Summer Solstice Ski

June 24, 2013

Photo: Greg Harms

Once again, our trusty media correspondent, Chris Santella, checks in from Cast and Carve 2013. Here is his latest tale of how he and the crew spent the summer solstice. Amazing!

Last evening, after a dinner of white and red Chinook salmon (full disclosure – I don’t eat fish, so Chef Brendan fixed me a delicate chicken breast), I was prepared to grab a beer and watch the sun hover over the hills to the north on this, the longest day of the year.  That was until Mike announced it was time to go skiing.  Though my legs were still speaking to me of the morning’s 10,000 feet of vertical and I was beginning to wind down, I dutifully pulled on my ski pants.  How many chances are you going to have to ski on the summer solstice.

In Alaska.

At 11pm.

From a helicopter.

It’s been a tradition at Tordrillo to ski the solstice evening if weather allows, and I can see why.  Our pilot landed the helicopter on a tiny precipice.   I can’t adequately describe the quality of the light.  The sun was still hovering above the big mountains to the northwest, and a full moon was rising in the east.  The sun was filtering through wisps of cloud, ground fog, diffusing in a rainbow-like spectrum.  After four runs on the still soft corn snow (though a bit harder in the shaded valleys), we boarded the helicopter and headed home.

Back at the lodge, I changed into my suit and jumped in the hot tub.  At midnight, the hills across the lake were still bathed in alpenglow.  Trout and char were dimpling the surface.  There wasn’t a sound – not even a loon — though eventually, I could make out the distant whir of the helicopter with the last group coming in.

Photo: Greg Harms

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