Skiing Santas and killer views

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 14:32:24 12/23/16

Today, December 23, 2016, is the one day of the ski season when the Alyeska Resort provides free skiing to anyone who wears a Santa Claus outfit. It has to be full boat, no simply wearing an elf hat and a red jacket!

At one point, a few minutes ago, I saw at least 7 or 8 Santa outfit-clad skiers clustered in two groups in the bottom cam shot, which is down at the base. Last year, they had somewhere between 600 and 800 skiers in Santa outfits show up for their free lift tickets.

The top cam view of the fog layer in the valley bottom is world-class. That's Turnagain Arm in the distance, so named by Captain Cook, who was sailing along the west coast, inspecting every inlet or bay he encountered, hoping to find the treasured Northwest Passage. When he sailed up the inlet that bears his name, he hung a right where the city of Anchorage lies today. After sailing 20 or 30 miles south, he found himself having to "turn again".

Turnagain Arm is home to the second most dramatic tide fluctuation in North America (after the Bay of Fundy). That, and whatever saltwater is in there, tends to prevent the water from freezing solid, in spite of the temperatures that lately have ranged between -5F and 15F. This contributes mightily to the fog layer that frequently forms in the area. It is a spooky experience to be skiing in sunlight high on the mountain, and suddenly be enveloped in pea soup freezing fog. Hopefully, they have the night skiing lights turned on today.


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