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The Ski Special

Skiing’s Final Frontier Is in a Vast Sound in Alaska, Accessible Only by Boat

New “Sea and Ski” trips bring the mountainsides around Prince William Sound within reach of hardcore adventure skiers.

Walking to shore during low tide.

Walking to shore during low tide.

Photographer: Bianca Germain

I’d heard of Champagne powder, the light, fluffy snow of skiers’ dreams, and Japan’s legendary dry and deep “Japow.” But “moss pow” was a condition I didn’t know of until I traversed the peaks around Alaska’s Prince William Sound.

My co-guide for this adventure, Brooke Edwards, a tall blond with a penchant for bright, sparkly gear, had coined the term to describe the slushy snow found in the transition area between the sound’s rocky shores and the squishy, moss-carpeted temperate rainforest floor that we had to bushwhack through to begin our ski tour. It’s not a situation the average skier would seek out. But this wasn’t a trip for your typical skier. This was adventure skiing in its purest form: remote, self-powered, and full of the unknown. It was, quite simply, the ultimate ski safari.