Mat-Su Ski Club News
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.
Planning for the 2021 Junior Nordics program is underway!
Registration for Junior Nordics opens up September 15th.
Participants can choose from three options:
- Monday & Wednesday afternoons 1:00-2:00 (75 participants)
- Monday & Wednesday evenings from 5:30-6:30 (150 participants)
- Tuesday & Thursday evenings from 5:30-6:30 (150 participants)
Space in each session is limited, and registration is first-come, first-served.
Mat-Su Ski Club relies on dedicated volunteers and is looking for individuals who would like to volunteer to coach our Junior Nordics groups. Coaches must be able to commit to any of the above three sessions January 4th through March 6th 2021. If interested, please email .
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.)
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.
Welcome to Allison Fry, the newly-hired Administrator for the Mat-Su Ski Club. She is a club member and Junior Nordic mom. It is hard to imagine the Club functioning without a capable administrator, so we are very glad to have her on board.
Our thanks to our previous administrator, Tammy Hill, for her excellent work, and for staying on to help for several extra months.
The Mat-Su Ski Club has an ongoing, long-term, effort to establish a biathlon range at GPRA. Recently, working in conjunction with a professional engineer (volunteer) we decided to focus those efforts on one location – inside the Sprint Loop. Any construction on the ground is still far away, a huge amount of public consideration, as well as fundraising, has to come first. And while we have decided to focus on this site, it is still too early in the process to be sure that it will be the site, if there is to be a biathlon range at GPRA.
In the first phase of construction, this plan will entail clear-cutting the entire interior of the Sprint Loop, other than the northeastern corner. A great deal of dirt work would be done to build the 3-sided berm, appropriately level the range, and fill up to grade the eastern edge of the range and penalty loop footprint. That first phase would see 10 shooting stations built (the light blue boxes in the photomap) A second phase of construction would add 10 more shooting stations, within the same berm. A final. third, phase would see expansion to 30 shooting stations, the minimum needed to host events such as the Arctic Winter Games. The third phase would require moving the western berm and displacing the existing ski trails, as shown in dark blue on the photomap.
The forested nature of the Sprint (Matanuska) ski loop surrounding the proposed range will be replaced, on one side of the trail, with a more parking lot-like viewscape.
The Mat-Su Ski Club is hiring an Administrative Assistant. We are looking for an outgoing person involved in outdoor activities, preferably Nordic skiing! The position requires driving one’s own car, the ability to obtain TAPS licenses for events, and familiarity with social media and everyday computer tasks.
Duties include attending Board meetings and helping to organize Club events such as Board meetings, annual meetings and socials, and the Ski for Women. Junior Nordic responsibilities account for roughly half of the work. The AA serves as an informal liaison between the Board and the Junior Nordics Steering Committee and JN volunteers, helps with organizing JN, helps conduct the pre and post season JN events, and is the primary person tracking the Junior Nordics registration process and equipment rentals. Tracking, applying for, and renewing various licenses and permits is part of the job, as is ensuring that these and other Club documents are properly saved. The position requires businesslike response to emails and other communications from the public, the Board, or other agents of the Club, and the ability to use the Club’s website to send emails or post news at the request of Board members, and to track various registrations and transactions on the website. The AA deals with the Club’s postal mail, email, and telephone messages, answering directly or coordinating with the appropriate Board member or Club volunteer to ensure timely communications. The AA may be asked to solicit or pick up donations from local business’s, or other light logistics. Social media and Club website posting, and composing emails tracking or promoting events, are also among the responsibility’s of the AA.
This is a position as a part time hourly employee, typically 20 to 70 hours a month during the ski season and less in the summer months. You will be required to attend some scheduled events, and to be generally available by email or other methods and to be responsive in a businesslike manner; but much of the work hours tend to be scheduled as fits the AA’s schedule.
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)
Work has started on completing the Flattop Loop, so that it will be a true loop, as originally planned. You can help. May is a great season for clearing the devilsclub, alders, and all the rest – before the new growth obscures everything. Bring a lopper to cut the remaining devils club, roses, and other little bushes. or just a pair of devils club-proof gloves and toss the already cut pieces off the trail.
You can help with your own virtual work party. Starting from the bottom of Eska, walk out the Flattop and look for the very obvious lines of pink flagging and the survey stakes with arrows and instructions on them for the three in-progress trail segments: O oscar, B bravo, and D delta. Here is a map of the work areas.
A pair of devilsclub-proof gloves is all you need – there are lots of already cut stalks to toss off the trail alignment. Bring a lopper too if you want, there are always more stalks yet to be cut.
Contact us if you want to help, or just head out on your own. It is a nice walk this time of year and even if you do only a tiny bit of work, it will help.
Ski Return Sign Up (Click “read more” for link) Junior Nordics ski returns will be held on Friday, May 15th from 6-8pm and Saturday, May 16th from 9-11am. The signup is intended to allow 10 families every 15 minutes. Please signup and stick to your scheduled time!
We will have cones set up to help guide you while also maintaining social distancing. Please help us by keeping kids in your vehicles and only having 1 family member at a time returning skis, poles and boots.
Please clean your skis and remove all tape/name tags from the skis and poles. If you rented boots from Backcountry Bike & Ski, please bring them with you. We will not have a ski cleaning station this year. If skis are not cleaned, you will be charged $10/per set of skis if we have to clean them. Thanks for your help!!