People aren't the only ones trying to recover from the holiday season. Ski trails across the peninsula are gradually shaping up after a rough Christmas and New Year's.
The holidays started with a wicked windstorm just before Christmas. The trails hit hardest by those gusts were the Baycrest Ski Trails in Homer, where about 130 trees fell down on the trail.
Dave Brann, the vice president of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, said he counted 49 trees down on the Raven's Way loop alone. Brann was out working to clear the loop Thursday.
Wind wasn't the only holiday crush that hit the ski trails. Christmas brought rain and warming temperatures, which had led to some icy conditions across the peninsula.
In Homer, there is still some good skiing at Lookout Mountain, which is located on Ohlson Mountain Road. The trails, mostly flat, offer about 4 kilometers of skiing and have been getting constant attention because the high school team has been practicing there.
The conditions at the Baycrest trails, located on Roger's Loop in Homer, are a bit icy, but experienced skiers have been enjoying the upper part of the trail.
Tsalteshi Trails, located behind Skyview High School, also took a beating over the holiday season, but Bill Holt, vice chair of the Tsalteshi Trails Association, said good skiing has returned.
Tsalteshi also had some trees blow down on the trail, but Holt said a mystery man or woman came and removed them from the trail.
"We don't even know who cut those trees out for us," Holt said. "Whoever it is, it was pretty nice and we thank them for it."
On Wednesday, when the temperature dipped below freezing, groomers hit the trail and currently all of Tsalteshi's loops are skiable. The loops are of all difficulties.
Across the Sterling Highway at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the picture isn't as rosy. Brenda Wise, a refuge clerk, said the trails are closed. A number of factors, including construction, icy conditions and blown down branches, have conspired to do in the trails.
The Kenai Nordic Trails, located on the Kenai Golf Course, survived the holidays fairly well, and three-quarters of the course is good skiing. The western end of the course, or the end of the course closest to Coral Seymour Memorial Park, is iced over and should not be skied.
"The last time it was groomed was (Wednesday)," said Bob Frates, the director of the city of Kenai Parks and Recreation Department. "Most of the debris is cleaned up or covered with a little snow."
The Kenai Nordic Trails are generally flat, with a few dips that may challenge beginners.
Out in Nikiski, the trails also have been making a nice recovery. At the Nikiski Community Trails, located at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School, 5 kilometers are open for skating.
These trails are for intermediate skiers and have some challenging hills.
"The school trails have some really icy patches," said groomer Dale Bakk. "It's really sort of strange. Portions are almost like they've been blasted with hot air. It'll be glazed up and iced over, but then you'll go over a hill and there'll be nice, soft snow to ski on."
Bakk said there was less ice at the trails behind the Nikiski pool. There are 3 kilometers available there for freestyle and classical skiing. These trails are mostly flat and suitable for beginners.
Finally, the holiday season has decimated skiing in Seward.
"It's just pathetic," said Dennis Perry, the president of the Seward Nordic Ski Club. "I can't groom anything because it's too soft to groom it. We haven't had anything below freezing for like two weeks."
Conditions in Seward are so bad that, currently, the high school team isn't even working out on snow.
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