No more ice is nice for area skiers

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004

With snow falling across the central Kenai Peninsula on Thursday afternoon, and more snow in the weekend forecast, skiers should have plenty of fresh powder to play with this weekend.

The snow is a welcome sight for groomers after a week ago, when groomers were battling icy conditions.

Bob Frates, director of the city of Kenai Parks and Recreation Department, said groomers spent Saturday and Sunday getting rid of icy conditions at the Kenai Nordic Trails.

Then Mother Nature stepped in with intermittent snowfall throughout the week and made those icy conditions a distant memory.

Groomers rolled out the Kenai Nordic Trails on Thursday afternoon, making for great skate skiing. As of early Thursday, no classic tracks had been set.

"It's really good skiing right now," Frates said.

Dave Kenagy, a park ranger at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, also is excited about what this week's snowfall has done for the refuge trail system.

All the trails were groomed Sunday. There also were plans to groom them Thursday and today.

"The new snow that fell midweek will make for better skiing," Kenagy wrote in a press release.

The first three loops of the Nordic Lake Routes are in excellent condition. The fourth loop, or the loop farthest from the headquarters, also is shaping up. For the most part, snowdrifts have been flattened and groomed, but there still are some bumps near the south end of Nordic Lake.

The Centennial Trail, which is primarily for snowshoers, also is freshly groomed and in great condition.

Skiers have been using Headquarters Lake. There may be overflow on portions of the lake and some snowdrifts. Also, expect crusty snow conditions.

Across the Sterling Highway at Tsalteshi Trails, the skiing has been stellar.

"Monday, right after that fresh snow, was the best skiing of the year," said Tom Seggerman, the treasurer of the Tsalteshi Trails Association. "Everyone said that.

"Tuesday and Wednesday also were nice."

A middle school race will occupy a small part of the trails Saturday morning, but there still will be plenty of space for skiers to get out and enjoy Tsalteshi's fresh snow.

Out in Nikiski, the Nikiski Community Trails and the trails behind the Nikiski pool also have benefited from the fresh snow.

Finally, the skiing is good in Homer, where, so far, groomers have kept up with the snowfall at the Baycrest Ski Trails, Lookout Mountain and the McNeil Canyon Ski Trails.

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