[Tim Kelley] When I first
went to the North Slope of Alaska in 1986 (the oil fields between
the north slope of the Brooks Range and the Arctic Ocean) I was
working at BP's Base Operations Center (BOC). The BOC had a
sundries shop and I noticed they sold T-shirts with a skier
descending a small hill and the logo: "Ski Mt. Pingo" !
While running along the
Spline Road that summer I noticed a sign placed on a pingo out in
the tundra about 200 yards south of the road. The sign said:
"Mt. Pingo Ski Hill".
In 1993 I was again working
on the North Slope. This time I was working a week on/ week
off schedule during the months of December through early
February. Being a diehard skier ... I was not going to be
denied my constitutional right to ski. So I shipped some
cross country skis to the North Slope. Most every night
after I got done a 12 hour work shift, I would bundle up and head
out skiing across the tundra and lakes in this area. I would
use the lights of the oil facilities as navigational beacons while
skiing the mostly pancake flat terrain.
Of course one of my North
Slope skiing objectives was to ski Mt. Pingo. The first time
skied Mt. Pingo was on what I called a "30 30" day - 30
below zero F. and 30 mph winds. These are typical mid-winter ski
conditions on the North Slope. In these conditions you could have the wind blow you to the top of Mt. Pingo, and then
drop into a tuck and blast down the other side.
My North Slope skiing back
in 1993 was just barely acceptable. Security folks thought I
was nuts, but they didn't say I couldn't ski. Today safety
and security concerns are much more rigid. And if you were
caught skiing at night now - you would likely find yourself on the
next plane to Anchorage and out of a job. So - this fact now
makes Mt. Pingo a likely lost ski area.