Skiers take the good, take the bad

Posted: Friday, January 17, 2003

Just as the viewers of "The Facts of Life" did, skiers of Tsalteshi Trails will have to take the good, and take the bad, in the upcoming week.

The bad news is the trails and the sled hill behind Skyview High School will be closed Saturday and Sunday due to Besh Cup racing.

Racing on both days starts at 11 a.m. and should run until daylight is petering out.

"The good news is the trails are being groomed and they should be in great shape after the races," said Tom Seggerman of the Tsalteshi Trail Association. "We're going to be hauling snow from the soccer fields to cover up the bad spots, so in the long run, this should benefit local skiers."

Skiers should be able to slip in some sliding today at Tsalteshi, which has about 15 kilometers of total trail that caters to those of all abilities. Today, the skiing may be bumpy and icy in a few spots, but that should change after groomers get done hauling all the snow.

Anybody wanting to help with the snow-hauling effort can call Seggerman at 262-3189 or John Harro at 262-4150.

Seggerman also said that the Beaver Trail is groomed and ready to go. On Jan. 9, some logging equipment tore up the trail by mistake, thinking the trail was a tower road.

Seggerman said the contractor in error has since made a nice donation to the association to make up for the damage.

Seggerman also thanked local high school ski team members and members of the public for coming out to repair the damaged trail.

One reason the damage of the logging equipment was such a big deal is because, as a glance at the rest of the peninsula's ski trails shows, snow is a precious commodity this year.

The Kenai Nordic Trails, located on the Kenai Golf Course, have been closed down once again due to lack of snow.

In Nikiski, the skiing is holding up a little better. Dale Bakk, the ski coach for Nikiski's high school team, said 5 kilometers of skating are available at the Nikiski Community Trails.

Those trails, located at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School, are a little dirty due to recent windstorms. The trails are normally suited to intermediate skiers. But, there are some steep hills that, due to narrow trails, could challenge even intermediate skiers right now.

Bakk also said there is a classic track around the football field at the high school.

As for the trails behind the Nikiski pool, Bakk said the high school would be a better option for freestyle or classic skiing.

At the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Candace Ward, a ranger, reports that ski trails are crusty in open areas, icy under trees and have a very shallow snowpack.

The Nordic Lake Trails, which can be accessed from the refuge's headquarters in Soldotna, have four loops, with the longest being 6 miles.

Headquarters Lake has areas of overflow due to recent warm weather, while Ward said only the adventurous are trying to ski the Overlook Routes.

Ward added that snowshoeing is good for those with clawed bindings.

In Homer, Dave Brann of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club said skiing has been hurt by temperatures that got as high as 45 degrees Wednesday.

The McNeil Canyon Ski Trails, located 12 miles out East End Road with a trail head next to the parking lot of McNeil Canyon Elementary School, have 5 kilometers of mostly flat trails ready for skiing. There is no classic track set. Brann said the trail is still skiable, but getting worse every day.

At the Baycrest Ski Trails, skiers must use the trail head on Rodgers Loop due to deteriorating conditions. Rodgers Loop is before the big hill into Homer and just after the Texaco station.

There are 10 kilometers of intermediate-level skiing there, with no classic track set. Brann said the best skiing at the trails can be found at the highest elevations.

Finally, Brann said he expected to have a 3-kilometer loop groomed at Lookout Mountain by Saturday. The trail head is located on Ohlson Mountain Road in Homer. This loop will be flat.

In Seward, the Mile 12 Ski Trails, located at Mile 12 of the Seward Highway, has 3 kilometers of intermediate skiing. There is no classic track set.

Seward ski coach Rich Houghton said the trail is a little icy and dirtied with twigs and branches.

There is a Polar Bear Jump Ski/Skijor Race scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Exit Glacier Road. However, poor trail conditions and gloomy weather forecasts are putting that event in doubt. For information, call the Helly Hansen dealer at 224-3041.

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