It’s incredible to see so many different snowboarders form different genres gathered here on the epic Thompson Pass just outside of Valdez, Alaska.
Tailgaters have come from far and wide to ride Alaska. People on the pass are accessing the terrain in every way possible: helicopters, snowmobiles, snow cats, split boards, and even hiking. We are using snowmobiles fashioned with Cheetah Factory Racing snowboard racks, allowing us to carry a splitboard and normal snowboard. Having both board options allows us to be more adaptable to the terrain we find.
We have been getting out with some locals to get a feel for the access on Thompson Pass. The Alaskans are hardened people who know how to get it done in the mountains. They are very nice and open to sharing their local knowledge with others. Tailgate Alaska has a great vibe; riders are getting the goods on a daily basis. Tailgaters share information about the snowpack and stories of the day’s adventures around the firepit over a cold Alaskan Amber and barbecued salmon.
Snow has been falling. The weather has been spinning around with blue holes passing by from time to time. Sunny powder turns have been found. We hiked a chute in the fog using the rock wall for definition in the flat light. It’s fun exploring the potential that Thompson Pass has to offer.
One thing is for sure: We will be coming back to Tailgate Alaska in years to come. For now we are heading 700 miles south to Haines, Alaska. We will be riding in the Chilkat Mountains with the First Ascent guides at SEABA (South East Alaska Backcountry Adventures).
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