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.
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