Kodiak Island is Alaska's largest island. It is famous for fish and the massive bears who eat the fish. The island's rolling alpine hills would be famous for backcountry skiing, but the legendary wind and rain keep crowds away.
Nick D'Alessio and I went to Kodiak to teach our sixth avalanche course of the year for the Alaska Avalanche School. This was our favorite of the year. Fun people, new and interesting terrain, and dynamic snow and weather. For Kodiak, we had atypical good weather.
Cannery row in Kodiak. Home to hundreds of Kodiak buzzards, also known as dumpster ducks or bald eagles.
Nick D'Alessio and I with our hosts Steve and Sharon Wielebski, the owners of Orion Sports. Steve and Sharon are serious fun. We finished each day in time to get to the Kodiak Island Brewery. Nick is eight feet tall.
Gear store owners have fun garages.
Morning lecture in the Navy Seal gym. Seals spend six weeks training in Kodiak's brutal weather. The Seal instructors often take Alaska Avalanche School courses so they can teach new Seals how to avoid avalanches.
Steve skinning up Pyramid Mountain. Locals have cut ski runs through the low elevation shrubs to access the alpine. Pyramid is the after-work run for diehard Kodiak skiers. Go to Kodiak Snow Report for current conditions.
Dan doing a shovel tilt test to measure near-surface stability.
Sharon booting into a drift of powder on Pyramid. Most of the snow was a slide-for-life sheet of ice.
My crew on day three, practicing travel and decision making skills. The Seals are on their best behavior because that's Officer Deb in the purple jacket.
Thanks for an incredible trip Steve and Sharon! We can't wait to come back.