Skiing the Sound

Sea Taxi through the PW Sound

The Prince William Sound boat/ski mission to Cochrane Bay & Shrode Lake Cabin was a success.  We got back to Anchorage late Monday night,  were there for  day before heading out Tuesday evening toward Alaska Rendezvous’ lodge near Thompson Pass.  Getting to Shrode Lake was quite the adventure to say the least.  From Whittier (quite the unique town), we took a sea taxi through Prince William Sound to a small access cove in Cochrane Bay (Chugach National Forrest).

Scootin across Shrode Lake

The cove we hoped to access was still surrounded by sea ice so we had to be dropped off at an alternate cove with a bit longer approach and tougher terrain to navigate to the cabin.  This was not too big of a deal, but proved to be challenging at times with the amount of gear we had and pulling sleds.  Maybe just two 15 gallon kegs next time instead of 3, ha ha ha (witnessing people perform crevasse rescue to fish a keg out of a glide crack was a first).

Surveyin the scene

After conquering the approach (about 4 hours later) and skinning across a mile or so of the frozen Shrode Lake, we arrived at the cabin.  This place was truly paradise!  Once unpacked we decided to tour around a bit, got to a ridge line and decided that we should take advantage of the sunny skies and continue toward the top of the peak.  There were countless lines to descend.  However, due to extremely warm temperatures and direct sunlight for hours on end, we were forced to take the conservative ridge lines back down to Shrode Lake below.  It was a nice 1,700ft run and by this time it was about 9:30 or 10:00pm and the sun was setting….sort of.

The next day or so we pretty much did small tours in the rain, and boy did it rain.  The price to pay for skiing in a rain forrest in April.  After sitting out a few hours of morning rain, it did end up clearing nicely for our last full day at the cabin.  We took advantage and toured across near by Lake Jack where we once again skinned as high as possible to find that the warming was quite an issue.  The view alone and realizing the potential of this area was worth every minute.

With the length of the approaches from the cabin and time of year in mind, I would like to try to get back there about a month earlier as a lot of the higher peaks require non-rainy early AM starts and will take most the day to reach.  It was unusually warm, but more wintery conditions would prove for much better skiing at all elevations. None-the-less this was a sweet hut/cabin trip and a big thanks to Amber, Dan, John and Boone for having us along!

Chillin on the white beach

Now we are on wind hold at Alaska Rendezvous Heli-Skiing with our awesome guide and Core Concepts athlete Jessica Baker, and fellow Marmot team member, Brenton Reagan. We’re planning to be here for 5 days or so and then its time to head up the Richardson Highway to the eastern part of the Alaska Range and Black Rapids Lodge.  So keep checking in for updates!  Gotta go catch a heli……..

Mikey

GEAR HIGHLIGHT: On the trip to the Shrode Lake Cabin in the Chugach I used the Marmot Odin 50 Plus backpack to carry about 50 lbs of gear while ski touring some pretty tricky terrain on the approach.  I was quite impressed with the pack as it went above and beyond its typical use!

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  • About Teton FreeRide

    Teton FreeRide is a content based blog founded and operated by Mike "Mikey" Leake. Mikey has lived in the Teton Valley region of southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming most of my life. He has also had the opportunity to live and play in the Lake Tahoe area, and now, Alaska too!

    After competing on the Freeskiing World Tour on-and-off for 10 years Mikey has transitioned to judging various events and become an advisory board member with the International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association (IFSA). Over the past 13 years he has worked in the ski industry through skiing as an athlete, coach, guide, ski patrol, event coordinator, event judge, marketing consultant, team manager, videographer, and as an associate producer. Mikey has a true passion for the outdoor industry and tries to be involved in every aspect possible.