April 22, 2023
Level: Easy III
Distance: 6 – 8 miles
Elevation Gain: Rolling terrain
Tour Leader: Zachary Liller, 907-717-3419; firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet up location: TBD
Meet up time: 7:00 AM
There is nothing quite like gliding efficiently through backcountry terrain on skinny little skate skis. In most years, early spring in Alaska offers a “unicorn” ski experience for those willing to get up early and search for “CRUST”. For the unfamiliar, crust is a perfect layer of supportable snow/ice that forms at the surface during the spring freeze and thaw cycle. Crust can provide skate skiers access to some truly amazing backcountry settings, ranging from broad flat valley bottoms, rolling tree spotted meadows, and steep mountain ridgelines.
This tour will seek out low angle backcountry crust in a location like Turnagain Pass, Hatcher Pass, or the Chugach front range. The location will be determined on Wednesday April 19 based on crust reports and weather forecasts. Skate ski techniques are highly recommended for the conditions and to help maintain similar ski speeds within the group. Fat-tire bikes may be a suitable alternative to skate skis. Crust skiers need to prepare for being a “hot sweaty mess” while actively skiing and also staying warm during the numerous “I gotta catch my breath snack and photo” breaks. Be sure to dress in layers, bring plenty of water and snacks, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
Registration will open Saturday, April 8th at 10am. All day tours are $25/person.
SPECIAL NOTICE: Crust skiing requires very specific snow conditions that are typically found during the morning hours and best suited for skate skiers. This tour will likely end before noon.
All NSAA tours are accompanied by the Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol. If needed, they provide first aid and safety for tour participants. We thank them for their valuable help.