Valdez, AK Report: Powder Skiing Through an Ice Cave

Miles Clark | | Conditions ReportConditions Report
Stoked on caves. image: snowbrains

Report from April 4, 2022

I have 2 friends in town right now and I was truly hoping to show them a good time on Sunday.

The weather was moving in, it was clear we were going to have a shortened day, and I was hoping we could find a banger run to start it off.

Luckily, we found just that.

Video of the upper pitch of Toe-In, Ocean View, Blower Powder, Blind Rollover, Ice Cave”

See the cave in the end of the video?

I’m calling this run: “Toe-In, Ocean View, Blower Powder, Blind Rollover, Ice Cave.”

The landing was a bit spicy on the pyramidal cusp of an ocean vista peak.

Once we got unloaded and comfy, we took in the views and reveled.

From there we skied blower powder down to a flatter section before things steepened again.

This second section was cruxy with blind rollovers slathered in perfect powder and a looming hole in the glacier below.

And I mean a hole.

A huge hole.

Dan Van went 1st, scoped it out, and deemed it safe.

His group including World Cup ski racer Travis Ganong ripped through.

Ocean views from the summit. image: snowbrains

Then it was our turn and we were flabbergasted.

The huge ice cave was full of powder, was very skiable, and was pretty long.

We shredded through one at a time and emerged on the other side into stoke, high fives, and building clouds.

Slash. image: snowbrains

We thought this was a one-and-done sort of a day, but Dan Van had another trick up his sleeve.

He flew us over to Snow Dome – a 3,800′ peak across the Valdez Harbor that you can ski to the road from.

The heli dropped us off on top and went back to the airport.

Caving. image: snowbrains

The light wasn’t perfect but we skied 2,400-vertical-feet of great powder down the face of Snow Dome and we were all breathing heavily at the bottom.

From there it was a bizarre traverse and ski through all kinds of weird conditions down to the sea.

On the way, I took my team into a tunnel with big ice formations that I’d been in with clients in March.

Ocean summit. image: snowbrains

It was troglodyte life for us this day with full-on spelunking on both of our runs.

We skied right down to the ocean where a Pulseline van was awaiting.

We had lunch on the seashore and gossiped about the two tubes we’d traversed.

Team stoke on top. image: snowbrains

Snow Dome’s 3,800-vertical-foot run was not to be forgotten.

“Toe-In, Ocean View, Blower Powder, Blind Rollover, Ice Cave” will be etched in our memories forever.

Dan Van said he’s never seen that cave before and talked of how much the glaciers change from year to year.

What a find!

Photos

Terrain. image: snowbrains
Ice Cave exit. image: snowbrains
dropping in. image: snowbrains
Skiing down Snow Dome to the sea. image: snowbrains
Ice Cave entry. image: snowbrains
Ocean and Valdez. image: snowbrains

spelunking. image: snowbrains
Big tunnel ice. image: snowbrains
Troglodyte life. image: snowbrains
Caving. image: snowbrains
To the beach! image: snowbrains
Lines. image: snowbrains

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