Every year Arctic Valley Ski Area has a fundraiser auction, and this year I bid on a pair of custom skis from Go Custom Skis in Seattle, Washington. I couldn’t believe I was the winner at $75 below retail value! Tristan runs GC Skis, and we started communicating about my new set of boards right away! I wanted a pair of skis that looked like the ones I painted in an image called Ski AK that I have been selling since 2013. The graphic is a nod to the Alaskan flag and says “Alaska”. When I was designing my new skis I put the same graphics on the front, and created a new one for the back of the skis, which was not visible in the painting. I put my Arctic Valley trail map painting inside the text spelling out “Alaska”. The skis got made and hand-delivered by Tristan, who is also a jet pilot for Costco. He happened to fly a group of execs to Alaska and brought the skis, which saved me having to pay for shipping. I bought some nice Marker bindings, and had them mounted at SkiAK.
Yesterday was Santa Skis Free day at Alyeska Resort, and my first chance to try out my new “Alaska” skis. Santa Skis Free day is a blast! Nothing is funnier than seeing 750 Santas riding the lifts, rocking some turns, crashing, drinking beers, and occasionally gathering up scattered gear from an all-out Santa yard-sale. Everyone who dressed up like Santa head-to-toe, or Ms. Claus, an elf, or a reindeer got a free lift ticket!
My skis had just been hot-waxed, and were way more slippery than my old skis. It was also a classic Alyeska ski day with overcast skies, some flurries of snow, fog, and overall terrible visibility. Since I broke my hand up there last year, I hadn’t been back to ski at Alyeska. The new skis were handling way differently than I expected, and I nearly wiped out on Silvertip just after I got off the lift. This happened mostly because I couldn’t see anything. There is a significant drop-off where speed is needed to get up the other side. I didn’t biff it, but I didn’t look very smooth either. I pretty much splayed my legs out and avoided going down from the sheer strength of my groin (imagine me doing this in a Santa costume). Snow sprayed up all over me and I looked like an abominable snowman for the rest of the day. After the fifth run I was getting more comfortable with the short turn radius, and I could sit back and ride them a lot more proficiently. Maria and I made it to the Santa group photo, and skied a few more laps, stopping in the woods for a quick sandwich. We then made it down the mountain with no repercussions. I got many compliments in the lift line, and on the chairlift on my “Alaska” skis, and gave Tristan props each time.
After we took off our Santa suits we went over to Girdwood Brewing to nab a tasty brew! I got the GBC 500: a Brewing Odyssey, and Maria had the IP-AK. Last time I had a beer at GBC after a ski day at Alyeska I was icing a broken hand. Much better to be sitting there without a broken bone. We drove home with enough time to catch the end of my Russian lesson on Zoom, and then we helped a friend assemble a brand new dining room table he had built from a large slab of Elm and solid Walnut. It turned out to be a great day! Cheers to new skis, an amazing new table, and the genius who came up with Santa Skis Free Day at Alyeska Resort!