Good snow, skiing abound

Posted: Friday, December 19, 2003

Winter continued to gain momentum across the Kenai Peninsula last week, meaning skiers everywhere should encounter good conditions this weekend.

At the Kenai Nordic Trails, Bob Frates, the director of the Parks and Recreation Department for the city of Kenai, said 5 kilometers are groomed for classical and freestyle skiing. There are even two classical tracks, so skiers can ski side-by-side.

Frates also said skijoring has picked up at the trails, one of the few systems where dogs are al-lowed.

Frates said skijoring at the trails is limited to two dogs. He also said cleaning up after the dogs is a must. Finally, he said skijorers must put a bell or something else to make noise on one of the dogs, so as not to startle other skiers.

Over at Tsalteshi Trails, the skiing also is good. Tom Seggerman, the treasurer of the Tsalteshi Trails Association, said all the trails are groomed for skating. Also many loops have classical tracks.

Seggerman said the association continues to encourage its members to pay yearly dues. The association has 150 members, but less than one-third have paid their dues.

Across the Sterling Highway at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Scott Slavik, a backcountry ranger, said there is a lot of good skiing to be had.

He said the Centennial Trail and the first, or beginner, loop on the Nordic Lake Trails are in very good shape. The three outer loops on the Nordic Lake Trails could use some more snow to take care of saplings sticking through the snow, but Slavik said those loops are definitely still skiable.

Out in Nikiski, Dale Bakk, the coach of the high school team, reported good skiing at the trails behind the Nikiski pool and at the Nikiski Community Trails.

At the Nikiski Community Trails, Bakk said there should be 5.5 kilometers of skating and classical skiing by today.

At the pool trails, there should be 3 kilometers of both techniques by today.

In Homer, residents also are starting to enjoy some of the best skiing of the year so far.

"We're sitting pretty," said Mike Flora, a board member of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club. "We're getting like an inch a day, and there's no wind, so it's not going anywhere.

"It's great skiing for this time of year."

The McNeil Canyon Ski Trails have 7.5 kilometers groomed for skating and classical skiing. Flora also said he is thinking about putting a classical track to Bald Mountain.

Flora also said he knew people were skiing at Lookout Mountain and at the Baycrest Ski Trails, but he didn't have detailed information about the conditions.

In Seward, Dan Walker, the coach of the middle school, said the area has had a week of steady, fresh snow.

Exit Glacier Road is providing good skating all the way out to the glacier overlook. The Mile 12 Ski Trails are packed, but they have not been groomed as of yet.

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