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Icicle Double!

Icicle Double!

ID 2021 flyer

12th Annual #1 Race to the Outhouse

The early season snow at Independence Mine gave skiers plenty of training opportunities to get ready for this year’s season-opening race. We expected to hold the #1 Race to the Outhouse on the challenging Independence Mine 3.5 K course, with both classic and skating divisions. Elite level skiers, young pups, old masters, and recreational skiers fleeing COVID confinement, were putting in time skiing up the road and through the mine buildings. The racers and the Mat-Su Ski Club volunteers were looking forward to a great race and training opportunity.

Then, two days before the race, the snow came down, and down, and down some more. Early during the storm DOT said they only might be able to plow the Hatcher road late Friday night, and not the parking lot till later in the weekend. Ski club members scrambled to come up with an alternative to Independence for holding the RTTO. GPRA was the obvious choice BUT…. Could the 14 inches of snow be packed and groomed with the snowmachines and tracked ATV’s in time for the race? Would the Mat-Su Borough grant the GPRA-event permit on 24 hour notice instead of the required 14 day notice? Would the access road and GPRA parking lot be plowed in time? Fortunately, everything worked out and the race was moved.

On race day, as the clock was ticking towards start, several coaches expressed interest in having their elite athletes doing not just one, but two laps of the FIS certified 5K course at GPRA. In a matter of seconds, the race directors long term memory dredged up the immortal words of Mister Cub, Ernie Banks “Let’s play Two”. Our response. Why not. We can let them go two. Now we had both a 5 k and a 10 K in both Classic and skating. Anything to make the skiers happy.

Already the timing crew had their hands full with data entry for 107 race-day registrants; and the timing challenge now compounded by the software set up for only 5 K results, and also some RTTO-copacetic athlete bib-shifting action. No problem, although some 5K racers were initially listed as finishing in front of elite and master level skiers that raced the 10 K, it all got sorted out. The intent is always to give the skiers a good racing and skiing opportunity - a good workout under race conditions.

Spectators got to watch an exciting race and finish between World Junior Champions Gus Schumacher and Hunter Wonders along with David Norris as the three finished within a total of three seconds. All 107 skiers definitely got their money’s worth. Oh wait, there was no entry fee.
Race to the Outhouse page.
Photos credit: Eric Strabel

2nd Annual Turkey Trax a success!

The second annual Turkey Trax Race grew a little, with about 70 people racing and participating. Palmer High skiers, parents, and coaches all volunteered to put on a friendly and festive event for the community; consisting of a 4km Fast Wave and a 1km/4km Party Wave. The top 3 male and female Fast Wave racers won Bingles donated by Janel Gagnon. The top 3 females were Katey Houser, Aila Berrigan, and Elliot Sensabaugh. The top 3 males were Mike Ophoff, Luke Platil, and Jayden Rice. The Party Wave proved to be the more popular wave, however, with a special visit from Santa, who cheerfully handed out candy canes to all the skiers.
Turkey Trax bib

Free Chariots

The Mat-Su Ski Club has four Chariots (2 singles and 2 doubles) available to loan to parents with kids too young to ski. There is no fee, the loan is free.

Colony Chaos high school races at GPRA

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with the December 10 and 11 Nordic events at Government Peak Recreation Area!


Support your ski club by renewing your membership!
Membership fees support our programs, events, grooming, trail building, and equipment purchases. Ski trails don't fall from heaven!

Pioneer Loop Holiday Lights Evening

Volunteers transplanted, and carried water to, a dispersed herd of Spruce trees along the Pioneer Loop last summer. Join us in making the trees feel at home in their new locations by covering them with decorations, and singing in their general direction early in the evening on December 24th from 4pm to 7pm.

