Blog: Sit Skier Andy Campbell Shreds Alaska Heli Terrain

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Words, photos and video by Andy Campbell, adapted from this Forum thread.

April 20, 2011

F%&^ Yeah! I'm in Alaska!!

Arrived in Juneau last night and got five runs in today with Alaska Powder Descents, stoked beyond words.

I'm skiing like crap and still getting used to the terrain/snow but hoping for some super stoke while I'm here. Interent connection is can't manage to post more than these two photos but they pretty much sum up my day; posing with helis and crapping my pants on the side of some Alaskan slope.

April 23, 2011

It's been clouded-in over 33 mile yesterday and this morning but this afternoon I got up for a couple of runs, and had a total WTF am I doing here moment at the top of a line.

Got dropped off just below the cloud base, which is pretty low, for the second run of the day and from where I was sitting I couldn't see the run below me because of the roll-away and steep pitch. All I could see from the sit ski was something steep and white, with a fall and die drop to my left which was actually a fair distance away but looked WAY closer from my perspective, and was told there's an ice field to my right. I can't kick or jump turn in the sit ski so steep pitches for me mean that as soon as I initiate a turn I pick up a crap load of speed and need to traverse to run it off before starting the next turn, so I was freaking out that I wouldn't have enough room to lose speed before going off an edge or into an ice field. If someone had turned to me and said there was a cat-track or something easier to take down if I didn't feel like dropping in I'd have taken the easy option in a heartbeat!

Everyone else in the group headed down until it was just me and the guide and I had no more excuses to use up, time to just go and deal with it. Once I got over the first roller I could see more of the line and things weren't nearly as sketchy as my paranoid mind had been trying to convince me they were. Top of the line was still steep enough that I had to turn/traverse/turn to make it down and falling wasn't an option without tomahawking in a sit ski, which sucks, but it opened up into one of the most memorable runs of my life. Mainly because I was crapping myself so much at the top but still went for it and had a blast. This s%&^ is why I came to AK, to see if I can handle the terrain and internal mind games. Still can't handle 90% of the terrain, but after today I feel better about the mental stuff.


April 24, 2011

Today was cool, a nice way to mark the anniversary. Being at 33 mile is like a pilgrimage and skiing stuff that really pushes me is fitting. Some screen grabs from today's GoPro footage:

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