Tag Archives: Skiing

Skiing, Wrangell-St. Elias

Skiing, Wrangell-St. Elias Alaska.

A backcountry skier stands above the Kuskulana River, near Mt. Blackburn. Cross country skiing in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, winter, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

A quick photo from Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Skis: cheap
Pack: not very much $$
View: free

Temperature: Minus 40 degrees.

By the way – if you want to see some great work – check out Jim Goldstein’s blog post, including links to  over 160 photographers’ favorite photos from 2010.



Editing art

Backcountry skiing near Mt. Blackburn, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Winter is a great time for backcountry skiing in Alaska. Cross country skiing and ski touring in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, along the Kuskulana River, near Mt Blackburn and the Wrangell Mountains, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Happy New Year, and Welcome back to the blog. I had a somewhat mixed couple of weeks, which I’m sure I’ll tell you all about here soon enough. Before I get all that together however, I’ll post a short note about this news I saw, an article concerning a new publishing of the Mark Twain classics: “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” edited by Professor Alan Gribben of Auburn University at Montgomery. It differs from other editions of those books because Mr. Gribben has turned the word “nigger” — as used by Tom and Huck — into “slave.” Mr. Gribben has also changed “Injun” to Indian.

This is interesting to me. I’m a huge fan of Twain, particularly those novels, and the idea of editing (i.e., rewording) such great work is almost ghastly .. on the surface. On the other hand, we live in a world where art, including ‘great art‘ is constantly being ‘adapted‘ for presentation: consider films presented on television, for example. How are bleeps, voice-overs, cuts and blurred body parts any different to a publisher swapping out words that might be offensive or inappropriate? Or updated versions of Shakespearean classics, making them infinitely more readable for kids? How about song lyrics bleeped for radio play? Or, better yet, literary classics like Nabokov’s “Lolita” banned from schools altogether?

How about the outcry over John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”? The US Senate held a hearing in 1985 to deal with explicit lyrics in pop music. So we’re not talking about anything new here at all. Indeed, one of the most popular shows on TV in recent times is American Idol, where countless classic tunes have been butchered by this generations’ most current attempts to throw its own heros up the pop charts. 🙂 Continue reading

The Art of Science

Skiing, Chugach Mountains, Alaska.

Backcountry skiing on a ridge on Flat Top Mountain, Glen Alps, near Anchorage. Chugach State Park, winter, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

I recall a conversation or 2 on the subject of art and science; essentially, what differentiates and what connects the science and art. Art is exploration. Science is similar process with maybe more strictly defined boundaries. Certainly they’re both forms of creative expression.

I think the critical illustration of their differences is very simple; artists are so often WAY cool, and scientists way nerdy. 🙂



Art; an exploration of the unknown

Backcountry skiing on the Root Glacier, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Backcountry skiing, exploring the Root Glacier, with Stairway Icefall in the background. Springtime brings melt, opening a small pool of water on the glacier’s surface. Cross country skiing, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

I think art involves exploration, the process of stepping into the unknown, and taking a journey of sorts. In this way, I think we might relate the idea of art to the idea of “icon photography” discussed earlier. Seeking out the new is a vital fragment of making art, in my opinion.

At some point, we delineate art from craft. Art, to me, involves a greater element of the unknown, while craft is more a process of refinement and control. One hones one’s craft, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case with art. Art might simply involve turning a new direction with each step (though maybe it doesn’t have to do so). We don’t have to refine anything.

On a trek through the mountains, I enjoy the exploration, the wander itself. Though I guide hikes in places I’m obviously familiar with, I make an effort to reserve at least a trip or 2 each season as an exploratory hike. This summer, for example, we’re heading to the Arrigetch Peaks in Gates of the Arctic National Park, a park I’ve visited once, my very first remote hike in Alaska (wow, what a great memory that is). Venturing into the unknown is an artful process; a game of chance. I don’t know what we’ll find on the trip, and that itself is motivation for the undertaking; to simply experience that gift of the hidden.

Jazz musicians understand this, every time they step to the mic to improvise a solo they do exactly this. That’s the beauty of jazz. That’s also the beauty of art. The other is artifact. Continue reading

Cross country skiing photo – Wrangell St. Elias

Backcountry cross country skiing (XC skiing), Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Backcountry cross country skiing (XC skiing), Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey folks,

In honor of my ambitious plan to go skiing tomorrow, tuesday, I thought I’d post this scene from last spring – cross country skiing in Wrangell St. Elias National Park. It seemed like every day for the entire month of April was like this last year, and this is pretty much how I spent each morning – gliding over a nice crust of snow, surrounded by snow-covered mountain ranges, wide open spaces, blue skies and wildness.

I’m enjoying my time in Anchorage this year, but am OH SO wishing I were over in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park again. There is no place quite like it. Continue reading

Breakup – Cross Country Skiing

Backcountry cross country skiing, along the Kennecott River, near McCarthy, springtime, breakup, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Cross Country skiing this spring along the Kennecott River. This is why they call this time of year (April)  “breakup”. This spring was probably some of the funnest times I’ve had in a long time. What a great time and place!

You might notice my hip new Karhu 10th Mountain XCD backcountry skis. All I can say about ’em is these skis ROCK!!! Continue reading

Cross country skiing

Cross country skiing on the Kennicott river, springtime, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

I had to show this image from my most recent skiing outing. Here I take the last in a run of drops that started with the mountain in the background behind me (Bonanza Ridge) – with all that descent, I’d gathered a lot of speed, probably several hundred miles per hour. I was lucky enough to pick my line well in advance, and come right by my tripod. I’ve included the last in this series here below, without me in the image, to show you what an immaculate line I took, right between the boulders, and what a carve. I mean, does it get any sweeter?

Cross country ski tracks, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.



Cross Country Skiing, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska

Skier, cross country skiing, springtime, in the forest, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey folks,

Truth be told, I haven’t been shooting too much these last few weeks. I’m back in McCarthy, at the Shaq, and though the weather has been pretty nice, I just haven’t found much to photograph. It’s the end of winter, in that season known locally as ‘breakup’, a kind of pre-spring interim. The snow is melting, quickly, which means limited mobility – after about midday, its just slushy goo. however, when we get a nice clear sky, at night, the temperature drops dramatically (it’s been comfortably warm in the daytime), and the snow cover re-freezes .. so skiing in the morning is awesome. Continue reading