Why Cloud Mountain?
A number of years ago, when Tailgate Alaska was started, I was working on a project called MTN OPS (creating the world's first geolocation based website) and collaborating with talented artist Oscar Woodruff. One of the designs we came up with was called "Cloud Mountain". It was a fantasy piece - the ultimate mountain - high up in the clouds - like a snowboarders version of Mt. Olympus. Certainly the Chugach, this stretch of mountains, has played host to countless immortal feats since first ridden 30 years ago. Alaska, and in particular Thompson Pass - these mountains, this land - and this cabin - are my 'Cloud Mountain' brought to life.
You see, this place is the world's largest backcountry skiing and snowboarding area and is surrounded by more than one billion acres of raw mountain terrain - more in fact than ALL ski areas in the world, combined. The whole thing is blanked with 700" of 'stable' snow a year and there are thousands of glaciers - extending for hundreds of miles in each direction.
It is famous - like if you have seen a ski/snowboard magazine or video, you are already familiar with this place. It is remote - at least to some people - and despite bringing thousands of people there over the past decade with Tailgate Alaska - it remains completely unspoiled. The number of people who ski Vail in a single weekend eclipses the number of total skiers in it's entire history. It is still the frontier of skiing - and is totally untapped.That and the powder is limitless. It is not like I have had some of my best days riding here - I have had all of them here - and continue to find challenge in that incremental conquest of personal progression year after year.
When I am in this place, the awe and wonder of living flows through me and I am overcome by a peaceful sense of gratitude - and when I am far away, the memories serve as trickle charger to everyday life. Here I feel the significance of being insignificant, listening for each breath mother nature takes, in the shadow of giants.