Skiers feast on fresh snowfall

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2005

With this week's weather, groomers on the Kenai Peninsula's cross-country ski trails have gone from scratching up every little bit of ice to make trails skiable to just trying to keep up as snow blankets the region.

"It's a feast or famine kind of thing," said Dave Brann of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club in Homer.

Brann said he saw a lot of people out enjoying Tuesday's snowfall after a couple of weeks of sketchy conditions.

Everything is looking real good compared to what it has been," Brann said.

As of Wednesday, Brann said that 12 kilometers of trail as Baycrest was groomed and "real skiable," and while he reported a few thin spots, Thursday's dump should have taken care of those.

Lookout Mountain, which has a 2-kilometer loop, was expected to be in great shape for Saturday's junior Nordic program, and at McNeil Canyon, the 7.5-kilometer loop had been groomed but Brann said they would wait until it stopped snowing to set classic tracks.

Brann said he also was packing a 7.5-kilometer loop from McNeil Canyon to the Eveline State Recreation Site for Sunday's Wine and Cheese Tour. The event begins at noon, and participants can start at the McNeil trail head or at the Eveline site, which is located on Alpine Meadows Drive, 1.5 miles past McNeil Canyon Elementary School. Brann said signs will be posted.

At Tsalteshi Trails, located behind Skyview High School, Bill Holt of the Tsalteshi Trail Association said he began grooming Tuesday but didn't want to do too much during Wednesday's above-freezing temperatures. Holt expected to be out Thursday to have everything ready for the weekend.

This weekend is the first weekend in several weeks without an event scheduled, so skiers will have free rein to enjoy the trails.

Across the Sterling Highway at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, refuge ranger Dave Kenagy reported that all loops would be groomed Thursday and today, including a loop around Headquarters Lake. Skiers are advised to follow signs posted at kiosks.

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