It’s no secret that I love Valdez and the Copper River Valley. If I had to choose one reason why, it wouldn’t be the whales in the prince william sound. No. Not the tidewater Glaciers. Kayaking. The McCarthy Road Summer camping out at the Kooskolana bridge. 3 feet Snow Storm weekend? no, close. $75 dollar an hour snow shovelling gig? no, but getting closer.
Thompson Pass is the reason I love Valdez.
Starting 20 miles outside of Valdez on the Richardson Highway is Thompson Pass. One Pass to rule them all, as it was explained to me. I was a refugee from the industrial culture of the lower 48, when a good friend loaned me a bunch of fleece and an old snowboard to teach me to snowboard. “Boots? Do I need boots”, I asked. “No”, he said. “Your sorels will do. Here put these ski boot liners in them.”
I learned to snowboard on Thompson Pass. That was in the Spring of 1996. It’s close to my heart. Some many friends and friendly people congregate there each Spring. I met the gang up there. Dean Cummings and Lisa Wax. John and Jesse Tol. Pete Lowney. The Mills Brothers. Greg Geidt and Sean Wisner. Most are still around. Raeann Kruger. Ran Crone. Of course, my crew of Dale Bard, Eddie Spaghetti.
Crap, I’ve reminisced enough.
Trust me. Thompson Pass, Alaska in April is a world class special place. It’s hard. It sucks when it blows (paradox are common). But in that crucible, lifetime memories are forged. You will get high breathing the air and it will last a very long time. It’s special. It’s ultra Alaska. And I miss it.
So, if you are heading there, be glad. If you are there, enjoy. And, if you don’t know, now you know.