march2021newsletter headerNEWNEW

Busy Nordic race days at GPRA

The Nordic racing community wants to thank all of you Mat-Su recreational skiers and other users for letting us use GPRA on two successive weekends to host a high school regional meet and then the state meet. Without these races at GPRA, this years high school senior athletes would have missed out completely on the culmination of their years of efforts. We recognize that most of the trails were unavailable to the public during the best part of those days. The limited parking and the layout of the trails doesn't provide much room for big events. We hope to eventually add trails so that big events will have less effect on local recreational users. And more parking is needed, hopefully the Borough will address that in coming years.

Race to the Outhouse

Our annual season-stretching vernal Race to the Outhouse #2 is tentatively scheduled for April 3rd (April 10th is the alternate date). Archangel Road is the preferred location, Independence Mine is the backup location if weather dictates. Either place, skiers who love long grinding uphills will be delighted! Here is a link to a Faster Skier article about the 2019 race.

Groomer News

The Blue Machine Crew has 27 individuals contributing their time this winter so we can all ski. And they groomed a fair amount in February - 238 all-volunteer hours; most of those at the Moose Range (84) and GPRA (86.5). We are just shy of 1000 grooming hours for the season. The two big race weekends (High School Regional and then State meets) in a row at GPRA called for a lot of effort from the grooming crew. Thanks groomers! Oh, and thank you dear reader, for helping to buy the PistenBully; it is hard to imagine getting our job done without it.

Our brand-new Bombardier XMR four-wheeler-on-tracks has arrived and is in service. We now have three tracked wheelers in our GPRA grooming fleet. The new and the old XMR's, and the even older lower-powered Yamaha - which is now a backup machine. With two XMR's both towing a 108" wide Ginzu groomer (we won't have a second wide Ginzu this winter) ATV grooming will be more efficient at GPRA; compared to team grooming using the narrower Ginzu behind the old weaker wheeler. Not to mention the reduction in breakdown time.

Old and tired, but not done yet, the Skidoo Skandic SWT that we retired from Archangel Road use early this winter is finding a new home. The Mat-Su Ski Club has loaned it to a group starting up a youth Nordic ski program at Redington School.

feb2021groomingvisual v5

No Spring Ski Club Social

The usual Spring Social held in April at GPRA - with the potluck and the prizes and the auction and the just hanging out together - is not going to happen this year. In any case: lets plan on an extra-exuberant autumn fall meeting of the Club!

Adult Ski Lessons

We have just a few openings left for beginner and intermediate skate technique Adult ski lessons until March 20th.
We hope this season's Club member-students, about 60 of you, had fun and learned something new. Those that took lessons, look for a survey in the near future so you can tell us what you liked, disliked, or what you would like to see done differently next year.
Thanks to coaches Penny, Dave, Lorene, and Jerry for volunteering their hours of preparation and instruction. Thanks also to the Club’s groomers for giving us such great trails.
Have you explored the Moose Range? There is a lot of it. There are no lights, or signs to help you find your way, and the trails are full-on multi-use. Many hours and miles of grooming are done by Mat-Su Ski Club groomers and other community-spirited moose-rangers, but it is a big area so a lot of trail is differently groomed on many days. Please be considerate of the neighborhoods at the limited trailhead parking sites.

Redington Nordic Program and Trails

There are 7.5km of trails at Redington High School - and they are now being groomed for Nordic skiing. A group of teachers and volunteers is starting a Nordic program there, and getting geared and grooming is the first step. See a trail map here.

Junior Nordics wrapped up for the season

January 4th, the first day of Junior Nordics, kids and coaches donned their skis under the LED lights of GPRA's stadium and headed out to learn and share a lifelong skill. After 9 weeks of skiing, our 365 Junior Nordics skiers and 58 coaches enjoyed their final session - in the sunshine under a bright blue sky. The kids were following clues to find prizes hidden on the trails. And on the way, they had to hokey pokey, ski a little race, cha cha on their boards, recognize the mountains around them, and show off the skills they've learned over the past few months.

A final thank you to parents and other community members who met the challenge of filling posts such as coach, radio monitor, bathroom scrubber, committee member, trail groomer, and fill-in volunteer. It isn't just the kids in the program that benefit from your generosity and hard work.
Junior Nordics is a core driver of and an important source of income for the Club. Your hard work benefits the Club as a whole. Three cheers for our exceptional volunteers!

Nordic Race Season Recap

The Mat-Su Ski Club would like to thank all of our Blue Crew Volunteers this year. Although it isn't quite over - Race to the Outhouse #2 is in April! This was a crazy season with a lot of uncertainty about if and when we would be able to host races. Some races were rescheduled to GPRA at the absolute last minute; requests for volunteers often went out close to race dates. Special thanks to Lori Berrigan, Mark Strabel, Colin Fay, Ida Gullet, Jeff Kase, and the list goes on, for their extra efforts. All our Blue Crew Volunteers stepped up and we were able to host a full slate of our own Nordic race series, and some of the more popular statewide races of the season.

Mat-Su Ski Club's season-bracketing Race to the Outhouse series.

Mat-Su Ski Club's Icicle Double a two-day, 60-K, Solstice-hooray.

Matanuska Race Series (aka Besh 3 and 4).

annual Colony Invite high school races.

annual GPRA Invite high school races.

Northern Regions high school finals.

ASAA Alaska State High School State Nordic Championships.

Mat-Su Ski Club's low-key, family and athlete fun Northern Lights Race Series.

We recognize that when we host large races, the trails and parking are limited. Thank you for you patience and support on these days, without the support of the community, we would not have been able to host these races. It is our goal to continue working with the MatSu Borough to add more trails and parking so we, and others, are able to host large events and still have trails for the general public.

Ski For Women

The Mat-Su Ski Club's 5th annual Ski For Women happened on Sunday, February 14th. One hundred thirty-three women, men, and kids skied in costume, and donated to support Alaska Family Services. A donation of $3,770.01 was raised for AFS. Many thanks for the generous hearts of all participants, as well as Mat-Su Health Foundation for partnering with Mat-Su Ski Club as a sponsor for this event.

Lastly, congrats to our group of RBG look-alikes, the crowd-chosen winners of this year's costume contest and the Golden Ski Pole!

New Donors in February

Bronze Donors
Linda Sloan
Marjorie and Eric Hall
The Burtches
Chelsea Grimstad

Donate here

Loaner Ski Chariots

Mat-Su Ski Club loans out single and double ski chariots for towing kids around the trails. Chariots are available for two week checkouts with the option of renewing (if no one is on the waiting list); this season the waiting list usually has someone on it. Chariots are available to everybody, not just members, for FREE! For more info, click here!

Limited edition trail pins

We have a batch of trail pins for just this season. If you already bought one, you can pick it up at Backcountry Bike and Ski, in downtown Palmer. Or at most Mat-Su Ski Club events. Get yours here.
Bye for now!

(old pics here)