May2021newsletter header
May 14, 2021

Trail Status

The Moose Range is muddy and rutted.

The GPRA trails are closed by the Borough, due to breakup conditions.

Archangel Road is still fully snow-covered, but no grooming.

Independence Mine is now being groomed twice a week. Check reports.
Hatcher in mid-May.

Arctic Winter Games

It's official! The Arctic Winter Games are coming to the Mat-Su for a week in March of 2024.
Thousands of young athletes and supporting colleagues from around the northern world will visit our community for the competitions in traditional and regional winter games. It will be huge! Government Peak Recreation Area will be the site of Nordic skiing and some of the other competitions. There will be countless opportunities for volunteering. If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, contact Ailis: For more information, check out this great article from the Frontiersman.

Club Administrator

Did you know that the Mat-Su Ski Club has only one, part-time, employee? Allison Fry has been serving as our Administrator for the past year, but she has decided to move on to other things. She will, however, be staying on board as a volunteer for Junior Nordics and more. That being said, we are on the lookout for a new Admin! Do you know someone that would be interested in this position? The hours vary per month, with the majority of the worked hours being in the winter. Basic duties include: monitoring ski club emails, communicating with club members and board members, assembling monthly board meeting packets, helping update the club's website, and assisting with Club events. If you or someone you know is interested, please reply to this email for more information! We are looking to hire someone by the end of May 2021. Big thanks to Allison for all your hard work - we appreciate you!

Give all year

You can help support the Mat-Su Ski Club through the Fred Meyer Community Awards program and through Amazon Smile. Every little bit counts. And note this - even though the application period is over, one can still pledge part of their 2021 Alaska PFD to the Club, until August 31.

Groomer News

As the ski season winds to its end we are now grooming only at Independence Mine, where we plan to have fresh grooming on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We will continue until State Parks plows the snow away, sometime in the second half of May. Hatcher Pass and the Independence bowl are still buried in snow: there is a ton of skiing left up there. Ski conditions vary with time of day.

Government Peak Recreation Area was last groomed on April 21st (with the PistenBully) and skiing was just fantastic for 3 or 4 days after the groom. After that conditions decayed with the rapid onset of spring. Still, good skiing, in shorts and t-shirts, with lots of butterflys, spring birdsong, and sunshine lasted until the very end of April at GPRA.

Archangel Road grooming was halted in late March by the big snow storm and avalanche cycle and consequent long Hatcher Pass road closure. That ended our Archangel grooming season for the year, as it turned out. But the Archangel Road is still snow covered, and some folks are still touring there.
The season's Nordic trail grooming began October 19th at Independence Mine, and less than a week later both GPRA and Archangel Road were groomed. A consistent season followed without meltdowns or droughts. The crew of volunteer groomers have since October 19th (to April 30) contributed 1266 hours of effort this season: packing, dragging, and tilling the trails to bring you fresh corduroy and classic tracks at Independence Mine, Archangel Road, Government Peak Recreation Area, and the Moose Range.
Thanks for your time groomers.
Almost 8 months of grooming!
Over 4000 machine miles and about 1300 volunteer hours.

Groomer Greetings

GROOMER STORY: My name is Justin Trice, I am a father of two (9 yr old daughter & 6 yr old son). I have been married 14 years and came to live in Alaska 17 years ago. I am into all things outdoors; camping, hunting, hiking, biking and recently XC skiing. My wife, kids and I have been in the Junior Nordic program for two years now, and we all love it. We want to show our kids all of the enjoyment and beauty they can get from being in the outdoors. I am a heavy equipment operator by trade, so wanted to help in the ski club grooming efforts. When I offered to help the club, I immediately started grooming with the PistenBully 100 based upon my background operating heavy equipment. Jeff Kase trained me to operate the groomer and oriented me on the trails at Independence Mine, and Ed Strabel served as a guide while grooming the maze of trails at GPRA. While grooming at Independence Mine, I have been lucky enough to learn how to get the Argo Centaur stuck, and thankfully un-stuck, when Ben Raevsky came to help and show me a few tricks of the trade.
It is very satisfying to see how nice it is to ski on fresh corduroy, I am glad that I can be a part of the Mat-Su Ski Club and love to see how many volunteers there are who invest some of their time in a Club that gives so much back to the community. Thank You, Justin.

We need skis!

Not like we don't all have thirty pairs already, but. The skis on our free-to-rent Chariots are pretty gouged up from years of being dragged across gravelly parking lots. We need 110 cm-long waxable Nordic skis (not waxless) in good condition to replace the old ones. If you happen to have a pair (or two) you no longer need, we could sure use them. Let know if you can help.

Bridges for sale

Big thanks! To the Baldwin family for their very generous support of the Club by buying the 25-year naming rights to one of the Nordic Ski trail bridges at GPRA. We will put up the new signs this summer. If you would like to celebrate someone, or show your business's support for the Nordic ski community - well you too can buy a bridge from us! Write to for more info.

Thanks for the Support!

Thanks again to the hundreds of individuals who donated to the Club or bought Mat-Su Ski Club trail pins. The financial boost is important and your support is hugely encouraging to all the volunteers who put in many hours for the Club.

Thanks to REI for the grant that helped buy our new Skiddo Skandic Super Wide Track that replaced the worn-out Archangel grooming machine. And thanks also to the MatSu Trails and Parks Foundation for the grant that supplied us with trail counters to help us get the first measurement-based estimate of how many skiers (and other recreationalists) are using the trails we groom and maintain.
We just have to thank our volunteers one more time. Without you, the Mat-Su Ski Club would accomplish nothing. Thanks for the many hours given by the Blue Crew race volunteers, the Junior Nordics volunteers, the trail groomers, the Adult Ski Lesson coaches, Mat-Su Ski for Women volunteers, trail maintenance and hazard-tree clearing volunteers, and by the many other individuals who gave their time to the community this winter. THANKS a MILLION!
MSSC Donors 2021 (1)

Borough parking passes

Remember - 8 hours of volunteer trail work recorded by the Mat-Su Ski Club or Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers (VMBaH) earns one a Mat-Su Borough parking pass for the following year, custom delivered to your snailmail address. All you have to do is record your name and mailing address and hours on the appropriate Club's paperwork. Watch for emails and for postings on about trail work opportunities this summer.
If you would like to help with a soon-upcoming project to plant spruce trees alongside the Pioneer Loop for winter decorations and celebrations - drop a note to
April 30th, Denali Loop at Government Peak Recreation Area.
April 17th, Arkose Loop at Government Peak Recreation Area.
21st April, north side of Government Peak in the center background.
Watch for tiny snowmen crossing the Independence Mine trail!
last snowman crop
Did you receive this newsletter at an @matsuk12 email address? If so, could you drop a note letting us know that you did, and, importantly, whether you received them all winter long? We think we might be having some difficulty reaching people using Mat-Su school district addresses.

New Donors in May

Bronze Donors

Steve McKeever

And thanks to the 60 generous people (so far) who donated a combined $4200 out of their Alaska PFDs to the Mat-Su Ski Club. Thats huge!

Donate here