Before the snow

Just on time before some new snow coming in, we went for a couple of turn in Haines Pass area. Weather was mostly good except the wind. It was a bit tricky to find a good location with no wind and good snow. The wind was mostly from the northwest, but in some places from the northeast. The snow was very wind affected, most of the good places for the snow were in North aspect, but it was also a bit difficult to find some stable snowpack.  But we eventually found some good places around Kusawak. Sheltered from the cold wind, we had great time skinning up without gloves and tuque. On the way down, some sheltered gullies gave us the opportunity to make some nice turns in an nice old powder…not very fresh but good enough to make some smooth turns. But it was not good everywhere, in some places the snowpack was very wind affected and the rain crust with ice on the top of the snowpack…not very easy to ski on and something to keep in mind after the current snowfall.

Snow drifted by the wind


Old tracks, yes it shows that the snowpack has been wind affected. froid-200

Ice pieces on the top of the snowpack…not great for skiing.


But nice days out with a pure blue sky.

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See you soon with fresh snow…yes it is snowing finally.


Haines Pass, ski and Northern Lights

Yes, we got some fresh snow, finally. Not a big dump, but enough to make some nice turns. I decided to head up to Haines Pass. The area received between 20 and 30 cm of new snow. Some areas were a bit wind affected, especially on the alaskan side. Be aware about north slopes, avalanche bulletin was right, some slides happened, sledder triggered a good size 2. The weather was great, a pure blue sky, cold temperature in the morning at -30C but warming up during the day. It is possible to find some good ski conditions,  even in avoiding the tempting north slopes, and you have a wide choice of terrain around here. The ski was good, but the most exciting was the wonderful night that I spent, with an amazing northern lights display, the sky was in fire most of the night.

Alaska Highway The Alaska highway, the road to the mountains.

froid-124 Highway Maintenance Crew working hard, a good sign that we received fresh snow.

froid-132 Easy skinning.froid-131 The view was amazing.froid-130

froid-127  Yes the snow was good, not super deep big powder but good enough.froid-138    froid-133

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And then, the night show:

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Haines Pass, between Alaska and Yukon

It has been while since I skied at Haines Summit. Weather forecast was still “good”, sunny anyway but cold and windy…so very cold. Temperature was around -20c but with a moderate North wind, the windchill was around -40c sometimes. Snow pack is not so different than White Pass. Not a lot of snow, so dry, it seems like the end of May. The supportive rain crust is present everywhere up to 2000 m at least. Crevasses are not well covered, something to be aware of after the next snowfall. The snowpack seems to be mostly stable, but be aware , there is still some layers of facets and/or hoar, and in some shallow area it could produce some interesting slides. Ski conditions are not that bad, snow is hard but provide a good grip and the surface is mostly smooth. If you have good skis with good edges you can carve like crazy… not so common but funny. It was cold and windy, but the sky was clear and the night very clear with an amazing moon, if it would not have been so windy and cold I would like to go for a night tour. The second day was less windy,  but still very sunny. We are still waiting for new fresh snow, according to the forecast, it should come soon.

The Haines road

Haines Hwy

Haines Summit

A bit windy, interesting , even with this hard snowpack how the wind manage to transport some loose snow.

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Avalanche on the Northwest slope on Glave Peak shoulder.

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The wind



Nice view anyway

HP feb 10

claude nadahini


The Klehini river



A starry night with a bright moon.


On the way back to Whitehorse

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on the South side

Weather conditions are getting back to the normal with cold, a bit windy and unfortunately no snow. We got a bit of fresh snow last week…just a bit between 1 and 3 cm but everywhere now the snowpack is frozen solid with a important and supportive frozen crust. Not too funny if you are looking for powder… I will pay a pack of beer to the first one who find some powder in the White Pass area before the end of the week. The good thing is, travelling in throughout the mountains is fast but you need good skins, maybe ski crampons and of course ice crampons if you want to  go in steeper slopes, if you have just fat powder skis or a split board…I think you can just pass. For this time of the year, the snowpack is pretty stable and gives the opportunity  to ski some steep lines…if you like hard and icy snow. Wearing an helmet is not useless, snow is hard to very hard, slippery and there are a lot of rocks, falling is not an options anyway but a helmet is something you could think of.

Yesterday, we went on the Alaskan side, it seems like spring but not for temperatures, do not expect a warm up during the day , now we are back in winter and the sun is not warm enough to have soft snow in the afternoon. It was -10c at the car and around -20c with the windchill, wind was from the North, light to moderate but constant  so we were happy to find some sheltered areas and we were attracted by sunny faces. Ski conditions were not that bad, it was possible to make doe nice turns all the way, but you need to like to ski on hard snow. But it was nice and sunny day spent with friends in the mountains. Now we are waiting for new snow, just keep in mind that some hard and frozen  slopes are waiting for new snow too, and they will provide a perfect sipper base for the next snow, and we should have some tricky conditions.The-Knee-21

Where is the snow, just like spring…amazing how it is dry out there….



But a bit higher,  the temperature was not like spring…





Climbing to the top


Some North faces seems like in good shape, but in reality it is hard snow and sometimes an unsupportive crust very bad for skiing, especially when it is steep.


And yes, the shiny little spot on the right is the Lynn Canal, a tiny part of the Ocean close to Haines AK.ZAG-alaskaBut some South slopes are not that bad.

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If you do not believe that we had some spring conditions, even some green stuff has been fooled by the weather.




