Skiers take advantage of the first groom of the season at Independence Mine, on November 6th.

Mark your Calendar!

SKI 101
November 14th, 6:30pm
New to Nordic skiing? New to outdoor winter recreation? Learn about cross-country ski gear, layering your clothing, and the Mat-Su Ski Club's Adult Nordic ski lessons at this free, in-store clinic. Held at Backcountry Bike and Ski in Palmer. All are welcome! No gear is needed.
Race To The Outhouse (RTTO)
November 25th, 10AM Venue TBD.
Note the change of date!
Jumpstart your Nordic race season!
3.5k Classic or Freestyle.
Adult Ski Lesson Registration
Registration opens Dec 1st for Nordic ski classes in January and February 2024. We offer beginner classic and skate lessons for adults 18 and over. This member-only benefit program offers lessons and clinics to improve Nordic skiing skills.
SKI 101 On Snow
December 7th, 6:30 pm at GPRA
A follow-up to SKI 101 in-store at Backcountry Bike and Ski on Nov 14th. This free clinic offers a demonstration on how to put your skis on snow for the first time and make those first glides, with tips on how to fall and balance properly. Remember to bring a headlamp and meet at the ski club shed in the northwest corner of the parking lot. Reply to this email if you have any questions.
Ski Swap
November 18th at the Palmer Depot
Skeetawk is hosting their annual ski swap in downtown Palmer. All types of skis are wanted for this swap. Ski drop off: Friday Nov. 17th from 5-8pm and Saturday Nov. 18th from 8-10amSki swap: Saturday Nov. 18th 10:30- 4pm. Unsold Gear pick up: Saturday Nov. 18th 4-7pm Click here for more info.
Holiday Tree Tour
December 22nd 4-7pm
Tour the illuminated holiday trees on Pioneer Loop at GPRA on skis, foot, bicycle, or kick sled. Come out for this free event and enjoy the magic of the season!

Ready, Set, RTTO!

The annual community ski race that kicks off our Nordic race season is back! Join us on November 25th for a day of fun, skiing, and community spirit at the Race to the Outhouse. Whether you're a pro or a beginner, this free event is for everyone, so don't miss out on the action! Burn off that Thanksgiving feast and test your skills on the trails. And who knows, you might even make some new ski buddies along the way! The race venue is still a mystery, but don't worry, we'll keep you in the loop through our website and social media channels. So, get ready to hit the trails, and let's make this year's community ski race one for the books!
Skiers with fierce determination ready to start the 2022 RTTO

Season Launch and Autumn Gathering

What a whirlwind! Our Chalet event set a new attendance record—potluck feasts, pizza, and smiles galore! Connecting with old pals and making new ones was a blast. Shoutout to Ben Arians, our local Start wax rep, for the awesome kick wax demo. Arms full of swag and raffle prizes from Alaska Railroad, Salomon, Backcountry Bike and Ski, and local artisan ski racks added to the excitement. All were enthralled by reports on the Club's treasury and activities. Want the deets? Click below for the full annual report. And the burning question—Who's the lucky winner of our epic membership drive prizes? Keep reading to find out! 👇🎉

Brand New PistenBully100

Prepare to be amazed by the generosity of the Mat-Su Health Foundation and the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation. These two organizations have provided the much needed funding for us to pay for our new PB 100 without taking out a loan.

We ordered the PB almost a year ago in anticipation of supporting the 2024 Mat-Su Arctic Winter Games. Having an additional, and new, PB in our grooming fleet ensures our ability to provide world class grooming for Arctic Winter Games Nordic events, mother nature willing. Having a second PB will also allow us to offer world class grooming at GPRA, Independence Mine and Archangel Road simultaeneously all winter long.

PistenBullys can deal with heavy snowfalls, and combat freeze and thaw cycles by chewing up ice, and plow away hard packed drifts from wind storms; in a way that our snow machines and tracked ATV's pulling drags can't.

Trail Work Day Recap

On October 8th, we were pleasantly surprised as 53 enthusiastic volunteers defied the muckiness, rolled up their sleeves, and tackled tasks that would make superheroes proud! From rock removal to digging post holes, hanging fencing, and even crafting some wooden fencing, these incredible individuals transformed daunting chores into feats of glory. Kudos to this amazing crew for their participation! Picture this: a lively bunch, including spirited youngsters from Alaska Nordic Racing, uniting to construct permanent fences in the revamped stadium by mastering the art of post-hole digging. Meanwhile, a squad of seasoned volunteers carried buckets of dirt to finesse the Denali Loop. Portable fences were resurrected, bothersome rocks were evicted from the Terrain Park and Pioneer Loop, trailside brush got a makeover, and, of course, we all savored hotdogs! A hearty thank you to everyone who made this day an adventure worth remembering!
Thanks to these enthusiastic kids from Alaska Nordic Racing (ANR) and other hard working friends!
Muck-covered heroes, turning muddy tasks into triumphs!

