Trip Exlusive! Riding SE Alaska & Yukon Territory May-Aug

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Trip Exlusive! Riding SE Alaska & Yukon Territory May-Aug

Postby MattFlood » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:16 pm

Want to experience Alaska? Are you a Kitesurfing junkie? Always on the lookout for the next epic Kite adventure? Well, I've spent four of the last six summers in Alaska's best-kept secret kitesurfing paradise and am finally ready to share it with all of my fellow PSKA members.

The Location: There are two locations within an hour and fifteen minutes of each other. One being at the very end of the Lynn Canal (Northereastern most point of South East Alaska's inside passage) just north of Skagway AK which is flat-water, Tidal, and shallow with on-shore winds throughout the summer from May-August. The second location which has more steady consistant wind is in the southwest corner of the Yukon territory near an indian village known as Carcross(1 hour drive away) on glacial lake Bennett which has huge space for shallow flat-water riding, a sandy bottom, sandy beaches, and dunes with vehicle access and camping locations. For accomodation there are hotels as well as excellent B&B's in Skagway as well as rental cars, bars, nightlife, etc. There are many excellent ways of getting to Skagway via plane, car, or Alaska State Ferry system from Bellingham. In the yukon your only option is camping which is fantastic. During the summer months there is mostly sun (until 1-2am in june)and a very small amount of rain.

By Car: 3-day road-trip through B.C on the Alaska-Canada Highway, then south on the Klondike HWY from Whitehorse.
By Ferry: 3-day ferry ride from Bellingham w/weekly departures on the Alaska Marine Highway (this is recommended for your trip there or your trip home as it takes the same route as the cruise ships and makes stops in many fun SE Alaska towns.) You can get a cabin or just bring your sleeping bag and stay under the heated and covered atrium on the top deck. Ship has cafeteria, bar, showers, bathrooms, lockers, et.
By Plane: 2 hour Alaska Airlines flight into Juneau, then a 45 minute flight on Wings of Alaska (5-12 seater prop planes) into Skagway.

The Conditions

Lake Bennett: 85% of my riding in the summer is on Lake Bennett as the weather is most consistent, the location is safe when you're alone, and the outside air temperature is on average 70-75 degrees. The beach is about 3km long turning into dunes behind the beach. The depth of the water is anywhere from ankle deep to chest-deep from beach to about 1/4 mile out. When I arrive at the first of May the lake is very low and completed frozen over. The break-up of the ice is usually about the second week of May and it happens in a matter of days as the lake fills with all the snow-melt on the surrounding mountains. Once everything is clear it is an excellent place for beginner lessons all the way to practicing all of your advanced freestyle tricks as you can always just stand up in the water. towards the end of May/beginning of June the Lake is usually full which creates massive shallow riding with flat water and small exposed sand drifts to launch over. Think 50-times larger than the hood river sandbar area with no other riders. The water temp is cold out in the lake but since the water is so shallow and the sun shines for the majority of the day it is very nice where you do all of your riding. A 4/3 full weatsuit with booties is more than sufficient. There are places to camp and pitch a tent above the lakes in the dunes. This last summer I rode a quiver of 08 naish cults and had a 9m & 13.5m with a 133 thorn (I weigh about 170lbs). I mainly used the 9m at this location with the occasional light-wind days on my 13.5m. As far as wildlife goes I have seen herds of caribou, moose, black/brown bear, and mountain goats in the surrounding hills. When the wind isn't blowing I'll fly-fish in the surrounding lakes or kayak.

Dyea Flats: Since I lived and worked in Skagway, the Dyea-Flat was my afterwork riding location. The wind is steady but not quite as strong as the lake. I only ever rode my 13.5m. The water is flat with areas of large wind-swell. The riding is the best near high tide. Because there is about a 24' tidal difference you have to do a lot of walking to get to the water when the tide is low. But, on high tide this location is epic with an unbelievable backdrop and steady-jetty-like winds and only a 10-15 min. drive from Skagway. The Taiya River outlet is here and in August the salmon start running which bring out the regular brown bears in the late afternoon and evening so you might want to be aware of your surroundings that time of year. Dyea is at the head of the Chilkoot trail from the 1898 klondike gold-rush. There is a national park service campground on the river as well as private cabin rentals.

Photos were difficult as more often than not I was riding alone in these locations but I will include some pictures of the areas and some kiting over the past few years. If you are interested in Alaska and don't want to do the ordinary cruise then this might be something you should look into.

I had a couple dozen photos of these areas ready to post for you but was only able to load 5 on here so that is all you get. I could post more or e-mail some if anyone is interested.

Cheers and enjoy, I hope you all had a great time kiting here in the NW this summer.

-Matt



Dyea Mid-June.JPG
Looking down at the Dyea Flat in Mid-June before an evening session
Dyea Mid-June.JPG (151.15 KiB) Viewed 2529 times

bennett 2005 1.JPG
Lake Bennett mid-July. Lake has filled and enormous amounts of shallow flat-water riding space. Beach and dunes in the background. Campsite is just behind the dunes.
bennett 2005 1.JPG (238.62 KiB) Viewed 2528 times

matt kiting 4.JPG
Lake Bennett 3rd week in May just after break-up about 1/4 mile off the beach at the edge of the water. Butter-smooth on a 9m Cult
matt kiting 4.JPG (86.33 KiB) Viewed 2526 times

Bennett May 25 2.JPG
Lake Bennet 3rd week in May first day of the kiting season! Low water level, have to walk about 1/4 mile to the water. Mid summer is all filled in with about 2' of water.
Bennett May 25 2.JPG (137.84 KiB) Viewed 2526 times

Dyea Mid-June (13).JPG
Dyea-Flat June with High tide, classic mid-summer day after work.
Dyea Mid-June (13).JPG (137.69 KiB) Viewed 2526 times
MattFlood
 
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Re: Trip Exlusive! Riding SE Alaska & Yukon Territory May-Aug

Postby bix » Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:25 am

Nice! It would be fun to get a contingent of Seattle kiters to make the trip. Spend a week or so eating that butter up.

On a recent trip to Anchorage, I scoped out some of the winter snow kiting spots. Palmer Lake after it is frozen over looks to have some good potential. However, in the lodge there, they had a wind graph that showed peak recorded gusts at 209mph! :shock: I also looked at Turnagon Pass. This also looks like a good spot with some decent terrain. Both of these spots are within a half hour of Girdwood and Alyaska Ski Area. A March trip up there would be a lot of fun!
make it happen

doug bixel

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Re: Trip Exlusive! Riding SE Alaska & Yukon Territory May-Aug

Postby Zoffen » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:20 am

I'm soooo down for this.......
___ ? _?,
[l_,[____],
l---L - OlllllllO-
( )_) ( )_)--)_)

bring toast for all the butter.
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Re: Trip Exlusive! Riding SE Alaska & Yukon Territory May-Aug

Postby Zoffen » Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:56 pm

actually,
how many bears did you run into...?
___ ? _?,
[l_,[____],
l---L - OlllllllO-
( )_) ( )_)--)_)

bring toast for all the butter.
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Zoffen
 
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