state and realized what we had seen was only a fingernail of the whole state. My introduction to Alaska exceeded what I thought it’d be like up here.”
AM: “Any direction you point your camera is an opportunity for an incredible moment in Alaska. You have big glaciers with ice caves, massive mountains with prominent jagged peaks, wind rips off the tops of mountains, and the aurora borealis pops up occasionally up there. It’s a powerful place to be. It’s humbling to be amongst.”
Off Piste: Any unforgettable moments immediately come to mind from your trip
AT: “One day we followed a couple of experienced guys up there who felt comfortable to take us under their wing and show us around one of the glaciers. They took us to this line called Acapulco. It was socked in when we got to the base of the line. Finally, the clouds started to clear and we started to boot up this big peak. When I got to the top, I had to sit down on this knife-edge peak because I was overwhelmed with this feeling of: ‘This is it! This is what I’ve been imagining for so long.’ That’s when it hit me that we did it. I’ll never forget that line, that’s for sure.”
AM: “The ice creates its own artform on the glaciers up there. You have this wild setting and backdrop. Crawling around through those ice caves is like being a kid again. It’s kinda scary and it’s dark, there’s an inherent danger that comes from being inside of a glacier, but it’s so stunning to see something only a handful of people will get to see.”
We’ll continue to share first-hand experiences from the adventures of Anna and Andrew in Alaska through the winter…