Marginal skiing better than nothing

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2003

As of Thursday morning, things were getting down and dirty for area cross-country skiers.

"We're just kind of hanging in there, waiting for some more of the white stuff," said Nikiski high school ski coach Dale Bakk.

Most of the skiing in the area is being done at Tsalteshi Trails, which are located behind Skyview High School.

However, Bill Holt, the chair of the Tsalteshi Trails Association, said the snow cover is getting thinner and thinner and showing more and more dirt.

"There's nothing we can do about it until we get more snow," Holt said.

As of Thursday, it wasn't clear whether Holt's dream or nightmare would come true. Forecasters were calling for periods of precipitation starting late Thursday, but it was unknown whether that precipitation would be welcome snow or cursed rain.

Holt said Tsalteshi could use quite a bit more snow because there are a bunch of rough spots in the trail where dirt is showing through. These rough spots came from heavy equipment doing trail work and construction just before freeze-up.

For that reason, until there is more snow Holt recommended that anybody trying to ski the trails use rock skis. Rock skis are a set of backup skis that a skier doesn't care about nicking and scraping up a little.

For those that do not have rock skis, Holt recommended skiing on the trail set on the grass soccer fields at Skyview. The grass will not scratch the base of a ski.

Holt also said that since the trails are now being groomed for skiing, walkers and dogs are no longer allowed on the trails. The trail is now open to only skiers and snowshoers.

The only other report of skiing in the area came from Bakk in Nikiski. He said he rolled out a "gerbil track" at the Nikiski Middle-Senior High School for his high school team.

Both the Kenai Nordic Trails, located at the Kenai Golf Course, and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge have not been groomed for skiing. There also were no reports of good skiing in Homer, where the temperature was expected to soar into the high 30s Thursday and Friday.

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