Slowly but surely: Ski season gearing up

Posted: Friday, December 02, 2005

While skiers on the central Kenai Peninsula missed out on a big dump of snow over the holiday weekend, winter recreationists in Homer are reveling in 12 to 14 inches of fresh, powdery snow.

“It’s wonderful,” said Dave Brann of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club.

Brann said 95 percent of the trails at Baycrest are open and skateable, with classic tracks set around 90 percent of the trails, for a total of 20 to 25 kilometers worth of tracks.

Brann said a few bushes were poking through here and there, but the skiing is still good to excellent.

Lookout Mountain also is reported to be in excellent shape, and groomers have been putting in a lot of time this week at McNeil Canyon in preparation for high school races this weekend.

Brann added that the Eveline State Recreation Site, which includes about 3 1/2 kilometers of trail through meadows and rolling hillside, was very skiable prior to last week’s snow, and Brann was planning to do some grooming there Thursday.

“You can go skiing here just about everywhere, and it’s really nice snow,” Brann said.

On the central peninsula, groomers have made the most with more modest snowfall.

“The skiing is surprisingly good for the amount of snow we have, but I’m not going to be able to do anything more with it,” said Bill Holt of the Tsalteshi Trail Association.

Holt said all the loops at Tsalteshi had been groomed, but there was still some dirt showing through here and there. Holt said the Wolverine loop was in the best condition, and added that skiing on the practice loop around the soccer field also was a good option.

“What I’ve been recommending is that people use rock skis, if they have them,” Holt said, referring to an old set of skis that a skier wouldn’t mind getting a scratch in if he or she happened to ski over a rock poking through the thin snow.

In Nikiski, Nikiski High School ski coach Dale Bakk has rolled out a thin base at the trails behind the Nikiski pool. The Nikiski Community Trails at the middle-high school need to get about six more inches of snow before he can tackle them.

“If anyone does ski at the pool, there are some thin spots at the beginning of the trail. In the woods is good, but right by the building, it’s a little icy and a little thin,” Bakk said. “Probably like everyone else, we’re just praying for snow.”

Bob Frates at the Kenai Parks and Recreation Department said he was waiting for more snow before rolling out trails on the Kenai Golf Course.

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