Tailgate Alaska 2012.

TAILGATE AK Recap. April 25th

DAY NINE + TEN- Down Day and Qualifier. // April 9th-10th

Seems like it was a good move to wait for the reset on the traditional King of the Hill venue off of Thompson Pass. A bluebird day with plenty of new snow made for tons of pow slashes, sluffslides, and 3 or 4 50-60 ft soft slabs. A contest where riders are sending on a completely uncontrolled slope is a cool thing to watch. Finals are tomorrow 4/11,
supposedly on a first descent somewhere accessed by helicopters. Here’s the results from yesterday:

5: Sarka Pancochova
4: Cecelia Miller
3: Nathalie Zenklusen
2*: Yoko Nakamura
1*: Emily Weir

12: Danny Delozier
11: Mark Carter
10: Shin Biyama
9: Will Bromliesiek
8*: Micah Hoogaveen
7*: Sammy Leubke
6*: Donny Mills
5*: Mike Marohn
4*: Max Zipster
3*: Cody Beach
2*: Brandon Reid
1*: Scotty Lago

* – Qualified for Finals

DAY SIX, SEVEN and EIGHT. // April 6-8th 2012

Everyone expects weather days in Alaska, but I didn’t anticipate local Valdez bands to be ripping hard into the early morning. The other night some Mars Volta esque trio shredded it at a heli lodge on the pass and last night a spaced out electric metal group came on at midnight and played until 4 at the Pipeline bar. Crawling around ethereal ice caves and shredding pillows just above the Valdez harbor fill the down days just fine. Today we’re going to check out a pillow field called Turtles, near the Alaska Pipeline. Rumor has it that the oil guys’ security will give you an escort at gun point if you get to close to their scene, so we might have to tiptoe around…

DAY FIVE. // April 5th,2012. Thompson Pass, Valdez Alaska.

^ Nathalie Zenklusen probing it out and gettin’ extreme
This gaping hole opens up into a huge ice cave. Arob took us there at Tailgate a few years ago, and we were able to just walk right in it. Way more snow this year, the only way in was to rope up and slide down.
Flat light goggle change.Shayboarder, axe tossin’
^ Man Games and Monarch in-between runs.
^One of the highlights of this event is all the pow searchers just wandering around the backcountry. This guy Peter came all the way from the Netherlands. He cruised with us to the Worthington Glacier yesterday and was stoked.

…and another edit with rider, Micah Hoogeveen, who’s up shredding with the Bomb Snow Crew this year. Get some! Stay tuned for more fun as Tailgate 2012 continues, and remember to always promote positive propaganda! Bombs? NO. Peace!

All Photos: Reid Morth. Words: Murph and Morth.

TAILGATE ALASKA. 2012 / This is the starting point of Bomb Snow’s trek to the snow-caked mountains of our countries most bountiful powder capital. The majestic beauty of Thompson Pass in beautiful Valdez, Alaska.

Follow us as we embark on a mission of epic proportions to explore insurmountable goodness during the 2012 Tailgate Alaska World Freeride Festival.

Daily updates will be happening, so you can live vicariously through our photographer Reid Morth and rider/writer,  Nathaniel Murphy. Below are a couple teasers from the past Tailgate events.  Stay tuned as our updates will start April 1st, 2012 and run all the way through the end of the event…ENJOY! -T.O

Today kicks off the start of BombSnow’s two week mission to Tailgate and Arctic Man. Getting to Alaska is never easy. Staff photographer, Reid Morth, flew from the bombed out spring runoff of Bozeman into 140mph headwinds; shaken, stirred, and tumbled all the way to Anchorage. I opted for a last minute free ride along the ALCAN. Only went off the road once, at least those snowbanks are soft and deep! -Murph

Below: Reid making the most of his 7hr layover in Juneau- Mendenhall Glacier, a 6 mile walk from the airport.





Above: Rob sent it deep into a ditch late night. After 2 futile hours of shoveling under the northern lights, we decided to throw in the towel. Here we are, getting winched out that first morning in AK.

