Just like the ones I used to know ...

Recent snowfall makes for skiable conditions in time for Christmas

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2002

A white Christmas is no longer the stuff of dreams for central Kenai Peninsula skiers.

Monday, a storm coated much of the central peninsula with a layer of snow that groomers are saying was just enough to get some trails up and running.

"It's been really, really beautiful," said Dave Feeken, the Kenai Central ski coach, of the Kenai Nordic Trails. "There's been full-moon evenings.

"(Wednesday night) you could see all the way across the inlet from the back of the golf course. The sunsets are magnificent."

The Kenai Nordic Trails are located at the Kenai Golf Course. They have been groomed for about 6 kilometers of skating. The golf course provides mostly flat skiing with some hills that may challenge beginners.

Feeken also reminded snowmachiners that the golf course is closed to snowmachines. Not only are snowmachiners ruining the ski trails, but the snow depth is so shallow that snowmachines are tearing up the golf course, as well.

There also is skiing at Tsalteshi Trails, located behind Skyview High School.

Bill Holt said all of Tsalteshi's 15 kilometers of trails are groomed for skating. The trails have something for all levels of skiers.

"I didn't get a chance to ski it, but it looked like marginal skiing," Holt said. "It was good in some places, but some places were pretty bumpy and had dirt mixed in the snow."

Across the Sterling Highway at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Karen McGahan, a refuge clerk, said the trails have not been groomed but are open.

Maps are available at the visitor center. Skiers wanting to ski Headquarters Lake should check at the visitor center to see if the ice is thick enough.

Out in Nikiski, the trails behind the Nikiski pool and the Nikiski Community Trails both are not groomed. These trails can only be navigated with old skis that wouldn't be hurt by a few more nicks and scrapes.

The only groomed skiing in Nikiski is down at the football field at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School.

In Seward, there was skiing earlier in the week, but Rich Houghton, ski coach at Seward High School, said the skiing has since disappeared.

In Homer, Dave Brann of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club said he groomed two-thirds of the Baycrest Ski Trails, but the trails are still pretty rough due to shallow snow depth. Baycrest can be found by taking a left on Rodgers Loop Road from the Sterling Highway. Rodgers Loop is before the big hill into Homer and just after the Texaco station.

"To make the skiing at Baycrest fair to good, it's going to take another 6 to 8 inches," Brann said.

Brann also said there's not enough snow for decent skiing at McNeil Canyon Ski Trails.

Brann said the best skiing is at Lookout Mountain, located on Ohlson Mountain Road in Homer. This area provides 2 to 3 kilometers of mostly flat skiing.

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