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Seth Waterfall Makes First Heliskiing Turns in Alaska
Posted on April 4, 2011

By Seth Waterfall; photos by Will Wissman

Have you ever wondered why people go to the trouble of coming to small fishing towns in Alaska every spring just to get a few days of skiing? I have, often, and today I think I might have found out why. With folks like my fellow First Ascent teammates Tom Wayes, Reggie Crist, Kent McBride, Lexi DuPont, and Will Wissman showing me the ropes, I couldn’t have asked for a better intro to skiing in Southeast Alaska.

I’ve often heard that the snow here is unbelievable, comes in wet and heavy and sticks to the steepest faces. Once the clouds break, the cold air sucks the moisture right out of the snow and you are left with the perfect blend of snow that clings to the rocks, light and fluffy—perfect for skiing.

I had always thought that to be a bit of an exaggeration or maybe something that happened a few times a season, but that is exactly what happened in the last two days. I guess it’s possible that my timing is impeccable, and I hit the best day of the season. It’s more likely this is commonplace and the number one reason that this is one of the greatest places on Earth to ski.

Members of the First Ascent team comprise a sizable chunk of the guide staff at Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures (SEABA) and all of them were out working today. I was fortunate enough to get to jump in with Reggie’s group for a few laps in the morning, and it was awesome to get to watch him in action. I could tell just by his demeanor that he has spent a ton of time in this particular range, and his professionalism is top notch.

After I got introduced to the basics of skiing in AK with Reg, playtime was over, and I hooked up with Tom, Kent, Lexi, and Will for some photography work. It was really cool to get out with my own team members and see them on their home turf. Being new to the helicopter skiing, I was blown away with the amount of vertical that it is possible to ski on a clear day.

It was a total blast working with the team all day—I mean what could be better than skiing the best snow in the world with a bunch of absolute powder technicians? They are consummate professionals, every one of them.

We’ll see what the weather has in store for us in the next few days. Tom and I have some big objectives in mind, and I just hope that the conditions continue to set up nicely for us.

Author: - Monday, April 4th, 2011

  1. Wyatt Caldwell

    The guides at SEABA will take great care of you in the mountains. Stoked that you are here in Haines to check out the fresh powder!

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