Thursday, January 21, 2010

Birthday Ski!

Last year, I went snowshoeing on my birthday, so I decided to keep with the whole Alaska in January theme this year and went skiing! It's been several years since I've gone skiing, and never in Alaska. I tore my ACL on on a snow machine crash (I wasn't driving...) on a reindeer research gig my first winter here and had to have surgery that winter, and since then have been paranoid about re-injuring it, as it was paid for the first time around on workmen's comp, but wouldn't be the second time around! I put on the knee brace and headed up to Hilltop, which is literally an 8 minute drive from my house! I decided against Alyseka for my first time back, Hilltop is much smaller but still has a bunch of runs, and I asked a few coworkers, and they said that even though it's nowhere near as big as Alyeska, it's still lots of fun. And it was! I had no problems with my knee at all, and had SO much fun skiing! I'm used to skiing (years ago) in Mammoth, where there's long lines and the lift tickets and ski rental are super expensive. There was never any line whatsoever at Hilltop and I got skis and a lift ticket for under 50 bucks! I will definitely be going back! (Oh and I liked the watch for moose sign, how are you supposed to do that when you're barreling downhill on skis?! Luckily I didn't see any!) There was a spectacular view at the top of the mountain of downtown Anchorage and the mountains and since the sun sets at around PM, I got to see that, too!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Here's a video I took the other I said, I was standing close to the bottom, which is where half the people stand, to see people come right by you. You can also stand a lot further back and get the entire effect, like this: Either way, it's worth the trip!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Coolest parade ever!

One of the things I've wanted to do since I got to Alaska is attend the New Years Eve Torchlight Parade at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. Girdwood is only a 45 minute drive from Anchorage and every New Years hundreds of skiers and snowboarders volunteer to ski down the mountain while holding torches. Afterwards, they have a huge fireworks display. They do it at around 8PM, so everyone comes to this before going to their official New Years Eve celebration. It's a completely amazing sight...they turn off all the lights, and the further back you stand, you can see lights all the way from the very top of the mountain streaming down. I stood a little closer, so that I could actually see them skiing by at the bottom. Here are my pics, although it's really hard without a tripod to accurately capture the coolness of this! The top pic I found at a website describing the event as one of the top 10 New Years destinations. It gives a better sense of the big picture. I had no idea how many people would be there, as you can see there were plenty of crazy Alaskans up for it!