Valdez, Alaska – April 19, 2011 – This year’s Tailgate Alaska: World Freeride Festival proved once again, that the Chugach mountains are the ultimate playground for wintersports enthusiasts. In the weeks leading up to this year’s event snow conditions in Alaska’s Chugach Range were looking bleak. With major wind events posting 150+mph gusts across Thompson Pass, locals were calling it the worst season in thirty plus years for good reason.
Then on March 23rd, days before the event was scheduled to begin, things started turning around. For the first week, stormy skies dominated the event. At basecamp, participants occupied themselves on the low level terrain, with snow science classes, ping pong, darts, the bakery, Flow tent, digging into the walls of the parking lot, and poking around the mountains during weather windows.
Then, on April 6th, patience paid off and the skies went wall to wall, electric blue.
Competitors who anxiously awaited for the clouds to open, throttled snowmachines up the meandering 2-mile, 3,500-foot ascent to the base of the competition venue; Tailgaters from more than 15 countries headed to Alaska Rendezvous Guides and Alaska Backcountry Adventures, struck out on splitboards and skis or rallied sleds into the surrounding mountains for the two plus feet of fresh snow.
And it is days like this that make it all worthwhile. Untracked, blower powder as far as the eye can see on untamed peaks stacked into the sky. North Face rider Ross Baker knows it. “I came up here by myself, and I knew some people who were going to be here. I’ve already made so many good friends and so many good connections. We’ve been out every single day hiking couloirs and just riding the best powder in my entire life-nothing beats this place.”
Tailgate Alaska: World Freeride Festival wrapped up with a bang. A three foot storm swept through and then went clear – yielding the best conditions on the final days of the event. On Sunday, April 10th, Anchorage’s DJ Cross spun records as the Northern Lights danced across the sky above the Alaska Rendezvous Lodge and Mt. Billy Mitchell. Thanks to everyone for making Tailgate Alaska such a magical event.
For more information of Tailgate Alaska: World Freeride Festival, check out www.tailgatealaska.com