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Trails 'hunky-dory' despite warm weather

Ski Trails Report

Posted: Friday, December 12, 2003

After a Tuesday shower scare, the weather made a comeback this week on the central peninsula with some snow Wednesday and some temperatures in the high 20s Thursday that sucked moisture out of the snow and made it suitable for grooming.

"Things are just hunky-dory," said Bob Frates, the director of the Parks and Recreation Department for the city of Kenai. "The trails were a little mushy during the warm spell, but with the cooler temperatures they are back in shape."

Groomers prepared 5 kilometers of trails at the Kenai Nordic Trails Thursday. Groomers also set classic tracks.

Dale Bakk, the coach of the Nikiski high school team, also was planning on grooming Thursday morning.

Bakk was planning on sprucing up 3 kilometers at the trails behind the Nikiski pool and 5.5 kilometers at the Nikiski Community Trails. He also was going to make an effort to set classic tracks at both places.

"Even the rain (Tuesday) wasn't hurting us too bad," Bakk said. "It was helping us get some moisture down into the base.

"We're building a nice, gradual base for the winter."

Bakk also said the Nikiski Community Trails and the trails behind the Nikiski pool were vandalized by a snowmachiner last weekend. Both trails are off limits to snowmachiners.

At Tsalteshi Trails, Thursday morning's cool temperatures also had Bill Holt, the chair of the Tsalteshi Trails Association, out on the groomer. While it looked like Holt would have most of Tsalteshi's 15 kilometers of trails set up for skating, it was not known if he would have time to set classic tracks.

Holt has made up maps of the new trails at Tsalteshi. The maps are located in a rubber container at the Kalifornsky Beach parking lot.

The Tsalteshi Trails Association, which maintains the trails through volunteer effort, also is beginning a push to get members paid up and to attract new members.

Holt said the association currently has 150 members, but less than one-third of those members are paid up. Those wishing to become members can find membership forms at the trail heads, at Kaladi Brothers Coffee Company in Soldotna, at Wilderness Way, at Beemun's Variety in Soldotna and at www.tsalteshi.org.

Across the Sterling Highway at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Dave Kenagy, a ranger, said all the trails were groomed Thursday. Kenagy said there are some branches drooping over the trail due to wet snow, but aware skiers should do fine.

Kenagy said the Nordic Lake Trails have been redesigned over the past two years to ski much better, and invited skiers to check out the difference. He also said the Centennial Trail has been set up to provide snowshoers with great views of lakes and mountains.

Finally, Kenagy reminded users that no pets are allowed on the trails.

Down in Homer, Dave Brann, the vice president of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, said low elevations have gotten a bunch of rain, but skiing remains good at high elevations.

Lookout Mountain has 3 kilometers groomed for skating and classical skiing. The McNeil Canyon Ski Trails just opened this week, and now have 5 kilometers available to skiers.

Finally, the lower trails at the Baycrest Ski Trails have been washed out pretty good, but the upper trails, like Sunset Loop, are still skiing well.

In Seward, this week's rain put a considerable damper on all the snow the area has received in the past couple weeks. There is still some skiing on Exit Glacier Road.



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