With two days of decent snowfall on the central Kenai Peninsula, area cross-country ski trail groomers are beginning to think about getting things ready for the winter season and a few are already in action.
"Everyone is welcome to come on out and ski," said Kenai National Wildlife Refuge ranger Dave Kenagy. "We'll try to get the trails groomed and get the rest of the ski trail signs up by this weekend."
Kenagy said refuge crews have done some rerouting of the Nordic Lake Trails and added some new sections of trail. Kenagy also said that the Centennial Trail will be open to skiing as well as snowshoeing this winter. Both trails can be accessed from refuge headquarters on Ski Hill Road.
Across the Sterling Highway at Tsalteshi Trails, Tom Seggerman of the Tsalteshi Trail Association said groomers rolled out all of the system's loops Wednesday and would likely be out again Thursday.
"It's a little lumpy, but pretty good skiing," Seggerman said.
Seggerman said groomers were just rolling the trails there isn't quite enough snow for dragging them yet thus the lumps. Seggerman added that several high school teams had been out practicing this week.
Tsalteshi Trails can be accessed behind Skyview High School, or from Kalifornsky Beach Road just across from the Soldotna Sports Center.
Grooming efforts in Kenai and Nikiski are on hold until the trails there receive a little more snow.
In Nikiski, Dale Bakk, who coaches the Nikiski ski team, said enough snow had fallen through Wednesday to make for a pretty good base, but the wind that accompanied the storm prevented much of it from accumulating on the trails.
"We're going to need a little more snow without the wind before I can roll down a good base," Bakk said.
Bakk said he would start on the trails behind the Nikiski pool first but added that the Nikiski Community Trails at the middle-high school would need more snow before he tackled them.
Bakk is hoping to have the trails at the pool ready by the middle of next week.
In Kenai, parks and recreation director Bob Frates said he was waiting for more snow before he would start rolling out the Kenai Nordic Trails on the Kenai Golf Course.
"We're going to sit on this. We want to wait until we've got a good base we need to work hand in hand with the owners of the golf course," Frates said. "What we've got now could start out as a good base provided this weather pattern holds."
As of Wednesday evening, trails in Homer and Seward had not received enough snow to begin grooming efforts. In Homer, Dave Brann of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club said that a couple of inches had fallen, but he planned to spend the weekend clearing fallen trees at the Baycrest trails.
In Seward, Dennis Perry of the Seward Nordic Ski Club said the area had received about an inch of snow, but then the weather turned warm.
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