After the rain storm…


After the crazy weather that we had, the weather is nice again, but the snow pack has been very affected. The storm with rain, strong wind affected the entire region apparently and it rained above 2000 meters of elevation. White Pass looks like the end of may now with not a lot of snow left. But lets find the positive things. After an important avalanche cycle, now the snowpack is well set up, covered by a hard and mostly supportive crust of ice snow and/or ice. According to the weather forecast for today, it supposed to be warm again, close to 5c. It was warm for the season but not that warm and the snow was just affected in just sheltered area facing SE….where the snow was good ;-) So we decided to go for a South Face, and I wanted to go high to check the conditions there…and to enjoy the view, so we headed up to Taiya Mountain, one of the highest peak in the area. Our plan was to ski the South-west face, but because of the snow conditions we decided to go down by the easiest way.

The fog was present from Carcross cut-off to Fraser, but after a few minutes we were above the thin layer of clouds.

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The snow pack, well affected by the rain, easy too see with those typical drainage lines…so good for skiing, especially when the snow is frozen hard….Taiya jan 27

So yes, this morning and most of the day, the snow was frozen hard..and supportive, easy to travel on with good skins (snow crampons mandatory if you are not very experienced)

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Another general view  of the snowpack well affected by the rain and with tracks of old avalanches.Taiya peak

A bit of boot packing, campons mandatory, the snow is sometimes covered by pure ice, helmet useful because of falling ice balls.


Close to the top, on the summit plateau, the snow is covered by ice balls, sometimes bigger than a tennis ball.

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On the N side, Taiya glacier is not well covered and crevasses are still clearly visible, not good for skiing yet.froid-47

The funny snow surface…taiya jan 27-6

Let s be ready for some funny skiing…froid-48

The upper part was very bad for skiing…but once on the East side, we encountered a very nice corn snow…our legs were happy too.


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Now lets do the snow dance or whatever could bring some new fresh snow.

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Fraser Peak

Good weather finally at White Pass, the road was open, so we went to see the result after the passage of the warm front  with good snowfalls, warm temperatures and strong wind. It was a bit cloudy in the morning, especially in the alaskan side, temperature was close to zero but always negative with a light SW wind, so it did not affect the snow. But, no doubt, the wind did his job and the snowpack is very wind affected and variable. Ski conditions were fair sometimes close to be good in some locations. The stability was not to bad, but the frozen crust is now present from the bottom to up to 1600m in the Fraser area, there is some new fresh snow, loaded a bit by the wind in N NE aspect. That new snow was good for skiing. We tried some steeper couloirs, but the snow was hard to very hard with a thin icy layer on top of it, in one couloir it was impossible to climb without ice crampons and in the other one, skiing was very difficult, something to keep in mind for the next snowfall for sure. But, we had a nice day out and we did some good turns on that new fresh snow. Do not forget to check avalanche conditions : Avalanche bulletin

The view of Summit Creek, Feather, Cleveland SE and Carmacks.


Snow was good for skinning up.


Nice light in the morning


In the East side, the wind did a very good job to remove the snow.


One of the couloir we tried.





In the hidden couloir

Fraser Hidden couloir

A few good turns anyway…





Merry christmas



I wish you a great ski season, thousands of nice turns in a wonderful environment.

Ski safe and have fun.




snow conditions update December 18th

-40c, this morning in Whitehorse, cold fog was not really inviting, but we decided to go to see the sun in White Pass. -30c at Fraser, a bit foggy but we could see the sun above. The plan was to go to check the Feather/Cleveland area but once on the parking lot…it was very cold and windy…the terrible cold wind, impossible to keep any part of your skin not covered, not very funny for a tour. So we went back to Log Cabin and his sunny face….very attractive for a cold day.

First thing, there is not a lot of snow in the White Pass area, and the snowpack has been very wind affected.  It is good for touring, but if you are chasing powder, just forget it. there is some pocket of powder in sheltered spots below the tree line or in some North faces but the snow does not seem to be stable there. A nice slab released on the North Face of Cleveland SE peak, and some other in the back of Fraser ridge (north aspect too). In South aspects, the snow seems to be very packed by the wind, but it could remain some hard slabs.

If you wan to ski on glaciers, be aware, it was a very dry and hot summer, the beginning of the winter is dry, it means crevasses are wide opened or partially covered (check previous post). The ski quality was poor to fair but it was a gorgeous day outside.

Sunrise over the Fraser and White Pass area.

Fraser White Pass


Feather peak




Tayia SE


The Saw Tooth with the cold fog flowing down the valley.

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North face of Cleveland S-E peak, a nice fracture line.




The Knee, with still a lot of crevasses wide opened.

the knee



Tayia, the NW peak..crevasses




Tayia, the North face





The funny snow, rim from the moisture coming from the ocean, not that bad for skiing, it was probably the best part.

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Wind affected snow pack…log cabin


The White Pass, and a new system coming from the means more snow coming and warmer temperatures for Whitehorse, everybody will be happy.tayia-7


New press release



A nice article about me and ski touring in Yukon.

Thank you Ryan and Gary for the good job.


Powder Valley

A little trip to Powder Valley, but without a lot of powder . Snow pack has been very wind affected above the tree line. So powder can just be found below the tree line.  The snowpack is still thin, ski conditions are variable from poor to good. The weather was great, it was -27 c in Whitehorse, -25c on the parking…and -12c at the top with just a  light South South East wind. A very good day outside traveling in the perfect winter light.

For avalanche , at 1350m in  East aspect, remotely triggered a size 1 hard slab  from a flat area 10 meters away. Crown between 10 to 70cm.
We  observed, sign of 2.5 size slab avalanche on East slope  of  Paddy’s Peak east summit.
Powder valley
An happy skier ascending
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Powder valley
Powder valley
And what a reward on top, the view was amazing, a nice cloud sea raised the level of Bennet Lake.
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A small size one that we triggered remotely, a good remind on actual snow conditions.
Powder valley
Powder valley
Sometimes, skiing on wind affected snow is not that bad…
Powder valley
Powder valley
The end of a wonderful day.