National magazines look at Haines skiing

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2001

If the latest batch of skiing and snowboarding magazines are any indication, Haines could be poised for a backcountry boom this winter.

At least four national ski magazines feature photos and anecdotes this month about skiing the high mountain ranges of the Chilkat Valley.

The Upper Chilkat Valley is the next Shangri-La in the December issue of Powder magazine.

In an articled titled "The Next Big Step in the Last Frontier," author Keith Carlson tags Haines as a yet-unexploited bonanza for adventure skiers.

Carlson describes why Valdez, formerly the center of backcountry skiing in Alaska, was abandoned by skiers looking for first descents of untracked peaks. "A bunch of business and other baggage got mixed in and kind of diluted it. Essentially hunting first descents took the back seat to guiding paying clients down established runs it's difficult to do your job in a place with terrain limitations and political obstacles."

Chilkat descents are featured in Teton Gravity Research's latest film, "Mind the Addiction."

The Chilkats are featured in a profile of French snowboarder Axel Pauporte in the December issue of Transworld Snowboarding magazine, and the latest edition of Boulder, Colo.-based "Hooked on the Outdoors" examines the local political debate over heliskiing.

Heliski operator Scott Sundberg said the publicity shows the interest in Haines generated by films and photos produced over the past two spring skiing seasons.

He said Haines can be marketed as a "platinum" location for elite skiers. "A lot of people are interested in coming to Haines, and we think we can bring the elite here. We've seen the mistakes, and Haines needs to be developed as a place where people aren't expecting to see hundreds of skiers."

Sundberg said the ideal client is highly skilled, well heeled and looking to stay for up to a week.

More publicity is on the way in the February issues of Powder, with a 600-word article on his company, Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures.

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