Skiing the Chugach Day 5: Ferries and Helicopters

My reception here in Cordova is nil and the computer is shared by 40 people in this lodge, so we’ll see how this goes…

After commandeering a breakfast from the Best Western whose parking lot I borrowed to car camp in, the Mazda 3 was herded onto the Valdez ferry, bound for Cordova’s greatness. Almost immediately I spotted a killer whale alongside the boat as the captain pointed out three others. There was no shortage to these giants during the trip: orcas, humpbacks, and killer whales as well as otters and deer all presented themselves along the way.

Sucks you in, good thing the railing was there…

Talked to a few locals on the ride over who explained that Cordova was pretty small- 1800 people in the winter- and comprised of mostly fishermen. However, they do have a ski hill overlooking the ocean, but its one lift is only open on the weekends.

Points North Heli is in the opposite direction from town. It’s hard to miss: you turn left from the ferry and the road dead ends at its parking lot. As I rounded the corner, helicopters appeared in front of me. (Would it be wrong to say that the sight of them was nearly as spectacular as sighting the killer whales?) Holy cow… I was going up in those things.

There was no one at the front desk, but there was a friendly note welcoming us with keys to our rooms, which are very basic: an old-fashioned quilt atop a twin bed with a dresser, a large window buried in snow and lots of hooks to hang clothing from. No TV, no phone, just bare essentials. I love it.

The lodge itself was converted from an old fishing cannery. In fact, the entire place is comprised of converted fish processing buildings. It sits right on the ocean and the view is hedged in by 360° of mountains.

Someone’s little joke

Got acquainted with Jessica, one of the owners, who took our pictures and handed us giant boxes from Columbia Sportswear- our sponsor. Inside were all kinds of goodies: ski outfits, boots, electricly heated gloves, etc. If I said this trip was like Christmas, now it’s even moreso.

Dinner was amazing: a huge roasted quarter chicken over polenta with plum sauce. Dessert was peach and blueberry cobbler with a touch of ice cream. It was all served in a common room with a big screen TV showing-what else- ski movies. Two Frenchmen battled it out on the ping pong table while the rest of us gobbled up our food and talked. Since we were one day late showing up, we were introduced mid-meal to everyone, to which we received a hearty applause from the international community surrounding us.

Everyone is super chill and sports a google line. I feel right at home.

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