We Alaskans

Get down, fellow Alaskans, to some 'hardcore Alaska soft'

JUNEAU -- Turn off your helmet cam for a second and pull up a deluxe rustic retreat reclining chair.

I live in Alaska. I kick butt and take names. And then I add them to my Instagram feed, so you can see photos of the smoked salmon strata I had for brunch.

Let me put it another way: I shred more gnar during a pee break than you'll rip in an entire lifetime. All day -- and any night I don't fall asleep power-streaming "Northern Exposure" -- I'm a latte-sipping, camouflage jammies-wearing, fleece-blanketed couch enthusiast with a bottomless appetite for halibut nachos.

That's right: I'm hardcore Alaska soft. And when I really get into it, man, look out -- I'll wear my butt groove a new butt groove.

Yeah, bro, I hit it 24/7/363 (I take off for Seward's and Alaska Day).

Feast your polarized polycarbonate antifog lenses on my gear: merino wool, Gore-Tex, neoprene, Capilene and recycled polyester in 18.5 micron-gauge yarn, windproof, waterproof, stain resistant and, of course, gluten free. It took me all summer and fall to outfit myself, using a complex combination of Craigslist, eBay, ski swap and any time I saw a pile of junk on the side of the road marked "free." Waste of time? Hardly. With all the sticky situations I get into, the right gear makes the difference.

Especially when cheese sauce is involved.

White room, man

My base layer wicks sweat so effectively, I risk dehydration whenever I wear underwear. That's why I drink so much. And often go commando.

You know, it's hard work taking it this easy. For instance, I pull dawn patrol every day the ski hill's open, so I can pick the perfect line — generally the one for soup and chili is the shortest, or you may catch the fries right when they come up; sandwich cooler's a good bet, too.

Speaking of, I hope it snows soon. I'm actually thinking about breaking my mountain bike out of storage -- it's blocking the 6-foot beer cooler. But man, I do live for powder days, you know, those crisp, cold mornings right after a fresh snowfall, when I whip up a monster batch of pancakes heaped with confectioner's sugar. White room, man, white room.

Yesterday, some cheechako comes up to me, talking out of his "Lower 48," if you know what I mean, about some heli-skiing trip. Serious herring egg on his face when the weather comes in and it gets scrapped. He's all slumped over, crying in his stainless steel 24-ounce Nalgene with medical-grade silicone bite valve. "Now what I am going to do all weekend?"

"You know what they say," I tell him. "When the going gets tough, the tough eat Nutella straight from the jar." Then we go back to my place for rockfish tacos and "Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm" on Xbox.

907 is the PIN for all my accounts, or at least it would be, if there wasn't a five-character minimum, so I usually go with my fallback, "spawntilyoudie49."

Midnight sunbathing

When summer comes, I go midnight sunbathing. That's the only time my skin can take it. I also like to hike, for hours and hours and hours at a time.

Wait. Did I say hike? I meant Skype. When summertime comes, I like to Skype for hours on end, flash my webcam out the window so my friends and family can see what a beautiful day I'm wasting inside on frivolous videoconferences.

Of course, even someone as hardcore Alaska soft as me can't screen the call of the wild forever. On those sunny, windless days, I'll take my kayak, which I strapped to my roof on a similar day the previous summer and still haven't removed, and head out to my favorite launch. Of course, I won't make it. That place by the harbor has onion rings. And milkshakes.

After a hard day poring over maps, studying tide tables, organizing that giant mess of straps, ropes and bungees in my garage and trying to remember how long it's been since I used any of that stuff, I love nothing more than to unwind with some Alaska-based reality TV. I've seen every episode of every series ever made, from "Ice Road Truckers" to "Ice Pilots"; "Ax Men" to "Alaska Wing Men"; "Buying Alaska" to "Flying Wild Alaska." Plus, of course, "Alaska State Troopers" and "Coast Guard Alaska," on the Weather Channel.

Speaking of which, have you seen the Weather Channel's other Alaska-based reality show, "Alaska Meteorological Forecast"? Sure, the special effects are kind of budget, but man, I'll watch that one for hours at a time.

In fact, I may have to bivvy right here in the living room.

Geoff Kirsch is a Juneau-based writer and humorist currently working on an essay collection based upon his long-running column in the Juneau Empire.

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