Opening day and familiar faces continue to roll up to milemarker 26 on Thompson Pass. Reid and I were greeted by Pam Robinson, and immediately taken in like family. Andy Bergin Sperry and Joe Bosler came out from Bellingham, looking
like the drive took its toll. Rob Kingwill has been coming to Thompson Pass for decades, and stashes his sled here year round. He flew in and spent the day shoveling, trying to find his sled. He finally probed it and shoveled it out from 12 feet of snow, bent the handle bars back into place and fired it up! The pass is in a nice cool, high pressure system right now and, wanting to save the brodown for the beer garden, we started sessioning some nearby cliffs and scouting bigger lines.

Above: Heli Flys over the back of Bro-Bowl
Murph and Micah scoping terrain^

Murph taking his last turns during our first afternoon on Thompson Pass^
View from Camp, April 1st 2012^















Mornings in Valdez Harbor are the best!^ Day Three- We hiked up the Berlin Wall all the way from Camp. Check out the Black and whites below, the scenery up here is unreal! Super windy bluebird day, meant lots of skinning and cold weather! Enjoy.




Good cooking thanks to Pam-Rob!^

Event organizer Mark Sullivan and the guides comprising the high angle rescue team met with competitors last night to go over the format, judging, and safety aspects of the competition. “The North Face Masters and Freeride World Tour are all lift accessed events. Here in Alaska, it is completely uncontrolled and real.” Because of the nature of the terrain, everyone has to wear a harness in addition to regular backcountry gear. The judging will be based on line choice, freestyle, and fluidity. “Basically, we are looking for video part worthy runs.” Sullivan went on to say that because of those high expectations, he is putting the start day on hold until the next low pressure system resets the venue. King of the Hill has traditionally been held on an area called BroBowl, where conditions were firm today, as evidenced by a Japanese rider who lost control and fractured his pelvis in the zone.

And despite $10,000 being on the line for first place, there really aren’t any competitive vibes. Just new and old friends shredding, barbequing, and getting inspired by these massive peaks. There was also a lot of Montana love in Alaska yesterday. The Fire of Life Party at the Alaska Rendezvous Guide’s heli base celebrated Doug Coombs and others that have fallen.

Undoubtedly, the most sorely missed presence is that of Aaron Robinson, who had been to this event since day one and become known to many Valdez locals as the “Mayor of Tailgate.” Aaron Robinson’s mother, Pam, spread his ashes on the Chugach under perfectly blue skis. An impressive crowd of close friends and shred buddies gathered in a zone called Nick’s, named after snowboard legend Nick Perata. One of the early pioneers of the Valdez snowboard scene, Perata was both a close friend and mentor to Aaron. The area has views of the more impressive lines in the area, like the Books and the Valley of the Tusk. The run back down to the Tailgate event rolls through a giant feature filled glacier canyon known as Nick’s Happy Valley.

A Hands on crevasse rescue class got snowboarders of varied experience levels roped in and practicing new systems. ^

-See you Manana- Reid and Murph

Here’s a little edit from our  reporter in the field Erik Morrison on Last years Tailgate experience. Stay tuned for more POV footage from this year coming up in days to come…peace.

10 Responses to “Tailgate Alaska 2012.”

  1. Wow! Those ice cave photos are right out of National Geographic. Great work
    Reid! Love the blog. Stay safe, and best of luck to you, Micah, and Brandon tomorrow. The whole MB Crew is pulling for you guys!

  2. [...] Monica Cory/MT A new documentary showcasing the 26-year history of this extreme competition will be premiered at 7…aturing the top professional skiers, snowboarders and snow machine drivers from around the world, [...]

  3. That shot of Nathalie Zenklusen slashing above the glacier is rad. Tell Murph to step it up! Stoked on the blog. Keep it coming :)

  4. jamezb says:

    Ahhh…that’s the “soft snow bank” I heard about. Thanks for getting my truck back up to AK. Let me know if you guys need anything while your up here. Take luck

  5. Travski says:

    Nice Reid! I knew you’d be getting some fresh goods and pics. 67 degrees again in Bozeman today. I’m going to email you what my Monday looked like though… Later dudes!

  6. Hells yah! Keep those pics coming.

  7. theath says:

    Shiny side up, rubber side down! Good vibes and sunny days. Keep it zesty fellas!

  8. Safe travels guys! Say hi to all our friends on the pass when you get there :)

  9. Travski says:

    Nice Boys….keep it between the lines and go deep in the pow.

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