Home Blog Intro Gear About

Ski Trips:

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 UBXC eBook

Tim's Blog About Skiing Stuff

This blog is where I occasionally post entries about Alaskan backcountry cross country skiing news, issues, ideas, gear reviews and other random stuff that doesn't fit the format of my yearly trip report web pages. 

Early November 2015: If You Get A Chance ... Say Thanks

I had finished skiing the other night and I saw the caretaker of the Jodphur trailhead at Kincaid Park.  So I walked over and said "Hi" to him and and told him I appreciated that he was caretaking the parking lot this winter.  I told him that I had been skiing at Kincaid for 40 years and often in the past I would not park at Jodphur out of fear of getting my vehicle broken into (I can remember one broken window and one 3-wheeler ATV crash into my car here in the past).   I  mentioned to him that I think Jodphur is a safe place now because of the caretaker arrangement.

Seemed like a nice guy.  A skier and biker, he is spending the winter here with his wife and kids in a house he built on top of a flatbed trailer.  He said they like to hear from people who appreciate their caretaking efforts.  So if you get a chance, maybe say "Hi" to these good folks and thank them for helping to make the Jodphur trailhead safer and Kincaid Park a better place.


Late October 2015: When Will Your Early Season Skiing Become Part Of A "Historic Event"?

A metric I like to achieve, when possible, is a "9-monther Anchorage ski season."  The idea is to ski in 9 months of the year, in the Anchorage Bowl.  Start with some rock skiing in late September and finish out with spring skiing on the Hillside trails in early May.  If you do that, then you can boast: "Yep, we ski in Anchorage ... 9 months of the year!"

Well, 9-monther ski seasons in Anchorage are getting harder to pull off.  Last year was a bust.  This year it's a go so far, but by the thinnest of margins.  I, and others, got on snow the last day of September at Russian Jacks (and some folks at Glen Alps).  But then temps in Anchorage stayed in the 40's for a month.  Next ski was October 30th and 31st for Anchorage skiers, when it again snowed a bit.  Whew! ... October almost slipped by us!  Still way too soon to tell if May will see any ski-able snow in Anchorage.  Oh yeah, then there is January to worry about ... last year it got close to 60 degrees F in January.

Given the climate trend in Southcentral Alaska, one has to wonder how many more 9-monther ski seasons are in our future.  There is always a probability, though hopefully very small, that this could be the last one (if it actually results in a 9-monther).  Who knows.

From my work on the Alaska Lost Ski Areas Project, I know that the end of skiing venues is often a surprise to skiers.  Often folks didn't realize their ski area was about to be gone, until after it was gone.  Same with 9-monther ski seasons.  We won't realize when the last one is happening.  We will only know after the fact, when someone says: "Geez, we haven't had a 9-monther for a long time!  Wasn't the last one way back in 2015 or something?!"

So, you never know when you go early season skiing ... you could be a participating in a historic event.  You could be one of the last skiers to experience a 9-monther ski season in Anchorage.  Ya never know.

Taking part in a historic event?  The last Anchorage 9-monther ski season?
Time will tell.
A Ninja stranded by October snow and slippery roads.  Maybe motorcycles will one day see their own 9-monther seasons in Anchorage?


Mid October 2015: My Yearly Post Of Ski Gear For Cheap

My love for xc skiing will be with me until I die.  But that doesn't mean there aren't things about xc skiing I dislike.  The main gripe I have is the cost of modern day xc ski racing.  This beautiful sport used to be a cheap sport that everyone could afford.  Now it's an elitist sport that has financial barriers to many that might want to try it.  That's sad.  It has been disappointing to watch, over the past 45 years, as the sport of xc skiing developed a case of economic cancer.

Oh well, there's no going back.  So for fun, and to connect to the past, I like to point out where cheap gear for skiing can be found.  I post such info every year on this blog.  Here are a few of items for this year ...

Drink belts:  I had a Fischer drink belt that I liked a lot.  After it being in a "falling apart" state for a few years, I finally went to AMH (of course!) to get a replacement.  But the AMH gear gods said they couldn't get any more.  I did find one on the web for $25.  But as usual, $20 screw job for Alaskans on shipping.  Total: $45.  No way.

This summer, direct from China drink belts started showing up on Amazon.  $16 plus free shipping if you have Prime.  Is the quality good?  Well, this is likely the same Chinese company that makes similar products for Fischer, Rossy, Salomon, etc.  So the quality is the same.  Good deal though.

Ski hat:  Great deal right now on a Nordic-style, lightweight knit hat with fleece lining at ... Home Depot!  $8.88.  Take that you $35 Swix hats!  I spend a lot of time at Home Depot, so I will wear this ski hat with redneck Alaskan pride!

Light Up Your Wax Bench, And Be Energy Efficient

LED Wax Bench Lights:  You might have a wax bench in your garage or utility room and light the area with fluorescent shop lighting.  Well, now you can get energy efficient LED replacements for those old shop lights at a great price.  $35.99 at Costco.  These LED shop lights are super bright, don't hum and come on immediately at full brightness.  Plus no ballasts, which seem to fail often when used in cold Alaskan garages.  And the hassle of changing burned out bulbs is gone because these lamps are rated to last for 50,000 hours.  That's 5.7 years if the light was kept on all the time. If you use these lights an average of 1 hour a day, in theory they would last for 136 years.


Mid October 2015: Back At It ... Working With Burls Found While Skiing In The Boonies
Carved birch burl bowl. Birch burl bowl and burl art piece. The two burls shown on the right above, are seen in the pictures to the left.


October 2015: A New Ski Season ... Hopefully Better Than Our Last Ski Season

Hi!  My name is Timmy.  And I'd like to be the "radical dude" that this broken-down van in New Zealand wants me to be.  But to do that, I need snow.

We can all be radical dudes and dudae if it snows in Southcentral Alaska this winter.  Last year ... not much snow and radical meters were measuring very low.

This summer I took a class from elves in the Highlands of Iceland on how to make waterfalls flow backwards.  I passed!

Now I have applied to take the class from these huldufolk on how to make it snow.  But their snow making class is in very high demand these days.  And there is a long waiting list.  So, not sure if I will get in.  Hopefully I won't regret not taking the class ahead of this winter.



Summer 2015 (Carryover of a popular post from last year's blog): Flashdance Bears!

A short (2 minute) music video I made, from game camera footage, of some of the "bear dancing" action at our cabin this summer ...

Note: Some of the timestamps on the game camera footage in this video say 2012.  That's because I didn't set the game camera time correctly.  All this footage is from this summer (2015).

If the above Facebook video is blocked or doesn't show ... this video is also on YouTube.

2014-2015 Blog
2013-2014 Blog
2012-2013 Blog
2011-2012 Blog
2010-2011 Blog 2009-2010 Blog
1970's Vintage XC Ads


Back to APBCS Home Page