Tailgate Alaska 2014 wrapped up on Thompson Pass last week, completing the seventh annual edition of the now legendary big mountain festival.
Riders from 16 countries descended on Valdez, March 28th for the ten day long event – and were greeted by great snow conditions and seven days in a row of bluebird conditions. In addition to direct access to the peaks that tower over basecamp, Tailgate Alaska had free daily snow science classes, speakers, a FM radio station (The Weagle 90.7 FM), an 8 man rescue team, on site medics, nightly parties featuring free beer and Man Games events.
According to Peter Carter, director of the Alaska Avalanche Information Center, “This is our little Woodstock. We are really proud of it here in Alaska and in Valdez.” Event founder, Mark Sullivan elaborated, “ When you go into the backcountry with a group of people, you are trusting your survival in their hands in the event of an incident. When you have 500 people all doing the same thing, you create an atmosphere where everyone is looking out for everyone else. It is like a big family at the event.”
This year, Tailgate Alaska delivered again, providing entertainment, good times and security in a place that is far removed from human development. The result is a pinnacle experience for all who attended. According to Mike Gagliardi, Never Summer’s National Sales Manager, “They were the best runs I have done in 16 years.”
The event will be documented in the In Short video series of videos that are released each week with media partners Transworld Snowboarding and OnBoard Magazines. According to event supervisor Rasmus Ostergaard, “Our goal is to give people an inside look at what living and riding on Thompson Pass is like.”
Tickets to the annual event sold out months in advance, and those that made it got to experience the pinnacle of snowboarding firsthand. Simply, no other mountains or location offers as much direct backcountry access.