Mat-Su Ski Club News
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 email@example.com if you have questions.
Welcome to Marla Jakab, the newly-hired Administrator for the Mat-Su Ski Club. She is an ex Junior Nordics mom and an avid skier. 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 Allison Fry, our previous administrator, for her excellent work. We are lucky that she is helping Marla get up to speed; and will be staying in the club community as a key organizer of the Junior Nordics program.
Please respect the trail closures and the crew clearing hazard trees. If a sign says trail closed, please use another trail. Theirs lots of them! It looks like the trail closures are for 8am to 6pm Monday thru Friday.
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)
.Government Peak Climb is a fundraiser for the Colony High School XC Ski Team with support from the Mat-Su Ski Club.
It is a part of the Alaska Mountain Runners Grand Prix series.
Contact Strabel Racing Services for more info or to volunteer.
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!
This Thursday and Friday – Junior Nordics ski, pole, and boot return – May 6th and 7th from 6pm to 7:30pm, in the GPRA parking lot.
You must sign up for a time slot (we are still trying to avoid crowds). *Please note: families only need to sign up for ONE time slot, regardless of the number of skis being returned.*
- Skis must be clean: Please remove as much wax as you can using a scraper, then use a ski wax solvent to remove the remainder of the wax from the bottom, sides, and top of your skis. Skis with wax still on them will be cleaned by a high school ski team member and you will be charged $10. All proceeds will benefit the ski team.
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.
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.
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!