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Trails & Grooming News

Volunteer Opportunities in August

Volunteer Opportunities in August

Thursday evening August Trail Work Parties at GPRA!

We will gather on Thursday evenings in August at the ski club shed at GPRA to do trail work, from 6:30 to 8:30. CLICK HERE to sign up. Directions to the work sites will be posted on the shed for late arrivals. Mostly rock tossing, shoveling, raking, brush lopping, tree planting. Bring work gloves, and maybe a shovel or loppers or bow rake.

Fix the PistenBulley Party!

On Saturday and Sunday, August 7th and 8th at Mark Strabel’s house on Waldo Reed off of Edgerton Parks, adjacent to GPRA, from 9AM to 4ish. We would like a team of about 8 people each day – CLICK HERE to sign up to help. We are going to replace six worn-out track belts on our PistenBulley. This entails unbolting a thousand or so little bolts, putting new belts in place, and then replacing those thousand bolts. Only skill needed is the ability to memorize, “righty-tighty, lefty-loosy.” We will be doing this outdoors – the PB garage isn’t big enough to work in. The Club will provide pizza and sodas and tools.

Contact info@matsuski.org if you have questions.

Grooming season recap

Grooming season recap

MAT-SU SKI CLUB’S GROOMING CAMPAIGN of 2020/2021.

The just-eneded Nordic ski trail grooming season was seven and a half months long: 216 days of groomed-trail skiing. Starting two weeks later than last year but ending 5 days later, this season was 10 days shorter than last season,.

Volunteers spent 1394 hours grooming and training, and maintaining machines, during the 2020-21 grooming season. This was our second season with the PistenBully in our grooming fleet, as well as the second season in which we groomed throughout the winter at Independence Mine. We put a total of 5814 miles on our grooming fleet this season.

This was a solid winter with no trail-closing winter warmup at GPRA. A large wet storm cycle at the beginning of April produced historic-scale road-closing avalanches at Hatcher Pass. The Hatcher Pass road was closed for ten days in early April. The avalanches paused Independence Mine grooming and brought Archangel Road grooming to an early end – we did not resume grooming at Archangel after the road opened, as it was deeply buried in debris. Grooming hours increased at the Moose Range and decreased at Independence (by 50%), relative to last year.

Independence Mine:  Oct 19 to May 22.  40 grooming days (50% decrease from last season)

Archangel Road:       Oct 28 to March 19.  37 grooming days (26% decrease from last season)

GPRA:                       Oct 27 to April 21.  84 grooming days (35% increase from last season)

Moose Range:           Nov 22 to Apr 9.  79 grooming days (15% increase from last season)

Nordic ski Grooming ends for season on May 22nd.

Well, it finally happened. Flowers are blooming and people are boating. And the Mat-Su Ski Club closed out the 2020-21 ski season with a final groom of the Independence Mine Nordic trails on May 22nd. Still plenty of snow up at Hatcher Pass, but it is pretty smooshy. See you next season! And hopefully before then, because we have a lot of trail work to do this summer!

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 info@matsuski.org 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.

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Mat-Su Ski Club Calendar

August 3, 2021
  • MSSC Board Meeting
    August 3, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    GPRA

August 5, 2021
  • GPRA trailThursday work evening
    August 5, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    GPRA

    Meet at the ski club shed in GPRA parking lot. Bring gloves, maybe a shovel or loppers or bow rake.

August 7, 2021
  • Fix the PistenBully Party - volunteer!
    August 7, 2021
    Nextdoor to GPRA

    Fix the PistenBulley Party!

    On Saturday and Sunday, August 7th and 8th at Mark Strabel's house adjacent to GPRA. A team of 8 people each day is desired, 9Am to 4pmish. The work will be done outside, as the PB garage is not big enough to work in. We are going to replace worn-out track belts. This entails unbolting a thousand or so little bolts, putting new belts in place, and then replacing those thousand bolts. Only skill needed is the ability to memorize, "righty-tighty, lefty-loosy." The Club will provide pizza and sodas and tools.

August 8, 2021
  • Fix the PistenBulley Party - volunteer!
    August 8, 2021
    Nextdoor to GPRA

    Fix the PistenBulley Party!

    On Saturday and Sunday, August 7th and 8th at Mark Strabel's house adjacent to GPRA. A team of 8 people each day is desired, 9AM to 4pmish. The work will be done outside, as the PB garage is not big enough to work in. We are going to replace worn-out track belts. This entails unbolting a thousand or so little bolts, putting new belts in place, and then replacing those thousand bolts. Only skill needed is the ability to memorize, "righty-tighty, lefty-loosy." The Club will provide pizza and sodas and tools.

August 12, 2021
  • GPRA trailThursday work evening
    August 12, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    GPRA

    Meet at the ski club shed in GPRA parking lot. See post on matsuski.org to sign up. Bring gloves, maybe a shovel or loppers or bow rake.

August 13, 2021
  • Friday Fling in downtown Palmer
    August 13, 2021  11:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Palmer, AK 99645, USA

    The Club will have a tent at Friday Fling in downtown Palmer - stop by, tell us what you think, buy some stylish swag.

August 19, 2021
  • GPRA trailThursday work evening
    August 19, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    GPRA

    Meet at the ski club shed in GPRA parking lot. See post on matsuski.org to sign up. Bring gloves, maybe a shovel or loppers or bow rake.

August 26, 2021
  • GPRA trailThursday work evening
    August 26, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    GPRA

    Meet at the ski club shed in GPRA parking lot. See post on matsuski.org to sign up. Bring gloves, maybe a shovel or loppers or bow rake.

September 1, 2021
  • Time to renew your Club membership!
    September 1, 2021

September 7, 2021
  • MSSC Board Meeting
    September 7, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    GPRA

September 8, 2021
  • Junior Nordics registration begins for returning kids
    September 8, 2021

September 15, 2021
  • Junior Nordics registration opens for all
    September 15, 2021