Blue Tomato team rider Ville Uotila tells about one of the probably most beautiful places on earth …
After 3 days in Alaska I’m glad to tell you that we have been pretty damn lucky here. We got already 3 sunny days and past days have already been amazing even though I got hurt a bit during the first day of riding. It’s pretty easy to tell
you that Alaska is the dream of snowboarder and one of the most beautiful places on earth. There’s just so much stuff to do and I already know this is the place to be in future. I’m here with my own photographer and team manager of
Here’s a longer story from first 2 days:
After long flights from San Diego, Salt Lake, and Munich the 3 of us met around 1 am on the 31st in the Anchorage airport. We left Anchorage early Sunday morning on our 5 1/2 hour drive east toward Valdez. The drive continued to build
our stoke level as we started to see massive mountains poking through the clouds. An amazing landscape kept our eyes busy as time flew by. Near the half way point of the drive we came across the Matanuska Glacier, one of the largest most impressive glacier’s any of us has ever seen. We took some time to gaze at the ice and atempted to drive in for a closer look, but opted out of a $20/per person charge. A few more hours went by and we were nearing the Chugach Mountain range, monster peaks of endless terrain were basking under clear skies, and at this point the drive there is no describing how unbelievably hyped we were. We stopped the car every 20-30 minutes to get a better look at the scenery.
We passed an interesting looking guy as we climbed up the Thompson pass, a man we have referred to as Falcon man. Falcon man was riding his mountain bike down the highway, snow shoes on, dog by his side, and trailer in tow, a trailer with a massive red tail hawk along for the cruise. Very intrigued by this guy we stopped to ask him some questions and took some pictures of him and his bird. He described how his dog sniffs and flushs out rabbits while the hawk follows in the air waiting for a rabbit to run out in the open. At that time the Hawk will swoop in and kill the rabbit in reward for food from his owner. Pretty bad-ass.
After some more pics and a few jokes we continued the drive toward Thompson Pass.
We arrived on the summit of Thompson Pass greeted by Tailgate staff, the bluebird hustle was under way while helis were flying, snowmobiles ripping, and just about everyone in sight was smiling ear to ear. Deciding to stretch our legs and to start scouting some lines we dropped in to the beer garden and broke out the binoculars as we debated whether to boot up or not. Remind you at this time it was around 6:30 pm. Staring at a foot of fresh snow on a 3000+ vertical face, we simply could not resist, we have traveled long ways to be here and this is a place every one of us has dreamed about riding for years.
7 pm and plenty of light, we grabbed a snowmobile ride up to the summit of our first Alaska run. The snowmobile ride was more like a 8 minute full throttle wheelie straight up the mountain. Hands down the most gnarly sled ride we have ever experienced. Thanks to Jeremy and AJ from Big Mounatin taxi for handling the snow machines like a boss.
On top of the run, we had a perfect view of the slow fading sunset over the neighboring ridgeline. The light was changing to that sunset golden color and we strapped in, picked our line, safe stopping zones and dropped in. Being our first run in AK we quickly realized that everything you looked at was 5-10 times bigger and steeper than it seemed like. Everything was wide open, so you could basically go as fast as you were comfortable with. Every run was a powder run and tracks were the last thing you were worried about. Here it’s not just cruising, you need to be on your game at all the time, serious injury or death can easily be the result of a bad decision. Our first run was insane none the less.
A night rest and we were up early ready to shred another bluebird day. We found a zone not far off the road with some insane pillow lines, rock gaps, and natural jumps. We spent the entire day hiking around this zone, moving from spot to spot stacking photos and warming up for what is set to be an insane - 13 days of riding. The snow was great and we were beginning to realize you could spend a lifetime here and still find new terrain every day. All was going well until Ville took a little too much speed in to a gap jump we built. He overshot the landing and took a hard knee to the face. On impact biting through his tongue about a 3/4 inch across. That would call it a day, as it was best to get this looked at by the doctor. Ville had a bit of pain and a tough time talking, but other than that he was ok. Ready to go out and snowboard again.
2 days in, there is great weather in the forecast. Looking forward to some more epic snowboarding ahead.
Keep in touch!!
Check some pictures here: