Lifetime Member Steve Beardsley

Many of the Nordic Ski Club’s stalwart volunteers became involved when their children were young and just getting on skis. Such was the case with Steve and Nancy Beardsley. Early involvement began in the mid-1980s with the Junior Nordic program before it was part of the Nordic Ski Club. Steve served as the Junior Nordic board president from 1984 to 1990, a time of expansion from 20 kids to more than 100. As his kids grew so did Steve’s involvement. Steve became the Anchorage School District high school race chair in 1989, organizing volunteers. Through his organizing, the “Grunts” were born—volunteer officials originally sporting purple jackets, now green NSAA jackets. It’s the camaraderie of this group that keeps people coming back long after their children have grown.

Before long, helping Nordic skiing causes became a year-round venture. Steve and Nancy adopted the Kincaid planters during the summer, and Steve became one of NSAA’s “Boys in the Bunker,” helping to maintain and clear trails by mowing grass and using the big equipment for dirt work. Building the Andrew Lekisch Trail at Kincaid was a huge effort involving two competing volunteer groups: the “non-lawyers,” which Steve led, and the lawyers. NSAA recognized Steve’s fun-loving attitude and ability to show up for trail building projects by naming a section of the improved Bartlett Ski Trail “Beardsley’s Bends.”

As a member of the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Commission for seven years in the 1990s, Steve helped influence the development of Hilltop so that the newly built Spencer Loop was protected from the expanding alpine skiing area.
When Alaska was chosen to host the Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2000-’01, club members talked Steve into being the cross country race chair. A scoreboard, a new PistenBully, and upgrades to the road, chalet, and parking area were all projects funded for these events, which was a boon to NSAA. Steve continues to help organize Winter Special Olympics events.

Each time NSAA hosts a big event, whether it is a Junior Nationals, Senior Nationals, Olympic Trials, or National Biathlon Championships, you’ll find Steve on a snowmobile as a vital member of the trail crew.

Photo credit: John Christopherson