No matter whether you want to ski, skijor, snowshoe or snowmachine, the trail conditions are looking favorable for fun this weekend.
“The trails are currently looking good and I’ll likely go out and clean them up a little more today,” said Dave Kenagy of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge ski trails are designed with wildlife viewing in mind. As such, the trails are groomed for classic skiing so users have a chance to ski a little slower, look around a bit more, and maybe see wildlife such as a moose, coyote or any number of birds that don’t fly south for the winter.
Most of the refuge trails are wide enough for classic cross-country skiing, but not quite wide enough for good skate skiing.
“For skate skiing, people can go around Headquarters Lake,” Kenagy said.
Snowshoers are also allowed on the trails at the refuge.
For more information, call KNWR at 262-7021.
Bob Frates with Kenai’s Parks and Recreation Department said the trails at the Kenai Golf Course are also in good shape.
“They’re looking good. We’ve got 5 kilometers in, basically one giant loop and it’s marked,” he said.
Frates added that groomers will continue working on the trail on Thursday and Friday.
Dale Bakk, groomer for the Nikiski Community Trails, said conditions are also favorable out his way.
“It’s looking good so far. The school trails are rolled out and in good shape for skating,” he said, referring to the roughly 5 kilometers of trail.
“The base is firming up well,” he added.
Bakk said he was also going out Thursday to work on the 3 kilometers of trail behind the Nikiski Pool.
“They’ve been rolled and tracks are set, so they would be good for skating or classic skiing,” he said.
Bakk also wanted to remind people interested in walking, rather than skiing, to stick to the bike trail in winter.
“We’ve had a few people walking the ski trails, and when the snow is soft like it’s been, it makes it tough to get back into ski quality,” he said.
At the Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School, trail groomer Bill Holt reported on their Web site that the trails have been groomed and the conditions are so excellent “it’ll make your eyes water.”
However, skiers will need to act fast to capitalize on these conditions since this weekend Tsalteshi will host the Besh Cup races.
“With the races, we’ll have trail closures from 9 p.m. Friday night until 5 p.m. Sunday, and the sledding hill will be closed both days as well,” said Tom Seggerman.
Instead, Seggerman suggested would-be skiers utilize the 2.9 kilometer Wolverine Trail, which can be accessed from the trail head across from the Soldotna Rodeo Grounds on Kalifornsky Beach Road.
Seggerman also suggested instead of skiing, people come out and watch the races this weekend.
“They’re going to be exciting with lots of good viewing opportunities. We’ve got 267 people signed up for the classic sprint race on Saturday and 280 people signed up for the freestyle race on Sunday,” he said.
Entrants range in age from 8 to 80 years old, Seggerman added.
For more information on the Besh Cup races, go online to www.tsalteshi.org.
Out of town, trail conditions in the Caribou Hills are looking good for snowmachining, with the snow base around 30 inches.
“Everything will be groomed in by this weekend with the exception of the Jeep Trail,” said cabin hopper Howard Davis.
Davis explained that one of the club’s grooming machines has broken down on the Jeep Trail, and can’t be moved until new parts arrive.
“They should be here next week,” he said.
The one remaining trail groomer remained busy all week picking up the slack.
On Monday, 5th Trail, Lookout Trail to Four Corners, and Straight In Trail to Four Corners were all groomed.
On Tuesday, the Gravel Pit to Straight In, Chet’s Trail, and Straight In to Water Hole to Upland, were all groomed.
On Wednesday, Grand Prix, Centennial, Clam Gulch to Straight Inn Trail were all groomed.
For the most up-to-date information on trail grooming in the Caribou Hills, visit the Cabin Hoppers’ Web site at www.akchch.org.
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