I just noticed that I neglected to respond to AK Pride's question/comments on this topic way back in 2010, so this is all related to what ridealaska is commenting on:
My view is that the Brooks has absolutely phenomenal terrain and is well worth the visit just for the tour of the land - nevertheless, you'll be hard pressed to find good snow - it'll either be facets with no base, windpack/breakable crust with facets underneath it - facets that could be sitting on a slick layer of old hard snow, or springtime wet snow sitting on top of colder facets, which just wants to break right off. At least that is my experience trying to ride in the Brooks. If you search for it you can find a TR on here where I tried riding Atigun Pass during May and started a huge wet slab a few turns into a steep line - it was super fun and beautiful to be out there but I would call it survival riding rather than epic turns. I think some folks have found better skiing snow in the Brooks at higher elevation-glaciated locations like Mt. Chamberlin etc. But you gotta fly into that stuff.
Regarding tree skiing in the Brooks Range - that is definitely a possibility. You'll probably be riding facets that fall apart all around you, but there are trees. I have scoped tree skiing possibilities around Wiseman (which is near the couloir ridealaska is interested in) and I have some photos I took from the air, which I can try to dig up, of pretty nice looking treed terrain somewhere in the southern Brooks between the Koyukuk River and Anuktuvuk Pass. When I used to live in Fairbanks, 24" inches of facets in the trees was all I had and I had a decent boreal forest tree spot off the Elliot Hwy in the Whites (I have a Boreal Forest tree skiing TR somewhere on this site as well). That interior arctic snow is rarely epic but it still makes for fun snowboarding adventures if you got the motivation.
acopafeel: no further testing specific to animal fat fending off frostbite - but plenty of experimentation with trying to use animal fat as a primary fuel for winter travel, as opposed to sugar (which is basically what fuels 99.9% of bc skiers' bodies). I have had some very good results with that - tons of energy and less hungry than my counterparts throughout the day. Come to think of it, I have also been less cold. I am absolutely positive that there are benefits to getting on a Ketogenic diet, not just for snow travel, but for life in general. That is a big subject best not to broach here but you can research it. There is tons out there now on the benefits of paleolithic nutrition. I have my days, however, where I need to binge on glucose, so I am still trying to figure it for myself. Allie, the Hatcher's Pass avi forecaster, lives almost entirely on wild animal fat and protein and she charges hard all day with no problems at all. She was even telling me that she used to guide on Denali on a purely ketogenic diet, which is mind blowing to me. I think the bottom line is that 40,000 years of human caribou hunting and fat consumption as primary fuel in the far north is evidence that there is something going on there - but our problem is that we moderns are so adapted to sugar instead of fat as fuel we will probably never know the actual benefits of living on a purely ketogenic diet in the Arctic -
q-tip - thanks for the link. There is a movie documentary out there called "Timeless Skiers of the Altai", which everyone should check out.
I think its apparent that hunter-gatherer's invented skis tens of thousands of years ago (I am even willing to speculate that Erectus/Neanderthals used some type of snow sliding technology hundreds of thousands of years ago). Hunters also invented skins. It is well known that Yukghagir hunters from Siberia attach moose leg skins to their skis to gain uphill traction. I believe the Sami did as well, and I am sure there are other examples.
My splitboard hunting practice is 100% influenced by the Old Way - not only to hunt on skis but also with a recognition that a great percentage of humans have been caribou hunters by necessity. If you are of European descent your ancestors were caribou hunters - 50,000 years ago the first Sapien inhabitants of ice-age Europe had to be caribou hunters to survive and the great herds of caribou ranged all the way into Spain. Hunting caribou in the snow is deep within our blood and our genes, and I suspect skiing in some form is as well, as a result. So this history defines my purpose for going out there - to taste what life for the majority of our species history on the planet might feel like - for a moment.
In reality - powder riding is only a replacement for an original wholeness and connectivity that is now lost as a result of the all engulfing pseudo 'connectivity' associated with the global techno-civilization and its empire of social and ecological dominance.
ridealaska; I tried to find that TR on Fairbanks tree riding and it seems to be gone. I will try to post those photos up here sometime when I get a chance. I did find the Atigun Pass TR viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9020 - I am not technology inclined so hopefully that link works? If not search for it under "Above the Arctic Circle" and you'll find it.
Here is the quick beta on Elliot - Grapefruit Rocks has decent open lanes through the trees on both its south and west aspects - the trick is finding good snow. Moose has some stellar birch tree moments if you know where to look - for a few turns you might even feel like you are in Hokkaido or something. Also there are a couple of dope log slides/rides that I know of there. If they get enough snow it can be quite a treat -if u dig tight trees that is.
Post subject: Re: Arctic Dreams and Splitboard Subsistence Strategies
Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:32 am
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:20 pm Posts: 333
I have Zero respect for many hunters in AZ, many drive along roads until they see somthing then jump out and start blasting. Many seem to think it's manley to kill without feeling any remorse or feelings at all (I grew up with guys like this). What you describe here i have respect for.. for what thats worth
Zude- thanks for your comment. I am with you. The dominant modern amerikkkan hunting culture out there is a real problem. Did you know that those f**krs are now starting use aerial drones for hunting in some places now? Shady business.
The place where I killed this caribou does not allow motorized access and rifle hunting is not allowed within 5 miles of the road corridor. Thus - you gotta travel 5 miles on foot or with a dog team if you want to hunt there. This situation forces people to actually learn how to hunt by having a relationship with their minds, bodies, the animals, and the land. For 5 miles I was passing through herds of caribou on my split until I shot one- thus a situation completely antithetical to the one you described.
I could go on a long diatribe about this. There is a lot to be said on the subject. But I'll try to sum up my hunting philosophy with the following dialogue taken from a movie about local food sustainability called eating "Eating Alaska";
Q; do you feel glad about killing for a living?
A; Im a hunter-gatherer.
Q; but your also, like, a hippy-environmentalist. How can you be both?
A; I dont think its possible not to be both unless your just ignorant about where food comes from.
Post subject: Re: Arctic Dreams and Splitboard Subsistence Strategies
Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:15 am
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:02 pm Posts: 754 Location: St. Croix Falls, WI
but plenty of experimentation with trying to use animal fat as a primary fuel for winter travel, as opposed to sugar (which is basically what fuels 99.9% of bc skiers' bodies). I have had some very good results with that - tons of energy and less hungry than my counterparts throughout the day. Come to think of it, I have also been less cold.
JVL....I will second that...biiiiig time. I was out some years ago riding with split.therapy in ID. For 2 weeks I'd show up at his place in the morning...eat 4 eggs, alot of bacon, and half an avocado, and finish that off with an orange.
It took about 30 mins before you could feel the muscles just cycle up....I felt pretty damn strong all day. split.therapy wouldn't eat til he got home...and this dude was fighting weight 275#.
Looking forward to doing the Paleo switch as well here soon. I may do grains in the future, but only ones that I grow, and grind myself.
_________________ "Out of the Indian approach to life there came a great freedom, an intense and absorbing respect for life, enriching faith in a supreme power, honesty, generosity, and brotherhood"