Mother Nature has fueled a summer of heavy foliage growth alongside many of our favorite trails. This fall we are looking for NSAA members to join in a series of volunteer trail work parties to help us clear back all that brush!
The next trail work party will be this Wednesday, September 21, 2022 from 6:00 PM-8:00 PM. Meet at the Hilltop gasline trail parking lot. Volunteers do not need to bring any power tools or chain saws but are encouraged to bring their own loppers, hand saws or battery powered sawzall.
More trail work party dates are as follows:
Sunday, September 25th, 9-12am, planning on meeting at the Service Little Gym
Wednesday October 5th 6-8pm – location TBD
Wednesday October 19th 6-8pm – location TBD
Sunday October 9th 9a-12p – location TBD
Sunday September 25th 9a-12pm – location TBD
Sunday October 23rd 9a – 12pm – location TBD
https://anchoragenordicski.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/thletes-at-work-6-05-300x225.jpg225300Heather Liller/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/nordic-skiing-association-anchorage.jpgHeather Liller2022-09-19 14:25:312022-09-30 07:51:372022-23 Trail Work Parties
As of Thursday, April 28, Craig at Kincaid Park took the last spin of the season in the Pisten Bully on the Snow Making Loop. Many skiers took advantage of the spring skiing up until the very last groom. On the Hillside Jack worked the trails until April 24. While this was a late season for grooming, historically we’ve groomed later. With a record year for snowfall for the winter of 2012/2013, our last groom was on May 1. What a winter! The Operations crew wish you all a super summer and we’ll see you out there!
/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/nordic-skiing-association-anchorage.jpg00Kikkan Randall/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/nordic-skiing-association-anchorage.jpgKikkan Randall2021-11-25 07:30:072021-11-25 07:30:07Another Season Has Melted Away.
The snow is coming down and we can officially say that Winter Is Here! Please swap your running shoes and hiking boots for those ski boots and skis, save the biking for the Multi-Use and Single Track trails and please refrain from bringing your best four legged furry friends to any of the ski trails (except for Multi-Use). We work hard to maintain the trails for skiing only and really appreciate everyone’s cooperation.
With this first snow our goal is to create a good solid base. Some may think the groomers should get on the trails as soon as possible, however the opposite is the reality. The best way to establish a nice foundation is for YOU to get out there and ski it down first. This particular snow happens to be “poufy” and if the groomers get on it too soon, the skags on the snow machines may drag up dirt. So, a light touch (you, the skier) is the best form of action at this early stage. We encourage you to head out to the trails and enjoy this winter’s first “real” snowfall and experience the peace and tranquility first hand, while it lasts. Probably should use the rock skis though.
Also, our awesome snowmaking crew fired up the system this week and will continue to make snow on the Snow Making Loop (SML) as long as the conditions are favorable. So please ski with caution in that area (or just avoid it completely) and be aware of hoses, cords and grooming equipment on those trails. Happy Winter!!
/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/nordic-skiing-association-anchorage.jpg00Kikkan Randall/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/nordic-skiing-association-anchorage.jpgKikkan Randall2021-11-11 08:44:482021-11-11 08:44:48First Real Snow!
NSAA’s longtime Board President and lifelong skier named Al Merrill Nordic Award winner,
recognizing exceptional commitment to Nordic skiing
Earlier this summer, U.S. Ski & Snowboard named Joey Caterinichio its 2020-2021 Al Merrill Nordic Award winner, which annually and nationally recognizes an individual or group involved with any aspect of Nordic skiing who demonstrates an exceptional level of commitment, leadership, and devotion to excellence.
Caterinichio is a lifelong Alaskan and decorated Nordic skier, as well as a passionate contributor to Alaska’s Nordic skiing community and longtime Board President of the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage (NSAA). The 2020-2021 Nordic ski season was one of the most successful, and significant, in Alaska’s recent history. In the Southcentral region, behind the guidance of Caterinichio and others, NSAA provided safe programs and events, as well as miles of groomed world-class trails, for thousands of skiers of all ages and skill levels, in addition to special community-wide events during the COVID pandemic.
