Snow comes down, skiing picks up

Posted: Friday, December 22, 2006

Although Soldotna and Kenai area skiers may not have been rewarded with as much snow as nearby communities earlier this week, conditions have improved and local skiers do have some trail fun to look forward to over the weekend.

“We missed the big snow fall everybody got (Wednesday),” said Tom Seggerman, a Tsalteshi Trail Association board member and trail groomer. “Anchorage got it, Homer, everybody all the way around us ... but I’m happy with just the few inches we’re getting and the temperatures are staying in the mid-20s and teens — that’s perfect.”

Seggerman said the Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School are groomed and in great shape for skate skiing, and although there is not yet enough snow for classic ski tracks the trails are also skiable for classic skiers who do not mind skiing without them.

In addition, lights on the green and blue loops illuminate approximately 5 kilometers of trail from dusk until 9:30 p.m. each night, he said.

In other nearby trail systems, however, trails for the most part remain marginal or have not yet been groomed.

Andy Bralley, a grounds-keeper with the city of Kenai, said trails at the Kenai Golf Course have not yet been groomed, but that the grooming will likely begin today and most should be completed by sometime next week.

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge backcountry ranger Scott Slavik said cross-country ski trails are getting a lot of use by die-hard skiers, but for the most part remain lumpy and marginal.

“It’s all doable, it’s just that there’s some very thin spots,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t take my very brand new skis out there yet.”

Trails at the refuge, however, are being groomed and are improving with every additional inch of snow that accumulates, he said.

Slavik said he planned to groom the lake today.

Dale Bakk, who grooms Nikiski Community Trails, could not be reached on Thursday, but his wife Elaine Bakk said Dale had groomed the trails on Monday and that although the trails might be a little bare in some areas due to winds and snow drifting, they should be in good condition overall.

On another note, Seggerman also wanted mention that a Tsalteshi Trails Association snowmachine used for grooming was recently stolen from a maintenance shed. The snowmachine was later found at Arc Lake, but it was no longer running and had missing parts.

Anyone with information can leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 283-TIPS, (800) 478-4258 or go online at

Patrice Kohl can be reached at

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