Weather has yet to ruin area ski trails

Posted: Friday, February 27, 2004

Try as it might, the weather has not managed to ruin the cross-country skiing on the Kenai Peninsula just yet.

Despite lots of rain and temperatures above freezing, trails on the peninsula were providing decent skiing during the week.

"I think we're ready to roll into the weekend," said Bob Frates, the director of Kenai's Parks and Recreation Depart-ment.

"The trails are probably a little icy in the morning and late evening, but when it warms up in midday, the trails are pretty soft."

Frates said the Kenai Nordic Trails will be groomed Friday to get them ready for the weekend. There probably will not be a classic track set because the snow would be tough to cut into.

At Tsalteshi Trails, LuAnn Reynolds and other groomers have been working hard to scrape up the icy snow and provide suitable conditions for skiing.

As of Wednesday, the Wolf Run and Moose Trail were providing good skating. Reynolds said she made some grooming passes on the Bear Loop and Wolverine Loop Wednesday. She said conditions should improve as groomers keep scraping up the course Thursday and Friday.

"If somebody wants to ski, they should go to the trails nearest Skyview," Reynolds said. "That's where we are grooming the most."

There is a classical track set on the Wolverine Loop, but it is icy. Skiers also should be aware there will be a middle school race at Tsalteshi on Saturday.

Across the Sterling Highway at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Dave Kenagy, a ranger, said the trails are in good condition after getting groomed Thursday.

Kenagy said the first three loops on the Nordic Lake Route are in good condition, but he warned icy conditions could develop depending on weather or skier usage.

Some have been skiing on Headquarters Lake, but the warm weather has resulted in some overflow, especially on the northcentral portion of the lake.

Kenagy also said the Cent-ennial Trail, which is for snowshoers, will be groomed Sat-urday.

In Nikiski, Heather Gaines, the night shift supervisor at the Nikiski pool, said the trails behind the Nikiski pool and the Nikiski Community Trails were groomed this week and are getting some use. Gaines said the trails may be a bit icy.

In Homer, Dave Brann, the vice president of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, said the temperature has not dropped low enough in Homer to make the trails extremely icy.

At the Baycrest Ski Trails, Brann said the trails at the highest elevations are providing good skiing. The lower trails also are still skiable but are in poorer condition. Brann said there should be 10 to 15 kilometers of tracks at Baycrest by Saturday.

Brann said Lookout Mountain also is in good condition, with a flat, 2.5-kilometer loop groomed for classical and skate skiing.

Finally, the 7.5 kilometers at the McNeil Canyon Ski Trails are in great shape for classical and skate skiing.

The Kachemak Nordic Ski Club also has announced the date of its annual ski races. The races will by March 14 at Baycrest, with 2-, 5-, 10- and 42-kilometer events planned.

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