Alaska Road Trip Day 12 – Tincan

Post by blogger | May 27, 2010      
Turnagain Pass backcountry skiing.

Backcountry skiing yesterday on Tincan, Turnagain Pass, Alaska.

I usually think of Anchorage as just a somewhat crowded city near the ocean, but in a way it’s really a mountain town. Most mountain towns have roadside attractions for your backcountry skiing pleasure. While the Anchorage “roadside” is frequently a bush plane landing or helicopter lift, you can get to some good skiing around here with a short car drive and some hiking. One such road accessed place I got introduced to years ago is Turnagain Pass on the Seward Highway. I’m still a gumby without much knowledge of the options for Turnagain skiing (you can get to a bunch of peaks up there), but it’s easy to follow the local’s tracks up Tincan and get some turns, so we did.

Turnagain Pass backcountry skiing.

You can ski Tincan a bunch of ways, we chose this bowl. The snow was quite slushy by the time we got there and we knocked off a lot of surface sluffs, but overall the snowpack was stable (though by the time we got there anything steep was not an option due to the loose wet snow).

Louie on the ridge

Louie on the ridge, looking northerly at Turnagain Arm and on the horizon a miniscule portion of the gigantic Chugach mountain range (I'm pretty sure, locals please correct if I'm wrong).

Looking the other direction. Kenai mountains blow our minds.

Looking in somewhat the other direction. Kenai mountains blow our minds, and perhaps that's more of the Chugach back there? More than once, I've heard the boys talk about living up here for a while. I'm actually kind of surprised I didn't do so myself while in my 20s. The backcountry skiing options were not as highly developed then, but the adventure sure was.


Jordan throwing some slush around.

Lou does some of his old school hops. They still work.

That's me doing some of my old-school hops in some crusty stuff.

It was terrific to get out again after more than two days cooped up in the truck. The thick air of being at nearly sea level was crazy. Weird to have your legs burn when you’re not even breathing hard. Denali will cure that situation soon enough!

We might get in a few more short tours around here, but we’re focused on final packing and getting our whole mess up to Talkeetna. That process is going well, but I’m tired of REI and Wal-Mart!


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


18 Responses to “Alaska Road Trip Day 12 – Tincan”

  1. Annah May 27th, 2010 9:48 am

    These photos are amazing. It looks like an incredibly beautiful place. I’ll be looking forward to more!

  2. Thomas B May 27th, 2010 10:09 am

    Lou is lying everybody, these pictures were taken in Europe! 😆
    Thats “Todds run” you skied Lou (in memory of …..). Tincan proper is the high point on the ridge a few hundred feet past your entrance point. Kickstep is the dramatic looking peak at the very end of the ridge. Yes The Kenai mountains are fun, glad you are liking the sea level action.

  3. Dongshow May 27th, 2010 11:11 am

    I agree with Thomas, that stuff isn’t anywhere near here, but if it was that around here I’d let you know that in the 3rd from last picture someone is looking over towards Eddies and Wolverine, which are fantastic if you’re around and it’s still cold.

  4. Dave May 27th, 2010 11:52 am

    Enjoyed talking with you at Nugget RV Park. Be careful on Denali. I look forward to following your adventures on this trip.

  5. shap May 27th, 2010 1:36 pm

    stat away from Wal-Mart, they are Dr. Evil,
    over here in VT they are banned

  6. Nick May 27th, 2010 3:33 pm

    +1 on avoiding Walter. Stop at the Fred Meyer in Wasilla on your way to Talkeetna. It is enormous and will certaintly have anything you need from a food perspective. Actually, a very good (oversized) grocery store.

  7. CDawson May 27th, 2010 5:36 pm

    Be sure to stop in at Chilkoot Charlies for a tall one, you may see our old band picture on the wall somewhere!!

  8. John Dillman May 27th, 2010 9:30 pm

    I enjoyed the pictures from Turnagain Pass. Helga Bading, Vin Hoeman and I skied past Tin Can and climbed Kickstep in 1962. Vin and I had Army surplus skiis and square-toed boots, cable bindings and Army strap on skins. Helga had the latest touring gear from Europe. Actually, the Army gear worked just as well. Not much turning on that gear, but it sure beat snow-shoes. Have fun slogging up the West Buttress with all that gear. Be safe, looking forward to your posts.

  9. Lou May 27th, 2010 10:08 pm

    Hey John, any idea why that peak is called Tincan? Some old trapper left a can of beans there or something?

  10. teo May 28th, 2010 9:55 am

    Long time reader wishing you the best on Denali!
    Keep up the great work.

  11. Jerry May 28th, 2010 5:08 pm

    The true Tincan is the peak in the back of the valley in your first photo. The Kickstep that John is referring to is the prominent peak this side of Tincan on the leading ridge “behind” the skier. good job on nabbing that peak back in the 60s John.

  12. John May 28th, 2010 6:03 pm

    Whatever their names, the peak we climbed in 1962 is the one in the center background on the first picture.

  13. Scott Garrand May 28th, 2010 9:23 pm

    Nice photos Lou. Its been awhile. I Remember when you and I skied in Turnagain Pass and environs while you were researching Wild Snow. Good days indeed!
    Vaya con Dios this trip….

  14. Lou May 28th, 2010 11:21 pm

    Hi Scott! Good to hear from you. Perhaps we can get together when we get back from Denali, you still in AK?… drop another comment then

  15. Scott Garrand May 29th, 2010 8:29 pm

    Hey Lou! Nice to connect with you. Incredible trip that you and your crew have put together. I left Alaska awhile back & now live in the Adirondacks. Would love to show you around sometime, I think you would like it here.
    When you arrive back home and level out, shoot me an email and we can catch up.
    Will be following your trip. Stay safe and ski hard….

  16. dave miller October 27th, 2010 1:22 pm

    Scott, we all thought you were dead. Why dont you ever get in touch with your old ski buddies?

  17. Scott Garrand October 27th, 2010 7:18 pm

    Dave! Wow, knock me over with a feather! No I aint dead yet….How are you amigo? It has been awhile, how can I get ahold of you?

  18. dave miller November 9th, 2010 10:46 am

    Scott, try me at 258-0784. still hanging here in AK. married with 5 kids, got my little ones following me down anything I can ski. had to shelve the 3 pins and get some AT gear so I wasnt so tired at the end of the day skiing with the little beasts. Hope you are well.

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