Dryland Training Success

On eight evenings in October, a small group of Nordic fans attended a new clinic held outside at GPRA that focused on preparation for the upcoming ski season. The exercises included drills that were designed to gradually increase in intensity throughout the month, with a focus on improving balance, core strength, and overall fitness. It was not only a great way to get some fresh air but also to work together with other friends towards a common goal. Overall, it was a fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved. Check out the pics below that boasted some beautiful evenings and bonus sunsets. Thanks so much to coach Daryl Farrens and Lorene Lynn for whipping us into pre-"ski"son shape!

Stadium Work

The GPRA stadium expansion and flattening project faced setbacks due to the wet summer. However, the project was completed gracefully during the crisp and dry weeks in October. The new parking lot excavation did not yield as much fill as expected, and as a result, the stadium is not as flat as originally planned. Nonetheless, the area is significantly larger and flatter, we have installed a new snowmobile parking/storage structure (a conex), and relocated several light poles. We have a timing pod under construction which a crane will plunk on top of the snowmobile garage when it is ready.

The storage and timing building project is made possible by grants from the Mat-Su Borough and the Rasmusson Foundation.

Your Voice Matters

Public comments are currently being sought regarding the Public Review Draft of the Matanuska Valley Moose Range and Jonesville Public Use Area Management Plan.
Comments accepted through November 9th.

Our Plans for the Future

Government Peak Recreation Area (GPRA) is a Borough-owned and managed facility being developed in partnership with multiple community organizations. The Mat-Su Ski Club has responsibility for maintaining and building the Nordic trails and facilities at GPRA. The Club has recently updated our infrastructure development roadmap for GPRA. Check that out at

We also have a Strategic Plan concerning the whole range of our activities. You can download the pdf here.

These are both just plans so they are subject to change. Come to our meetings or think about joining the board if you have a vision you want to share.


Do you know that there are a selection of webcams useful for checking the conditions at Hatcher Pass and GPRA? The GPRA Stadium-cam can be seen on the homepage of Also right there are links to; an Alaska DOT camera near the Archangel trailhead, a camera at the Gold Cord above the Independence Mine buildings, and the cameras at the Independence A-frames and on top of Marmot Mt maintained by HPAC.

Volunteer Spotlight

with the Buchanan Family
A family that loves the outdoors, spending time together, and volunteering. We recently had the chance to talk with Rebecca Buchanan, and here's what she shared....
When did you become involved with the Mat-Su Ski Club? Our family was present at the beginning of the Junior Nordics program at Shaw Elementary. Rhett volunteered as a coach for the kids. Due to the program's rapid growth, a committee was required, and that's where I volunteered to help in developing the program, in addition to coaching.

What positive changes have you seen? Over the years, I have watched it grow from 30 kids to over 350, and I have seen all the changes and improvements that came with that growth. It has been amazing to witness the expansion of the Nordic ski culture in the valley and the many families that came out to build this program, including kids and adults of all abilities.

Any thoughts on the future of the club? I hope that we can continue to organize activities that bring our community together. We have a long winter season, it is nice to have activities and opportunities that encourage people to spend more time outdoors.

On a personal note: Rhett and I got involved in Junior Nordics because we wanted
to give our children the opportunity to participate. As our kids are starting to age out of the program as participants, we love seeing them want to come back to volunteer as Junior Nordics coaches themselves, passing on their knowledge to the next generation. They are starting to understand the importance of volunteering and how that can positively affect their community.

Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your memories with our readers. We are grateful for your family's contributions!
Thank you for supporting us with your Membership this year and every year! Membership with the Mat-Su Ski Club supports our grooming, programs, and operations and unlocks member-only program and event access.
We can't do it without you!
Congratulations to the winners of our October Membership drive!
Sarah Rutledge won a ride in the brand new PistenBully
Kirsten Noble won the $100 gift card to Backcountry Bike and Ski
Miranda Poynter won the ski starter gift basket donated by our friends and sponsors from Backcountry Bike and Ski

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Promoting Nordic Skiing Opportunities