How do I get there?
Most people choose to fly into Anchorage and get a rental car or RV there. The drive from Anchorage to Thompson Pass is about 5 hours. There is also direct service into Valdez by air.
How cold is it?
Not very cold. Generally daytime temps are between 20-30 F (-5C).
When the sun is out, it feels much warmer. It is not so much the cold, but how long you are out in it. Many daily missions last 8-12 hours, so plan accordingly.
How long does it take to drive?
From the lower 48 you are looking at about 50-70 hours behind the wheel (unless you drive from Maine, which one participant did and is much further. For the most part, the roads are good. However Destruction Bay lives up to its name with 250 miles of major frost heaves.
How much will my trip to Alaska cost?
It is up to you. Last year, we had a guy show up, build a snow cave and skin the mountains around camp. He only had to cover his food. On the other end of the spectrum, you could easily spend 7-10k if you went heliing everyday.
Am I a good enough skier/snowboarder for Alaska?
This is probably the most misunderstood aspect of riding in AK. About 80% of the terrain is intermediate. With plenty of rolling terrain for even novice skiers and riders.
Do I need any special gear?
You will need an avalanche beacon, shovel, probe, harness and locking carabiner (for glacier travel). Airbags are also recommended as they change your odds of survival dramatically in case of an avalanche.
For basecamp we recommend having a good pair of warm, waterproof boots and extra layers for the long hours outside.
Does it get tracked out?
Last year, we had nearly 500 people at our event, and after 8 days of clear weather, there were less tracks than at Squaw Valley at 10am on a powder day.
If I buy a ticket, can my buddy stay in my RV?
No. Every person needs to have a pass to pay for things like WIFI, toilets, garbage, rescue and entertainment.
Should I stay on the pass or in a hotel?
This is personal preference. Town offers a ton of convenience - food, showers, supplies. On the pass, it is more challenging to dry your gear each day and showers are few and far between. The advantage of staying on the pass is no daily commute and waking up at 3am to the hoots and cheers that accompany the Northern Lights up at basecamp.
What is the ticket money used for?
Putting together Tailgate Alaska is a expensive undertaking. Clearing the lot, getting permits, insurance, porta-johns, seven man rescue crew, snow science educators, security, beer garden etc. It adds up quick, especially in Alaska.