Ski trails just get better

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2002

The best keeps getting better for cross-country skiers on the Kenai Peninsula.

"I know it sounds kind of weird when every week I say we're having the best skiing yet this winter," said Dave Brann, the vice president of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club. "But that's really the way it's been.

"We've had lots of recent snow, and last weekend and early this week the trails were excellent. The snow had a really nice texture."

At the Baycrest Ski Trails, there are more than 35 kilometers of all levels of skiing ready for skating. Brann also said, by the weekend, there should be between 10 and 20 kilometers of classical tracks set.

Baycrest can be accessed from two trail heads. The first is on Roger's Loop from the Sterling Highway. Roger's Loop is before the big hill into Homer and just after the Texaco station. The second is from the Department of Transportation station just before Homer.

The McNeil Canyon Ski Trails, located 12 miles out East End Road at McNeil Canyon Elementary School, also are in tiptop shape.

These trails, with the longest loop being 7.5 kilometers, also are suitable for all levels of skiers.

On the central peninsula, the trails also are idyllic.

Dave Kenagy, a ranger with the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, reports all of the Nordic Lake Trails are groomed and in good condition. The longest loop on the Nordic Lake Trails is 6 miles. These trails are for classical skiing, and have some hills that may challenge beginning and intermediate skiers.

The Overlook Routes at the refuge were last groomed two weeks ago. These routes are more ideal for snowshoeing. The longest loop is 2 miles long.

Across the Sterling Highway at Tsalteshi Trails, Bill Holt, the vice president of the Tsalteshi Trails Association, was getting set for a good weekend of skiing.

As of Wednesday, all of Tsalteshi's 11 kilometers, except for "The Bear" loop, were groomed for skating. By the weekend, Holt expected to have some classical tracks set and "The Bear" groomed. Tsalteshi has skiing for all levels.

Bob Frates, the director of Kenai Parks and Recreation, also said groomers have been paying regular attention to the Kenai Nordic Trails, located on the Kenai Golf Course.

"With this fresh snow, the skiing should be pretty awesome," Frates said. "Unfortunately, it's a little chilly right now, so people should be prepared for that."

The golf course has 6 kilometers of trails ready for skating. The trails are mostly flat, but have some hills that may challenge beginners. Frates was not sure if there would be classical tracks put in for the weekend.

The golf course also will be hosting a ski clinic Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The event will be put on by the Kenai Central High School ski team.

The clinic is for beginning and intermediate classic and skate skiers and costs $20 for the three days. It will be from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. Preregister at the Kenai Recreation Center or by calling 283-3855.

In Nikiski, Dale Bakk, who grooms the trails, is in Fairbanks for the state ski meet. But Karen Kester, the recreation director of the North Peninsula Recreation Service Area, said Bakk got the trails in pretty good shape before he left.

The Nikiski Community Trails, located at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School, have 5.5 kilometers ready for skating. These trails are hilly.

Bakk also groomed the trails at the Nikiski pool Sunday. These trails are 3 kilometers long and mostly flat, with a few dips that may challenge beginners.

Options also abound for skiers in Seward. Dan Walker, a member of the Seward Nordic Ski Club, said the snow on Exit Glacier Road is packed for skiing. Exit Glacier Road is located at Mile 5 of the Seward Highway. It is flat and 8 miles one way.

The Mile 12 Ski Trails, located at Mile 12 of the Seward Highway, also are ready for skiing. Mile 12 has 4 kilometers ready for skating. These trails are intermediate to advanced skiing.

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