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Old 06-29-2013, 05:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tailgate Alaska 2014 - Worth it to go alone?

So I had a crew of 6-8 ppl down to go to TGAK 2014 and they've pretty much all bailed on the trip. Question is, is it worth it to go alone? I can afford it but is it worth it to go without a sled or friends? I won't know anyone there. I suspect I'll be able to make friends and/or group up with randoms for heli time, cat rides, sled rides, etc but I hear that on blue days it can be tough to line up cat or heli rides due to high demand. Slednecks will probably be plentiful and willing to haul me up here and there for a few bucks but that's not somewhere anyone with half a brain would ever want to ride alone. Riding up there is a dream of mine but without ppl to go with, is it worth it? I'm not worried about downtime on grey days, more worried about being able to meet ppl to ride with safely when the sun comes out. If anyone is thinking the same thing and wants to go but your friends are lame and don't have the balls to make the trip, let me know.
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So I had a crew of 6-8 ppl down to go to TGAK 2014 and they've pretty much all bailed on the trip. Question is, is it worth it to go alone? I can afford it but is it worth it to go without a sled or friends? I won't know anyone there. I suspect I'll be able to make friends and/or group up with randoms for heli time, cat rides, sled rides, etc
If you're friendly and outgoing you'll probably be able to meet plenty of people.

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but I hear that on blue days it can be tough to line up cat or heli rides due to high demand. Slednecks will probably be plentiful and willing to haul me up here and there for a few bucks
I'm sure the first part is true. The second might be, I don't know. The whole idea of the festival is to get people riding, so I don't think you'll have too much trouble. If it would be useful to you otherwise and within your budget, a splitboard might be a good thing to have as well.
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but that's not somewhere anyone with half a brain would ever want to ride alone.
I ride Thompson Pass solo, and know plenty of other people who do as well. Pay attention to stability conditions and make conservative decisions and you'll probably be fine if you ride backcountry lines elsewhere. Tailgate seems to do a good job with avy education, so I wouldn't worry too much about it if you stay within your own limits and pay attention to your surroundings. And anyways, on a bluebird day during Tailgate you're never really alone at the Pass. There are a ton of people up there all the time.

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Riding up there is a dream of mine but without ppl to go with, is it worth it? I'm not worried about downtime on grey days, more worried about being able to meet ppl to ride with safely when the sun comes out. If anyone is thinking the same thing and wants to go but your friends are lame and don't have the balls to make the trip, let me know.
If your friends just can't go this year but could go next year, maybe save your money and wait it out. If they're just being weenies, then go on your own or find someone who isn't lame to go with.
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Right on Tigre...def appreciate the feedback. The issues that are scaring away my friends aren't going to change. They are scared about too many down days, not having direct access to showers, stuff like that. That stuff will always be the case so I'm not going to wait on them. They will still be weenies next year!

I'm trying to round up some other people I ride with to go so we'll see but I think I'm def going even if it's solo. The stuff you said was pretty much in line with what I was thinking so that's good to know. Thanks again!
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Right on Tigre...def appreciate the feedback. The issues that are scaring away my friends aren't going to change. They are scared about too many down days, not having direct access to showers, stuff like that. That stuff will always be the case so I'm not going to wait on them. They will still be weenies next year!
What a bunch of pussies.

Down days might be an issue. Nothing you can do about that. Bad light sucks when there aren't any trees. April is a good bet for blue skies, but nothing is guaranteed. You can find some tree lines closer to town, like off Dayville Road. They won't be long runs, but you can still have some fun.

Showers? Well it's winter for one thing, at least. The gym at the college should be finished by then (they're remodeling it and it doesn't have showers right now), so you should be able to grab an occasional shower for the daily membership fee - I think it's $10. I think they also have showers at the harbor. Beyond that, figure it out. Nobody's going to care too much if you smell a little funky anyways. And hell, I washed up a bit in the sink at the Anchorage REI when I was up here as a tourist in the summer several years ago, so I guess I have lower standards than your buds.

