Recon Testing in AK By: Wheeler Feer | Photos: Whitton Feer
Within every skier lies a deep connection to Alaska. We see it in the movies and on the cover of magazines. Often referred to as “paradise” by ski bums around the globe. I can undoubtedly confirm that Alaska is the closest place to it. I had the opportunity to go in April of 2021 with my stepdad, Amos Whiting, and brother, Whitton Feer. The flight north presented us with a salivating taste of the trip to come as we peered out upon massive peaks expanding into the horizon.
We based our trip out of Valdez, but were not there for long. After some weather delays and soupy adventures around the Valdez harbor, we caught a ride in a Super Cub into the vast expanse of glacier and rock. My cheek was glued to the window of the tiny plane. I had never witnessed such an expanse of art within the mountains. The massive ice bulges and drooping cornices reminded me of oil paintings in a long sought after museum. I was transfixed and immediately in love. We landed on a pocket glacier near the massive Woodworth Glacier, set up camp, and, well, went skiing. That was what we were there to do, right? I looked out upon the plateau of glaciers and craggy rock. At this point I knew we needed to change the phrase from “everything’s bigger in Texas” to “everything’s bigger in Alaska.” The scale of AK is mind-blowing. It’s steeper, bigger, rockier, and scarier. I found myself sweating from nerves on this trip more than any other.
I stayed warm and dry with the help of Strafe’s new Recon Kit, which was the perfect tool to wick sweat and keep me comfortable in a warm Alaskan April. I skied in this kit every day of the trip. Scrambling over ice bulges on the way up or ripping turns on the way down, the pullover and pants performed admirably. The lightweight, 4-way stretch fabric offered seamless movement when the skinning or booting got spicy. The front kangaroo pocket in the pullover made access to snacks very easy when I needed fuel the most.
The kit was incredibly breathable when the afternoon sun kicked into gear and kept the wind out when the shadows lengthened. I added a bungee to the grommets at the bottom of the pants. It kept my legs dry, secured the pants in place, and made the ski down much more comfortable. The bungee also came in handy when booting up as it kept snow from getting to my feet. Although not designed for a constant deluge, the Recon Kit performed perfectly as a high pressure, high output ski kit. It was the perfect tool for a Chugach spring and I can’t wait to see how it holds up to year-round adventures in the Colorado and Montana high country.