Anyone can sponsor and decorate a tree, maybe your community group or business. Here's what to do: If you are out on the Pioneer Loop, Pick the Tree by selecting one with a number on a survey stake. Reserve the Tree by emailing us. Decorate the tree and call Ed @354-7524 if you need lights, then Recruit Friends to greet trail users or sing Carols on December 24th.
(Sponsorship is requested at a donation of $100)

Email info@matsuski.org to sponsor a tree or if you have questions.
Tree tour 2021

Call for Guides for Visually Impaired Skiers

Challenge Alaska has reached out to us to help get some visually impaired Mat-Su Valley friends outside on our Cross Country ski trails. You don't need any experience with coaching or guiding, just a willingness to help someone feel the tracks under their feet as they learn classic skiing on flat terrain by using communication and constant dialogue as a guide. Training will be provided in the valley by Challenge Alaska on December 18th at 1:30pm. Click here to learn about the adaptive training they offer and their mission. Please email jeff@challengealaska.org with your questions about this program. If you would like to join us for the training we want to hear from you at info@matsuski.org.

Ski 101

Want to ski but not sure how to start? Ski 101 is back!

Please join us for a classroom session on the basics of cross country skiing
on January 7th, at 6:30pm at Backcountry Bike & Ski in Palmer. We'll cover gear, styles, trail options, and more! This event is free and open to anyone looking to learn more about the sport that all of us winter lovers cherish. We will schedule an on-snow session following the January classroom session.
We'd like to thank Backcountry Bike & Ski for being our partners in this event.

There is a waitlist on the Adult XC Ski Lesson page to sign up for Ski 101 (click the "Ski 101 first time skiers read this" tab to find it).

XC 101 (1)

Adult Ski Lessons

The Mat-Su Ski Club is offering adult ski lessons from January 4 – March 6, 2022.
Weekdays and weekend classes in Classic diagonal stride or skate skiing techniques are available for $15 per session.

Online registration is open click here

The classes are mainly oriented toward novice and beginner skiers, there are some scheduled intermediate skate technique classes also. Click here to see class times and descriptions.

We’re limiting class size to three students for COVID safety and to ensure students get lots of individual attention from the coaches. Be sure to register early to make sure you get a spot. We’ve got a great group of experienced coaches ready to help you have fun on skis!

If you don't have skis but would like to take classes please contact us at info@matsuski.org. We do have a (limited) selection of skis, boots, and poles available for use by students.

Junior Nordics News and Info

It's almost time for Junior Nordics to begin!
Hey Junior Nordic parents: Backcountry Bike and ski has bunch of junior nordic wax kits and corks available which would make some great holiday gifts for your skiers!

Support throughout the 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.

Remember Your 2022 Parking Passes

The Mat-Su Borough is now enforcing the parking rules at GPRA and other Borough park sites. If you do not display a current Borough parking sticker or a day pass - you will get a $40 ticket. If you receive one of these tickets the fine can be used towards the purchase of a trail permit through December 31, 2021. To receive the annual 2022 trail pass, bring the ticket to the Community Development Office located at 350 East Dahlia Ave. The violator has 5 days from the date of the ticket to visit the Community Development Office, pay the $40 and receive their annual pass. The Borough is checking the parking lot several times every day. The parking fees go into a Borough fund for recreational facilities. Click here to buy a day use or yearly parking pass online. Save $10 when you buy two. 2022 parking passes are available now.
Parking at Independence Mine and at the Archangel Road trailheads also require an State of Alaska annual or daily parking pass. Click here to purchase. 2022 State passes are only available for purchase online so plan accordingly.
parking violation

Moonlight Ski

Keep an eye on the MSSC calendar located on the home page at matsuski.org for the upcoming January Moonlight Ski tour. An illuminating way to enjoy the beautiful trails.

Seeking Trail Groomers

Are you interested in joining our fine group of volunteer Ski Trail Groomers? We could use your help if you have some evenings free. We will train you! Grooming is usually done late in the evening. We use the Centaur and PistenBulley at Independence. Archangel Road is groomed with snowmachines, as is the Moose Range. At GPRA we groom with either tracked ATV's or the PistenBulley, depending on snow cover and time of season. Contact us for more info.

Donor Appreciation

Your donations are a major part in supporting everything the Mat Su Ski Club is able to do from grooming trails to teaching kids to ski and everything in between. Please know we are having supply chain issues and will get your donation benefit gifts out to you as soon as we can. We truly appreciate each and every one of you and wish you Happy and snowy Holidays!
Thank you to our generous donors