“I’m humbled to be recognized with this honor, and especially thrilled to know that the award also reflects the importance of the work that the NSAA, its staff and volunteers do year-round to provide healthy lifestyles and special trails for so many people,” said Caterinichio. “In such a challenging time, the NSAA was able to remain an essential business and inspired people to get outdoors, recreate alone or socially distanced with others, which were positive boosts to their physical and mental health. I am certainly proud to play a role in this work and look forward to contributing more in the seasons ahead.”
Caterinichio also serves on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross-Country Sport Committee, the Cross Country Alaska Competition Committee, and recently completed a three-year term as President of the National Nordic Foundation (NNF), and remains on the NNF board. She is also a high school coach in Anchorage and owns Alaska Nordic Racing, a cross-country skiing training club, with her husband.
In her Al Merrill Nordic Award nomination of Caterinichio, Lisa Maurer, an Anchorage skier, parent and volunteer wrote, “As the Board President of (NSAA), Joey has been integral in building a community which has cross country skiing at its core. … As our communities grappled with the impact of a global pandemic, her commitment to healthy living has never been more appreciated. During these long months, Joey’s hometown of Anchorage has seen unprecedented trail usage, an expansion of grooming efforts, and a growing appreciation of the value of outdoor activity. Joey’s leadership during this time has been recognized across the community and has been reflected in historic membership levels and financial support for the organization.”
Kikkan Randall, recently named the new NSAA Executive Director, said of Caterinichio, “This award is well-deserved for Joey. She’s a tireless volunteer and advocate for our sport and our community. She’s an especially amazing asset to NSAA, which is coming off of one of its best seasons in its 50-plus-year history, as well as to Alaska’s tight-knit Nordic ski community and beyond to the national level, where she is known as a leader. I’m thrilled to see what we can do together for skiing in our community this season and in many years ahead.”
U.S. Ski & Snowboard notes that the Al Merrill Nordic Award is presented to the individual or group involved with any aspect of nordic skiing (cross country, nordic combined or ski jumping), who or which demonstrates an exceptional level of commitment, leadership, and devotion to excellence. Each of the nordic sport committees submits a nominee with the final selection being made by the sport committee chairpersons. Merrill coached the 1956, 1964 and 1968 US Nordic Olympic teams and for over two decades was the American representative to the cross-country committee of the International Ski Federation, the world governing body of ski racing. Merrill was the Director of Outdoor Affairs for Dartmouth College and its head ski coach from 1957 to 1972. He impacted positively on the sport and the people who came into contact with him.
The APU Jim Mahaffey Trails System is the oldest ski trail systems in Anchorage. It was the first of its kind that offered a lighted 5k looped trail for cross country skiing in the late 1960’s. It is no longer a lighted trail and the original loop has had many additions and upgrades.
It was originally designed as a diagonal ‘classic’ style ski trail back before skate skiing was popular. As a result, the trails are too narrow to be ideal for skate-style skiing. The effort to widen the trail to accommodate the longer, side-to-side stride of skate skiing was not accepted by the community (1990’s, Marc Phillips). The desire to keep the trail wooded and narrow was upheld. It is assumed this was to keep the neighborhood rural feel to the trails and to preserve the trees that would need to be cut down to accommodate the 16-foot-wide tread base needed to make it wide enough to skate ski proficiently. This is one of the primary reasons why the APU Elite Nordic Ski Team prefers to train on other, more developed trails in Anchorage.
The new multi-use trail designation was done in agreeance and in coordination with the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreations Department and with the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).
APU shares the trail system with UAA. The North and North-west sections of trail is on UAA property. APU has historically maintained and groomed the UAA areas.
Why Multi-Use for APU?
Our user group has changed. This year, due to the pandemic, we have seen an increase in trail use of 30% city wide. This includes all user groups. (MOA Parks and Rec. Dept)
In the past 50 plus years since the APU trail system was established, we have experienced significant growth and development of the surrounding campus. This includes the popular University Lake Dog Park, the Providence and ANTHC hospital complex, UAA, the Spring Hill Suits Hotel, the Spine Institute and the USGS building.
With this growth came an increase in APU trail use and the majority of these new trail users are not skiers but walkers on lunch break or commuters on winter fat tire bikes, for example. In recent years we have seen a huge increase in fat tire bikers using the Anchorage trails and the APU trail system is no exception.
