Flow Tailgate Alaska & Freeride World Tour kick off at Thompson Pass
Words: Graham Mueller
Photos: Aaron Gotthardt
Yes, the World Freeride Festival. Chile, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Northern Ireland and Sweden are represented and those are just people we met the first day. Alaska has that same allure to people from all continents. When you see mountains like these, it doesn’t matter what language you speak, you just want to get here.
Once you get here, whether it’s 17 hours by plane from Amsterdam or 6 hours by RV from Anchorage, the festival begins. That atmosphere is the result of the Tailgate setup. Hundreds of people came together with a common bond. It doesn’t matter what the draw is, it’s going to turn into a giant party when you throw in free beer and entertainment every night. Even a stamp collecting festival would get loose like that.
We’re not licking postage here, though. The reason for the season is the ‘freeride’ part of the equation and wouldn’t you know it, Day 1 was bluebird and going off. The air was full of the constant chop of helicopters and the brap of snowmachines. Skin tracks were set in the gullies across from basecamp early in the morning and lines were slashed until dark.
With Day 2 promising more sun, tailgaters made hit lists and crawled back into their snow caves, figuratively and literally, ready to come out charging again in the morning. Bluebird days at Thompson Pass don’t come around too often. When they do, it’s all coffee, gasoline and adrenaline. Have a plan and get after it. Get here and get some.