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JP Auclair and Andreas Fransson died in an avalanche on Mount Cochrane in southern Patagonia Monday. JP Auclair was one of the founding fathers of the New Canadian Airforce freestyle movement nearly 20 years ago and has been an innovator, leader and mentor in the sport of skiing ever since. In recent year’s Auclair gravitated toward bigger ski mountaineering objectives. Andreas Fransson had a passion for extremely bold and unforgiving descents, including the first and only descent of the South Face of Denali.
Although the past two ski seasons were not known for their consistency or quality, we still had some great days. Here’s a look back at a few highlights from 2012 and 2013.
Several segments that were edited from the McConkey documentary and not featured in the film are now being released online. These two focus Shane’s friends Scott Gaffney and JT Holmes.
When we last left you, we were waiting out the weather in Cordova and awaiting a clear window so that the helis could fly us up to tour camp.
We got that window on Thursday afternoon. Though the sky looked no less gray than it had for the previous four days, the pilots saw a hole and we got the word to grab our bags and get ready to load up.
It had been snowing and blowing for the past five days so the tents were sitting in holes so that only their tops were poking out. The scenery was spectacular, but we knew that the snowpack was volatile due to all of the new stuff. That afternoon, we made some cautious, low-angle runs. The snow was perfect pow and we relished being high up in the Chugach and scoping out the heli lines across the valley.
That night, we feasted on copious amounts of meat cooked up by our superstar guides, Jeff Dostie and Brennan Legasse. Later that evening, wind ripped through the mountains and we felt fortunate to be sheltered from it by our burly tents and the high snow walls that surrounded them.
The next day, the winds had scoured the snow and we spent most of the day hanging around camp and hiking short laps just above. Toward the end of the day, we headed out to see if we might find some soft stuff. We had a nice “walk,” but eventually decided that the winds were too cold and the snow was too scoured to make it worth going further. We headed home to enjoy our last night, feasting and imbibing with the group in the high alpine.
Mike Douglas has been cranking out some brilliant productions for his Salomon Freeski TV program. Here he and Kaj Zackrisson travel the Alps by train shredding pow the entire way. Douglas received help on the project from Sweetgrass Productions Nick Waggoner and Tahoe to Socal transplant Ben Mullin.
The US Alpine National Championship ski races were held at Squaw Valley last week and weekend. A soggy Wednesday gave way to a glorious bluebird raceday on Thursday. Conditions stayed perfect throughout the weekend with cold overnight temps for a good hard freeze on the course and perfect daytime weather for spectating. Hometown homegirl Julia Mancuso won a record 16th US Championship Title in giant slalom. Travis Ganong of Squaw Valley won the men’s super G. The weekend kicked off with skydivers and live music on the KT Sundeck Friday afternoon. Squaw Valley last hosted the Alpine Nationals in 2002.
Several Tahoe locals ventured to the Ruby Mountains Recently. Here’s an edit put together by Conor Toumarkine at Shreddy Times.