Founded in 2008 with the ambition to make the the huge expanses of wild winter sports terrain in the area around the town of Valdez accessible to the average skier or snowboarding enthusiast, the Tailgate Alaska Freeride Festival has become something of a pilgrimage for those in search of the ultimate backcountry experience. Held in April every year in the heart of the Chugach Mountain Range, the festival's ten day duration means there is plenty of time to enjoy the type of terrain most of us might otherwise only see in films or magazines.
The emphasis is on practicality and affordability, and with that in mind the organizers of have negotiated generous discounts with a range of local hire companies, hotels and service providers. In fact, they've thought of everything to help you make the most of this truly awe-inspiring location. Free tuition and entertainment is provided, and safety is paramount, with numerous multiple rescue teams on stand-by should the need arise. But best of all you'll benefit from the camaraderie of being surrounded by like-minded individuals, who will be more than happy to share their experiences with you and offer useful insider tips and advice.
In this clip, Tailgate Alaska's Dave Norona and Ashley Chaffin give us a thorough introduction to the ins and outs of using a ski-doo to access all those sweet, remote spots which make the Alaskan mountains so special. You won't find any chairlifts out in the wilderness, so this has got to be the right way to go. But it's not just about the practicalities – these fantastic machines look almost as much fun to use as your skis or snowboard!