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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Updated: May 11, 12:31 PM ET
AK Chronicles: Valdez

After a long road trip, the TGR film crew has arrived in Valdez.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

[Editor's note: This is part two in a series called AK Chronicles on TGR's travels in Alaska while filming for their new movie, "The Dream Factory." Stay tuned for future installments.]

I'm fairly certain if I spent enough time on IMDB I could find a movie with a plot about kids that find keys to an amusement park and have the place all to themselves. There would be rides with no lines, none of the games would be rigged, and the cotton candy would be endless. For skiers, the equivalent plot takes place yearly in Valdez, Alaska, in February. But instead of roller coasters and water slides, there are helicopters and snowmobiles. The snow is deep, the lines untouched, and the crowds non-existent.

However, staying with the amusement park analogy, things are never as they appear. In lieu of a ghost/gang/virus, Valdez in February means the nemesis is the weather. The sun, which barely rises above the horizon to begin with, is almost always occluded by clouds, temperatures drop below negative 20, and winds can transform blower powder to knee-high Sastrugi over night. However, when the weather cooperates and it goes blue, there's not an amusement park out there that has the entertainment value of Valdez.