We want a more inclusive and accessible trails system. As a ‘ski only’ trail system people living and/or working on campus did not have easy access to the trails in the winter. To venture out to the trails from APU housing, classrooms or offices was not easily done without violating the ‘ski-only’ rule.
All convenient APU campus trail access points, to include Moseley Sports Center, the Atwood Center (student’s residence) and Faculty Row Drive, all required travel on ‘ski only’ designated trails. This is the main reason why the ‘ski only’ designation was so hard to enforce.
We recognize the importance of the outdoors to the mental and physical health of the community, especially during the pandemic, where the outdoors is the safest place to social distance, get exercise and relieve stress. We want to remove any barriers that may stop people from using the APU trail system. Some barriers that existed with the ‘ski only’ designation included being physically able to ski, having the desire to ski and having the equipment to ski.
Brush clearing and signage. We recognize that there are some places on the trail system that can be dangerous for the lack of visibility around corners or on hills. This summer we plan to remove brush and low growing tree branches in these areas. We also plan to install permanent warning signs about these hazards.
A message of controlled skiing and biking. Please use caution. Skiing and biking is inherently dangerous. The APU trails system was not originally designed for skate skiing so it is important to recognize the trails maybe narrower than other ski trails in Anchorage. Please reduce speeds accordingly and stay to the right side of the trail. It is the responsibility of the skier or biker to use safe speeds and stay under control.
Please respect the grooming. We want to impress on all trail users to share the trail respectfully and when snow conditions are soft, please avoid walking or biking on the groomed trails. We will do our best to inform trail users of the importance of preserving the grooming and the diagonal set ski tracks. We plan to do this with new signage to be installed this summer and currently on our website. https://www.alaskapacific.edu/campus-life/moseley/facilities/jim-mahaffey-trail-system/
PC: Teresa Fish
00Heather Liller/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/nordic-skiing-association-anchorage.jpgHeather Liller2021-03-29 14:03:122021-03-29 14:03:12APU Jim Mahaffey Trail System is now Multi-Use
Snowmaking began on Nov. 2, the earliest date in the seven years that NSAA has operated the snowmaking system. As of Dec. 15, 2.9 million gallons of water have been used to place snow on various trails. These include the green and yellow trails, the turquoise trails on Gong Hill, and about two-thirds of the stadium. Currently the operations crew is working on finishing the stadium and the purple trail.
The snowmaking operation overall this winter has been good thus far. We’ve been quite pleased with the new version of nozzles and nucleators we installed on 5 lances. They create twice as much snow as the older versions in the same amount of time so the trails are covered faster. Unfortunately, there have been issues with about half of the 16 lances. As the snowmaking system ages, a number of parts in the lances have started to fail and have had to be replaced. Most likely, next summer the operations staff will need to do a thorough inspection of the entire lance system and replace worn parts such as hoses, valves, and valve motors.
/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/nordic-skiing-association-anchorage.jpg00Kikkan Randall/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/nordic-skiing-association-anchorage.jpgKikkan Randall2020-12-16 14:12:452020-12-16 14:12:45Snowmaking Update for December
Just like most years the start up of the snowmaking equipment has had some challenges. There have been some mechanical issues that the crew and volunteers have been working through, specifically with the lances and compressor, but as you can see, the fan guns are making snow! We usually don’t start making snow until November 15, but with the cold temperatures we’ve been gifted a little jumpstart. Our focus is on the green loop at this time and with some real snow in the forecast we hope to have some completed loops sooner than later. Keeping our fingers crossed! We ask that you steer clear of the SML while we are making snow as there will be lots of equipment, hoses and cords deployed throughout. Thanks for you cooperation and we’re looking forward to a great ski season!
00Kikkan Randall/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/nordic-skiing-association-anchorage.jpgKikkan Randall2020-11-05 10:43:042020-11-05 10:43:04Snowmaking is underway!
There’s a dusting of snow and the groomers are grooming. The Current Trail Status has officially been changed to Winter: Maintenance Operations. Trails are Ski Only, no walking, biking or dogs on the trails.