Skiing and riding in the shadow of the continent’s first and third highest peaks (Denali & Sultana, respectively) is a once in a lifetime experience. Denali National Park & Preserve provides skiers and riders with some of the most astounding ski mountaineering and a wealth of backcountry skiing fun. Ski mountaineers consider this a classic destination due to its accessibility via ski plane and abundance of diverse terrain right outside your front door. Our base camp on the glacier will include roomy tents, great meals with fresh food, and the best view you could imagine!
What sets this trip apart from other Alaska trips is the focus on true ski mountaineering. You’ll be introduced to and apply both uphill and downhill techniques in glaciated terrain. Steep couloirs cut between dramatic rock walls and wide-open glaciers with complex icefalls are some of the highlights that the Pika Glacier, aka “Little Switzerland” has to offer. We recommend taking an Intro to Ski Mountaineering Course, or have previous ski mountaineering experience before attending this trip, but skiing and riding on the Pika is a realistic option for all levels of skiers and riders. You don’t have to be a veteran rider or skier to enjoy the bountiful opportunities that Denali National Park can provide. In addition to providing access to remote backcountry terrain, this trip provides our guests with the opportunity to live the expedition life while capitalizing on world-class riding and skiing day in and day out.
This is a true Alaskan ski touring adventure that you won’t forget!
From Anchorage, AK, shuttle to Talkeetna, AK. Along the way we’ll stop for an hour or so to do a group grocery shopping mission. After arriving in Talkeetna we’ll head to Talkeetna Air Taxi (TAT) to register for our flight into Denali National Park. The group will then make a visit to National Park Headquarters to register the expedition and do a group briefing on expedition life on the glacier. If all goes well with weather the group may even fly into the glacier on Day 1.
After settling in to camp life with a hearty breakfast, the team will spend the morning covering crevasse rescue methods and discuss self-care for the remaining days on the glacier. After a quick lunch we’ll tour to our first destination for some turns; usually the “Backyard” or a descent down the Plunger’s East Face.
Day 3 usually consists of a more exploratory tour towards the Port Cullis or perhaps towards the Royal Couloir down glacier. Either of these are a great intro to steeper skiing on the glacier and will set the team up well for future ski mountaineering descents in the week.
Built in weather day. Preliminary “Powder 8” competition in the Backyard.
Exploratory tour towards Italy’s Boot North Face; this is a tremendous north facing glacier riddled with large crevasses and amazing views into the interior of the Alaska Range. Despite the cracked up nature of this glacier there is a lower angle (35*) run that weaves its way perfectly through the glacier to provide a 2000’ descent of unparalleled quality.
Exploratory tour either towards the Hobbit King or a gravity fed descent down to the Granite Glacier. Either of these options include 2,000-3,000’ descents in moderately steep (40-45*) terrain into more “remote” parts of the Little Switzerland area. Final Powder 8 competition!
Fly off glacier and back to Talkeetna. Spend an evening at the infamous Fairview Inn for revelry…
Shuttle back to Anchorage. Catch red-eye flights back to the lower-48.
· 50% deposit due upon registration
· Balance due 90 days before Day 1 of trip
Expedition Cancellation Policy:
· A refund minus a 10% administrative fee can be issued 120 days prior to trip start.
· 50% will be refunded 90 to 120 days before trip start.
· 25% will be refunded 75 to 90 days before trip start.
· Inside of 75 day, no refund is available.
· This expedition requires a minimum of three clients, but may be booked individually. If we cancel a trip prior to its start for low enrollment, we will fully refund your payments. You will be notified at least 75 days prior to the trip. We recommend you confirm your flight itinerary with Colorado Mountain School before booking travel.
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