After a kayaking trip to Mexico had fallen through, I had a plane ticket to use. In the winter of 2011-2012, Alaska was having a record year for snowfall. When I caught word of this I knew exactly what I needed to do. So I re-booked the Mexico ticket to spend 10 days in Alaska. It was a bit intimidating coming up to an area that I knew nothing about and no one there. I knew there was a hostel and that I knew someone that could pick me up from the airport and drop me in Girdwood. That was enough for me. So there I was heading to Alaska solo, I had made it to Denver from Crested Butte but while I was there I had slipped and fell on ice loading my bags into the truck. As I was laying under my truck with a dislocated knee, tears started to fill my eyes as reality was starting to set in. NO! I’m on my way to Alaska, somewhere I had dreamed about skiing all my life, and now I just blew out my knee. It was an hour before I had to leave my friends house in Denver to catch my flight. She helped my get back into the house, we threw some ice on my knee and I started to think about my opinions. Cancel the trip? Re-schedule it? Or just go and hope for the best?
An hour later and a stop at the pharmacy, I was hobbling throughout the airport on my way to Alaska. I was determined to build my knee strength up and be able to ski on this trip. While reaching out to some friends in the lower 48, I found that a co-worker of mine from the Arkansas river was living in Girdwood. I contacted him and offered me to stay at his place. I was so relieved and grateful! After a few days of taking care of my knee, I decided to go ski. I had a knee stabilizer and ACL brace on. It was a bit painful and I’ll probably pay for it in my older years but I did it. It was stable and I knew I was good to go. I was constantly icing my knee, doing physical therapy and enjoying my time. Everyday after that was a powder day, like 2 foot powder days!! … and I skied them all! I was blown away with the quality of the snow and the steepness of the mountains. When it came time to leave, I did not want to go anywhere.
I was as close to heaven as I had ever been. This is what I had dreamed about doing my whole life, and there I was doing it! So I didn’t leave. I cancelled my plane ticket home and stayed in Alaska.
Being in Alaska was the happiest that I had ever been. I am glad that I followed my heart and continued to be determined enough to follow through on something I had been dreaming of. I decided it was time to go when March came and I knew I had to be getting back to Crested Butte. I left with the intension of returning for skiing in Valdez in April. This time with my truck and all my gear with me.