GPRA Project Roadmap
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The Mat-Su Ski Club drives the development of Nordic trails and facilities at the Government Peak Recreation Area.
Other groups are building other sorts of trails at GPRA, and the Borough has its own infrastructure plans.
Here we present only the Mat-Su Ski Club’s plans for GPRA.
- 2012: The Mat-Su Borough built the Pioneer, Matanuska, and Susitna loops at GPRA, totaling 6 km; the Mat-Su Ski Club assumed grooming and maintenance responsibilities.
- 2016: Mat-Su Ski Club led the “Light the Loop” campaign that brought trail lighting to those loops.
- 2017 and 2018: The Club’s “Expand the Peak” project constructed the 5 km of Denali Loop trails to high-level competition standards with volunteer labor and club fundraising.
- 2018-2020: The Club built the Flattop and Flattop Access rustic-but-groomed Nordic trails, adding 3 km.
- 2019: The Matanuska Loop was modified to FIS standards.
- 2020: Homologation under FIS International Nordic race standards was granted to several Nordic race courses using the Denali and Matanuska Loops.
Current Projects 2023:
- Stadium Improvement, Phase I. This almost-completed project (as of mid-October) cleared the two tree islands in the stadium and expanded the edges of the stadium while raising and leveling the bowl-shaped stadium surface using material excavated from the site of the new parking lot built by the Mat-Su Borough. Several light poles were moved as part of this effort; re-energizing them will complete the project.
- Rescue snowmobile and sled garage/race timing station at the stadium. This ongoing project will (finally!) provide a professional-grade race timing facility at GPRA along with some much needed equipment storage space, previously provided by inconvenient and ever-tattering tents. The rescue-sled snowmobile parking facility lower half of this project is already in place and we are waiting on engineering permissions to start building the timing station on top.
These results are possible only because of the generosity of our donors, sponsors, and volunteers.
5-yr Planned Projects:
- Pioneer Loop Extension: 3-7 kilometers of new multi-use non-motorized Nordic ski trail extending eastward from the Pioneer Loop. This project is estimated to cost $75k. See a map here.
- Nordic trail connecting the new parking lot directly to the Pioneer Loop: Skiers parking in the new lot have to walk about 250 yards up a steep footpath to access the trails. This project builds about a kilometer of new multi-use non-motorized Nordic ski trail that connects the new lot directly to the Pioneer Loop and the rest of the trail system. This will eliminate an arduous hike from the lot to the trails, and provide a dispersed trail access point when big events are overwhelming the main parking lot. Roughly estimated at $30k, the cost is heavily dependent on the design of the single creek crossing. See a map here.
- Equipment Garage: The Club now has an extensive fleet of machinery for grooming and maintaining the trails at GPRA (including 5 tracked machines, 2 snowmobiles, 4 drags, and 1 tractor mower), all of it stored outdoors at volunteers houses. This project will build a secure and logistically wonderful building at GPRA to house our grooming equipment. Estimated to cost $750k to $2 million.
- Stadium Improvement Phase II: Flatten the area north of the Chalet parking lot, expanding into the hillside a bit. This will provide additional flattish area for beginners, and more congregation space. Importantly, this project will flatten and make easier the beginning (and ending) of the Pioneer Loop, making it a better trail for beginners or less able skiers. The excavated material will be used to finish raising and leveling the core stadium area. $50k.
- Alaska Long Trail: This is not a Mat-Su Ski Club project but it bears noting. A non-motorized multi-use segment of the Alaska Long Trail is planned to connect GPRA to Skeetawk. https://www.alaska-trails.org/alaska-long-trail
Longer term Projects:
- Skijor Trails: Winter groomable rustic trails in southeast corner of GPRA. No estimate, but this is envisioned as a low-budget project similar to the Flattop Loop.
- Susitna Loop Expansion to the west: Several kilometers of new trail expanding the Susitna Loop westward. $100k.
- Trail Lighting Extension: Possible extension of trail lighting in accord with dark sky principles. $500k or more.
- Snowmaking: This may become useful or necessary in the future. Expected to cost $2 Million to $10 Million.
- Biathlon Range: This project would depend on the wishes of our ski community. Expected to cost $500k to $2 Million.