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I'm trying to round up some other people I ride with to go so we'll see but I think I'm def going even if it's solo. The stuff you said was pretty much in line with what I was thinking so that's good to know. Thanks again!
No problem.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Pussies indeed! What can you do... If it's just me I'm going to rent a SUV and bring a tent. May book a night in Valdez at the Best Western in the middle of the trip just to get a hot shower and a bed for a night but otherwise can make do with a bar of soap and washcloth. If it's more than just me we'll get an RV. Yeah, the weather is definitely weighing on the whole thing but like you said, what can you do? I keep hearing people on videos talking about 5 straight gray days, never thought the sun would come out, etc. Honestly though, even if I had to wait the whole trip for one full heli day with sun and feet of fresh, it would be worth it to me. Eventually sitting on the ass would get old though and I'd start hunting shit out. What college are you talking about? That's def something I'd take advantage of if available. Did you go this year?
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Pussies indeed! What can you do... If it's just me I'm going to rent a SUV and bring a tent. May book a night in Valdez at the Best Western in the middle of the trip just to get a hot shower and a bed for a night but otherwise can make do with a bar of soap and washcloth. If it's more than just me we'll get an RV. Yeah, the weather is definitely weighing on the whole thing but like you said, what can you do? I keep hearing people on videos talking about 5 straight gray days, never thought the sun would come out, etc. Honestly though, even if I had to wait the whole trip for one full heli day with sun and feet of fresh, it would be worth it to me. Eventually sitting on the ass would get old though and I'd start hunting shit out.
I think the drinking and craziness gets worse when the weather is bad. This definitely ain't Colorado. It could be a week of awesome, though. Just do the trip as cheap as you can, and deal with what you get when you get here.

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What college are you talking about? That's def something I'd take advantage of if available.
Prince William Sound Community College. It's right in the middle of town. They have a gym, it has showers. The showers at the harbor will be cheaper, but perhaps slightly scuzzier. Make sure they're open in the winter before you go.

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Did you go this year?
I try not to go up there during Tailgate. Too many people. I can go to the Pass any time I want. Never been too interested in the festivities really, but it's probably fun.
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Old 07-03-2013, 06:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That's the plan. I have a free plane ticket so that's huge. $750 I don't have to spend. Free beer always gets things going. Looks like a lot of cool random food trucks too. I love that shit. Yeah with u being local, no need to follow the insanity. The original plan was to have sleds the whole time but that got shelved to cut costs. I gotta break out of the lower 48 resort routine though. Need to go up a notch. My friends are OK riding half days every other day. I end up solo half the time anyway. If we end up renting a sled, you got any local recommendations?
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If we end up renting a sled, you got any local recommendations?
Check these guys out: Snowmobile Skiing, Snowmobile Tours, and Snowmachine Rentals from Black Ops Valdez. They pretty much cover the gamut. We have a little personal friction with the owner, but they'll get you out on the snow. There's also a place to rent in Palmer that's supposed to be decent (Alaska Snow Safaris). Stay away from Alaska Toy Rental in Wasilla. There's also a service called "Big Mountain Taxi" that runs people on snowmachines around the Pass that time of year.

BTW, for heli runs I recommend this company over all the others: Alaska Snowboard Guides: Heli Skiing and Snowboarding in Valdez, AK. Very good people. They're based right at the Pass, as are Alaska Backcountry Adventures. Rendezvous is a good outfit as well. I'd stay away from H2O Guides because they treat their guides like crap.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hey guys Im also planning on going out there solo. Was thinking of going with flows tailgate Alaska anyone know where or how I can get a ticket? Has anyone tried it would like to hear some feedback thanx.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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God damn I need to start working on my hell connections. Prices are crazy. Stand by? Please?

Good luck man, friends have helped run the TGAK event and go every year, but I hear it's morphed into this crazy thing that it never was when it started similar to 'Burning Man' word got out fast and more and more people that are their just for the hype of it all and you get more people coming that might not be there for the same reasons as that core group that created it. Some maybe shouldn't be there at all.. but hopefully everything works out for the best and the event holds it's vibe years to come. It's just getting a bit crazy that's all. I've been trying to go for the past 2 winters but now I think I'm just going to save my money and jump on board with friends in some other crazy area, possibly Haines or Chili. We'll see. Hope you have fun!
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