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Trails & Grooming News

Volunteer Opportunities in August

Thursday evening August Trail Work Parties at GPRA!*

We will gather on some 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.

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

November 2, 2021
  • Board Meeting
    November 2, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

November 13, 2021
  • Race to the Outhouse #1
    November 13, 2021

November 20, 2021
  • Moonlight Ski Independence Mine
    November 20, 2021

November 26, 2021
  • Ski 101 on-snow session
    November 26, 2021

  • Turkey Trax
    November 26, 2021

December 7, 2021
  • Board Meeting
    December 7, 2021  6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    GPRA Chalet

December 12, 2021
  • Northern Lights Race Series #0.5
    December 12, 2021