Still plenty of good skiing left on peninsula

Posted: Friday, March 12, 2004

Decent cross-country skiing is still hanging on across the Kenai Peninsula.

At the Kenai Nordic Trails, Bob Frates, the director of the city of Kenai's Parks and Recreation Department, said the trails are looking great after being groomed Wednesday and Thursday.

Frates said a classic track will be put in at the trails for the weekend.

"It should be good skiing provided something extremely odd doesn't happen with the weather, like rain or the temperature going up to 50 degrees," Frates said.

At Tsalteshi Trails, Bill Holt, the chair of the Tsalteshi Trail Association, was planning on waiting until some cooler weather came to groom the trails. With the warm temperatures, the snow at Tsalteshi is currently wet and sticky, but definitely skiable.

"We're going to keep working on them, I just have to wait for it to cool off for more than a couple of hours," Holt said.

Across the Sterling Highway at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, conditions are similar. Dave Kenagy, a park ranger, said the trails are currently mushy, with wet, sticky snow during daytime hours and icy conditions when the temperature falls below freezing.

Kenagy said he would not groom either the Nordic Lake Loops or the Centennial Trail until the temperature drops below freezing.

He also warned those skiing on Headquarters Lake to be extremely wary of overflow.

In Nikiski, groomer Dale Bakk said skiers are enjoying the benefits of some slight weather differences between Nikiski and the Kenai-Soldotna area. Nikiski received a little bit more snow this week, up to 8 inches in some places, and also had not had soaring warm temperatures as of Wednesday.

"This week, it's just been gorgeous," Bakk said of the skiing.

Bakk will roll out both the trails behind the Nikiski pool and the Nikiski Community Trails Friday. He will set a classic track at the trails behind the Nikiski pool.

Finally, Homer is still burgeoning with ski activity.

The Wooden Ski Festival will be Saturday at the Lookout Mountain ski trails. There will be a mass start, 2-kilometer race starting at 2 p.m.

This is a nonsynthetic event. For more information, contact Daryl at 235-2166 or Dave at 235-6018.

Sunday, the Kachemak Ski Marathon will be held at the Baycrest Ski Trails. The Sterling Highway trail head, located right next to the Department of Transportation station on the Sterling Highway, will be used. The race starts at 11:19 a.m. There will be registration from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the trail head. The distances will be 20 and 40 kilometers. For more information, contact Wayne Watson at 235-4283.

In addition to the Baycrest Ski Trails and the Lookout Mountain ski trails, the McNeil Canyon Ski Trails also are in good condition. Dave Brann, the vice president of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, said there should be 7.5 kilometers of classic and skate skiing at those trails by the weekend.

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