Snow just what the groomers ordered

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2005

Thursday's dusting of snow and slightly warmer temperatures were just what peninsula cross-country ski trail groomer were asking for as conditions were becoming a little icy early in the week.

"Things are on the up side," said Kenai Parks and Recreation director Bob Frates Thursday. "We're getting a little bit more snow, which helps. It'll eliminate some of the icy trail conditions we've had."

The Kenai Nordic Trails are getting special attention from groomers this week as Kenai Central High School prepares to host the Kardinal Klassic ski meet Saturday. Frates said the trails will continue to get some extra attention as Kenai Middle School is hosting a meet on Jan. 22.

Bill Holt of the Tsalteshi Trail Association on Wednesday night said the trails there were likely a little glazed over after cold weather this week but planned to scratch them up to make conditions a little softer for the weekend, adding that a little fresh snow would help quite a bit.

Holt said that after the SoHi New Year Pursuit last weekend, groomers spent another couple of days buffing out the trails and setting classical tracks around the entire trail system.

"I hear the tracks are working out real good," Holt said.

Trails at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, which were reported as icy early in the week, also should benefit from the fresh snow.

Trails in Nikiski were reported to be in good shape Wednesday by groomer Dale Bakk. Bakk said he set classic tracks at the Nikiski Community Trails last weekend and they have held up well. Additionally, the trails have firmed up enough that moose can saunter across them without punching holes everywhere.

"So we're as happy as clams," Bakk said.

Bakk said the trails at the Nikiski Pool also had set up nicely but was waiting for a little more snow before setting tracks there.

Conditions in Homer were reported as not very good Wednesday night. Dave Brann of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club a little fresh snow would help.

"We haven't had any new snow since it rained. There's a few people skiing, but it's the hard-core people," said Brann. "Three inches (of new snow) would be good. The hard-pack base has stayed, but everything else has melted away."

Brann said the best conditions in Homer were at McNeil Canyon, where the trail had been scratched up. Brann described the trail conditions as "crumbly."

Things in Seward were "a little icy, but skiable" as of Wednesday evening, according to Dennis Perry of the Seward Nordic Ski Club.

"You've just got to use caution," Perry said.

Perry said skiing is now available at the Trail River Campground, located down Trail River Road at Mile 24.2 of the Seward Highway. Perry said the trail, used by skiers, mushers and some snowshoers, is groomed for skating and has a shallow track set. Terrain there consists of mild rolling hills.

Perry said the Mile 12 ski trails would be regroomed this weekend.



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