Fresh snow spruces up trails

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2001

Moderate snowfall on the central Kenai Peninsula throughout the week has touched up the ski trails perfectly for the weekend, but it looks like skiers are going to have to battle a little cold to enjoy the trails.

"The (Kenai Nordic) trails were groomed (Wednesday), and the skiing is actually pretty awesome," said Bob Frates, director of the city of Kenai Parks and Recreation Department. "It's just cold again."

The Kenai Nordic Trails are located on the Kenai Golf Course. Currently, the trails have 5 kilometers open for skating. The trails are mostly flat, with a couple of hills that may challenge inexperienced skiers.

At Tsalteshi Trails, located behind Skyview High School, the fresh snow has made a good thing even better.

"It just added a little bit more of a buffer for us to play with," said Bill Holt, the vice chair of the Tsalteshi Trails Association. "I thought the skating was great."

Tsalteshi has about 11 kilometers open to skiers, with all levels of difficulty. Holt also set classical tracks on all the trails and thinks they have a pretty good chance of setting up nicely.

Out in Nikiski, Dale Bakk has been putting in a ton of work in order to take advantage of the new snow. Bakk spent all of Wednesday grooming at the Nikiski Community Trails, located at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School. He has 5 kilometers ready for skating. Those trails are of moderate difficulty, with some hills that could give unskilled skiers problems.

Thursday, Bakk said he would devote his attention to the trails behind the Nikiski pool. Bakk expected to have the 3 kilometers there set for skating and classical skiing. The skiing at the pool is mostly easy, with a few challenging dips.

At the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Nicole Johnson, a park ranger, said access to the Nordic Lake Trails is still closed off due to construction. Skiers can still use trails, they just have to head toward Headquarters Lake, then cut over and catch the trails. The construction should be completed sometime in the next couple of days.

"We'll be here this weekend, so if people have questions, they can just ask," Johnson said.

The Overlook Routes have been groomed for skiing. Usually, these trails are not groomed, which makes them nearly impossible to ski. Even though they are groomed, Johnson said, skiers should have some experience before attempting some of the hills on the Overlook Routes.

In Seward, the 6 to 8 inches of snow that fell Sunday has provided skiers with some new opportunities. Rich Houghton, the coach of the high school team, said the Seahawks have been practicing on Bear Lake. Bear Lake is about a mile from Mile 7.5 of the Seward Highway.

Exit Glacier remains pretty poor for skiing, but Houghton said 2.5 kilometers of skiing could be available at the Mile 12 Ski Trails, located at Mile 12 of the Seward Highway, by Sunday or Monday.

In Homer, there is still no skiing at the Baycrest Ski Trails or the McNeil Canyon Ski Trails, according to Linda Watson of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club.

There continues to be good skiing at Lookout Mountain, located on Ohlson Mountain Road. There are about 4 kilometers of mostly flat skiing available here. Watson also said there is skiing on Sunset Loop, which is about 2 kilometers long and located on Diamond Ridge Road.

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