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KC Deane Sums Up AK Season in Ten Images
Posted on November 23, 2015

KC Deane, waiting for a lift, in Haines, America. P: Will Wissman

Since he first turned pro, Eddie Bauer skier KC Deane had dreamed of skiing the big, bold lines of Haines, Alaska. Last season his dream became a reality, as Deane made the trip north and was introduced to a new professional level of risk and consequence by teammate Reggie Crist, who has been guiding the steep, stacked terrain for more than a decade. He was so hooked he went back on a filming mission for Blank: The Movie in April. But this time it was with a more grassroots approach that involved brutally long drives, trying sled-and-skin approaches, and tedious waits for the weather to crack blue. We asked KC to summarize the experience in ten images or less, and this is the window the former AK rookie provided us on freeskiing’s biggest venue. —LYA Editor

Images and Captions by KC Deane, Above and Bottom Image by Will Wissman

The Drive—This spring I returned home from Europe and decided to make the drive to Haines, America to finish out winter, in the month of April, and to wrap filming for Blank: The Movie. Although it seemed like a great idea, the 30-hour drive was a bit ominous. After leaving Whistler, the first overnight stop was 12 hours north in Smithers, BC. Just beyond lay the Yukon and the long stretch to Whitehorse, then four more hours to Haines. This shot was somewhere around the 20-hour mark in the middle of the Yukon.

The Drive—This spring I returned home from Europe and decided to make the drive to Haines, America to finish out winter, in the month of April, and to wrap filming for Blank: The Movie.  Although it seemed like a great idea, the 30-hour drive was a bit ominous.  After leaving Whistler, the first overnight stop was 12 hours north in Smithers, BC.  Just beyond lay the Yukon and the long stretch to Whitehorse, then four more hours to Haines. This shot was somewhere around the 20-hour mark in the middle of the Yukon.

The Camp—It’s not much when you get down to it. You pull off the road, park your truck and pitch a tent. This was home for four weeks while we were in Alaska. One of the cool things about traveling all over to ski is showing up in an area like this and finding like-minded individuals doing the same thing as you.

The Camp—It’s not much when you get down to it.  You pull off the road, park your truck and pitch a tent. This was home for four weeks while we were in Alaska. One of the cool things about traveling all over to ski is showing up in an area like this and finding like-minded individuals doing the same thing as you.

The Approach—For our trip to Haines, we took a bit different approach from the typical days spent in a helicopter. We were snowmobiling from our camp out to find lines and faces to go ski, then once to the face we would hike straight up the face, or ski tour around the backside. The journey out each day was always a crazy adventure, navigating massive glaciers riddled with crevasses. It was something that really pushed our comfort levels being out there, but by the second week we gained confidence and got to some amazing places.

The Venue—For our trip to Haines, we took a bit different approach from the typical days spent in a helicopter. We were snowmobiling from our camp out to find lines and faces to go ski, then once to the face we would hike straight up the face, or ski tour around the backside. The journey out each day was always a crazy adventure, navigating massive glaciers riddled with crevasses.  It was something that really pushed our comfort levels being out there, but by the second week we gained confidence and got to some amazing places. The venue was spectacular. 

Here on the Moon—Mason Mashon, our filmer, Josh Daiek, and I went out one day to explore a bit further. After about 30 miles, we came up and over a ride to this spot, which was one of the most spectacular places I have ever witnessed. It’s hard to describe how expansive it was. We sat and just looked at the mountains in the distance, taking in the beauty of the place.

Here on the Moon—Mason Mashon, our filmer, Josh Daiek, and I went out one day to explore a bit further. After about 30 miles, we came up and over a ride to this spot, which was one of the most spectacular places I have ever witnessed. It’s hard to describe how expansive it was. We sat and just looked at the mountains in the distance, taking in the beauty of the place.

Journey to the Moon—From the previous photo I took of Mason, if you look in the right-hand corner there in the distance, this is what you will see.

Journey to the Moon—From the previous photo I took of Mason, if you look in the right-hand corner there in the distance, this is what you will see.

Mason Skating and Mason Going for Style—Down days. Down days on the pass, which is when the stormy weather comes in. Everyone gets a bit of cabin fever after a day or two. This was a brief sucker hole that came over, and Mason ran out sans shoes and just started skating till it whited out again.

Mason Skating and Mason Going for Style—Down days. Down days on the pass, which is when the stormy weather comes in. Everyone gets a bit of cabin fever after a day or two. This was a brief sucker hole that came over, and Mason ran out sans shoes and just started skating till it whited out again.

Mason Skating and Mason Going for Style—Down days.  Down days on the pass, which is when the stormy weather comes in. Everyone gets a bit of cabin fever after a day or two. This was a brief sucker hole that came over, and Mason ran out sans shoes and just started skating till it whited out again.

Mason and Colin D Watt—One of the cool things about working with photographers like Mason Mashon is that if he doesn’t have a camera in his hands, he’s getting turns of his own.

Mason and Colin D Watt—One of the cool things about working with photographers like Mason Mashon is that if he doesn’t have a camera in his hands, he’s getting turns of his own.

Guarded Spines—These lines remained elusive our entire trip. Looking at lines like these and not being able to ski them can be frustrating, but in the end it drives you to return the next season and leaves something for you to look forward to.

Guarded Spines—These lines remained elusive our entire trip.  Looking at lines like these and not being able to ski them can be frustrating, but in the end it drives you to return the next season and leaves something for you to look forward to.

Daiek Shadow Line—This was May 2. Josh Daiek and I climbed this 2,000-foot face after carefully picking our lines. After looking at this face for almost three and a half weeks, it came down to one of our last days. Cornices started pulling off and crevasses were beginning to open up, but the faces like this, which got dubbed “Enigma Spines,” were still holding cold snow. Getting to watch Daiek drop in got me fired up and I skied one of the best lines of the year after he dropped, which was also the last line of the year.

Above: Daiek Shadow Line—This was May 2.  Josh Daiek and I climbed this 2,000-foot face after carefully picking our lines. After looking at this face for almost three and a half weeks, it came down to one of our last days. Cornices started pulling off and crevasses were beginning to open up, but the faces like this, which got dubbed “Enigma Spines,” were still holding cold snow. Getting to watch Daiek drop in got me fired up and I skied one of the best lines of the year after he dropped, which was also the last line of the year.

Below: KC Deane burning vertical in Haines, America on Desktop East. Photo: Will Wissman

KC Deane burning vertical in Haines, America on Desktop East.

Check out KC Deane’s new project Blank: The Movie, on iTunes. Or watch the trailer below.

 

Author: - Monday, November 23rd, 2015
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