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Trails & Grooming News

May 2, 2021 Ski Conditions Update

We are now grooming only at Independence Mine, where we plan to have fresh grooming on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and maybe Sunday mornings too. 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. The melt-freeze crust is approximately strong enough to support a moose on a pogo stick.

Government Peak Recreation Area was last groomed on April 21st (with the PistenBully) and skiing was just fantastic for 3 or 4 days after that.  After that conditions decayed with the rapid onset of spring. Still, non-ridiculous good skiing, 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 long road closure. That ended our Archangel grooming season for the year, as it turned out. But in early May, the Archangel Road is still deeply snow covered, and folks are still skiing there.

The crew of volunteer groomers have since October 19th 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.

GPRA trails in breakup mode

GPRA trails in breakup mode

The Mat-Su Borough is asking trail users to stay off and not damage the GPRA Nordic ski and bike trails during breakup. Trails are now partially snow-covered, partially wet grass, partially sink-in soft, with frost blossoms. Please don’t use the Nordic ski or bike trails right now if it leaves ruts or footholes.

Spring Skiing update

Spring Skiing update

The PistenBulley has decamped GPRA for the loftier trails at Independence Mine.

The PB left behind beautifully groomed 100% snow covered trails at Government Peak. The Club will continue to groom GPRA (with the XMRs) for however many days (weeks?) are left. Skiing is still great there, depending on time of day.

Independence Mine trails got packed in today with the PB; they should be perfect by Saturday, our official grand Independence reopening after the weeks-long Hatcher Pass road closure following storms and avalanches. Our groomers packed the trails today and will groom tomorrow. We expect to be grooming at Independence until sometime in mid-May. Also – crust skiing is happening and is prime.

Moose Range trail grooming ended over a week ago; there’s still a tiny bit of skiing opportunity left in the Range.

Archangel Road is on its own – we pulled out our equipment after the highway reopened. Didn’t make sense to try to reestablish the grooming over the huge avalanche heaps. The crust skiing window is open, so some fun ski fun can still be had there, as well as cool avy debris tourism.

Don’t be fooled by the dismal dust and debris in the valley. Skiing conditions are fantastic!

New Picnic Tables for GPRA

Is there a place at GPRA you would like a picnic table? We have a few new picnic tables that we want to place on the trails somewhere, while we still have snow to drag them around on. If you have a favorite place, or any place you think deserves a picnic table, you can let us know at and we will consider it.

FIS homologated Nordic race courses at GPRA

FIS homologated Nordic race courses at GPRA

Thanks to the efforts of John Estle of the Fairbanks Nordic Ski Club and of Mat-Su Ski Club volunteers, there are now three internationally recognized Nordic race courses at GPRA. They are a 1.3-km sprint course, and 5-km and 7.5-km courses. GPRA is now one of 33 locations in the USA with homologated Nordic ski trails. Thanks John!

See the details here:

Sprint course – 1.3-km

Hatch-Eska – 5-km course

Mitten – 7.5-km course

A Faster Skier article about homologation.

 

Saturday Oct 10, 10am – 2pm GPRA work party

Its that time of year again! Volunteers needed to stroll the trails at GPRA getting them ready for winter.

On Saturday, October 10th; from 10am to 2pm we will have a work party at GPRA. Meet in the GPRA parking lot at 10am.

Mostly the Sisyphean job of tossing rocks of off the Denali trail. There will also be an opportunity to do a little shovel, rake, and bucket work where we reset a culvert. Grass seed will be spread locally.. We need to fix a few moose-vandalized U-board hangers with some dowels and glue. Finally, a posthole digger patrol will walk the Flattop, standing back up signs dragged out of their postholes by a mysterious force.

Geo-aware Maps

Geo-aware Maps

Mat-Su Ski Club maps of Gov’t Peak, and the Moose Range are available for free as geo-aware pdf’s.  This means you can load them into an app like Avenza or Gaia* on your phone and use them like the GPS in your car, to see where you are on the trail (or off the trail).

Find the geopdf maps for Gov’t Peak and the Moose Range under  Ski Info – Trail Maps on the menu.

Links to other Nordic Ski trail maps from across southern Alaska are in the same place.

*(It is easy and free to use Avenza with geoPDF’s, however, Gaia makes it tricky and not free to load geopdf’s from the wild.)

Flattop Loop completed and ready for winter!

We finished building the rest of the Flattop Loop at GPRA this summer. It is now a proper loop, instead of being two-way traffic for half the way. The Flattop, accessed off of the Susitna Loop or Eska Loop, is an old-school, unlighted, narrow, twisting trail through the woods, for the folks who like that sort of thing.

MAT-SU SKI CLUB’S GROOMING 2019/2020.

This ski trail grooming season was seven and a half months long! Matching our longest previous season: 226 days of skiing.

Volunteers spent 1322 hours grooming and training, and maintaining machines, during the 2019-20 grooming season. This is a 50% increase over recent previous seasons.

Volunteers drove the grooming fleet a total of 5400 miles this season – the equivalent of a roadtrip from Deadhorse to Seattle and back to Deadhorse!

This was our first season with the PistenBully in our grooming fleet, as well as the first season in which we groomed throughout the winter at Independence Mine.

This was a solid winter with no trail-closing winter warmup at GPRA. There were a few multi-day show-stopping snow-dumping storms that put grooming at all locations on hold, and required major efforts to recover the trails afterward.

Independence Mine: Oct 5 TO May 17 (~1000 miles of grooming machine travel on 79 grooming days during 226 calendar days)

Archangel Road: Nov 18 to May 8 (718 miles of grooming machine travel  on 50 grooming days during 172 calendar days)

GPRA: Dec 2 to April 11 (~2900 miles of grooming machine travel on 55 grooming days during 140 calendar days)

Moose Range: Dec 2 to Apr 12 (over 800 miles of grooming machine travel on 50 grooming days during 141 calendar days)

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Mat-Su Ski Club Calendar

June 5, 2021
  • Gov't Peak Mountain Race
    June 5, 2021

June 8, 2021
  • MSSC Board Meeting
    June 8, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    TBD

July 6, 2021
  • MSSC Board Meeting
    July 6, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    GPRA