Depending on what form of outdoor recreation you choose, the storm that surged through the area Thursday could be a boon or bane.
Many groomers are hopeful ski trail conditions will be good this weekend as a result.
“It should be a good weekend for skiing,” said Tom Seggerman on Thursday, in regard to the Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School.
Seggerman said the tracks that had been set Wednesday were fabulous, and he wasn’t expecting the snow on Thursday to alter them too badly.
“It’s just been a flurry so far, so it shouldn’t affect the trail much,” he said.
Seggerman added that temperatures were predicted to rise this weekend, and as long as they didn’t rise too far above freezing it should also bode well for skiing.
“The temperatures earlier in the week were so cold there wasn’t much of a glide, but temps in the high 20s should make it much faster,” he said.
For more information, go online to www.tsalteshi.org.
Andy Bralley, groundskeeper with Kenai’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the trails at the Kenai Golf Course also should be in good shape.
“It depends on what this weather does,” he said Thursday, “but the trail was in pretty good shape on Wednesday, and I’ll be rolling it again this afternoon, Friday and again Saturday.”
Bralley said the 5-kilometer loop is completely groomed, as well as a few other chutes.
He said there will be races on the east side from noon until 3 p.m. Saturday, but the west side should still be skiiable.
Dave Kenagy, of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, also was working on shoring up the refuge’s ski trails Thursday.
“Almost everything should be done by the end of today, so it should be good on Friday and maybe Saturday if it doesn’t get too warm.
Kenagy said the only exception to where he would groom would be the path around Headquarter’s Lake.
“The lake has blown over, so I won’t groom it. I’ll let it settle down and wait for good snow across the whole lake, then I’ll groom it again,” he said.
Until then, Kenagy said anyone is welcome to ski the lake in its current condition.
For more information, call refuge headquarters at 262-7021.
Dale Bakk, groomer for the Nikiski Community Trails and the trails behind the Nikiski Pool, also was optimistic about conditions this weekend.
“I’ve been rolling down all the new snow, trying to knock the air out of it, and they’re looking really good,” he said.
Bakk said he would set tracks Thursday for the high school races that take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Nikiski Community Trails on Saturday.
“I’ll also roll the pool trails, but if we get rain like they’re predicting, I’ll just roll them flat for skating, then set tracks after the weekend.
While skiers may have it pretty good, snowmachiners and dog mushers participating the the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race this weekend may have too much of a good thing in the high country of the Caribou Hills.
“We spent all day yesterday and most of last night, up until midnight, grooming for the dogs,” said Howard Davis of the Caribou Hills Cabin Hoppers, in regard to work done Wednesday.
He said the work would continue Thursday, but the storm was having an effect.
At noon Thursday, cabin hopper Jim Matti’s weather station in the hills was recording average wind speeds of eight to nine miles per hour with gusts up to 20 mph.
Kevin Fulton, a trail marker and groomer for the T-200, said the wind was not only bringing more new snow with it, but was moving a lot of the four inches of snow that fell in the high country Wednesday.
“It’s been hard. The snow is moving every day, and in a whiteout, even the guys that really know the area are having a tough time,” he said.
Fulton said the snow drifts on Caribou Lake on Wednesday made the hours of trail work done last weekend almost completely nonexistent.
“It looked like a snowmachine hadn’t been through there all year. You couldn’t find a track,” he said.
Fulton said he hoped the storm would moved through quickly, so the trail work Thursday afternoon and evening would hold.
Even if it didn’t, “on the good side, we’ve got everything marked, and even at Caribou Lake all the markers were there,” he said.
While the snow may slow the pace of the race, it shouldn’t halt any teams from continuing, he said.
“In a worst-case scenario, we’ll go out in front of the mushers on snowmachines,” he said.
As of Thursday afternoon the National Weather Service was calling for three to six inches of snow south of Clam Gulch on Thursday evening, with a total storm accumulation of five to 10 inches.
The weather for the weekend was predicted to be mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and snow.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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