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2015/2016

by: Tim Kelley

Oct - Dec Jan - Feb Mar - Apr May - Jun Summer

Mid December 2015: Finding Decent Snow West Of Anchorage

Areas to the north and west of Anchorage got a lot more early season snow than Southcentral Alaska's most populated spots.  The Thanksgiving meltdown we got caused the snow in outlying areas to develop an extra firm base for this time of year.  Recently some power has accumulated on this hardpack.  So the conditions make boondocking on racing skis good going, which is not that common. So if you want better snow than Anchorage has to offer ... you have to travel to it.  And likely you will have to travel in the dark,  if you want to ski during the limited hours of light of these short days. 

     
As usual, I keep my eyes open for burls while backcountry xc skiing.  Always have projects in mind for them. To get out of Anchorage to good snow, you need to drive, fly or ... snowmobile.  Here we are at the Big Susitna River. When I am not skiing in the boonies, I find ways of entertaining myself in the boonies.  Celebrating moving 2000 lb, 32 foot logs by myself to the 2nd story of a shed I'm making ... and not maiming or killing myself.
 
I was out skiing and stopped to talk to an old couple having a picnic. They weren't too talkative.  Mostly they just sat there and took in their view.
Explanation: A man, who is now deceased, set up these dummies for boat wake control.  Urban visitors to this area would be speeding up the river, see these dummies in the distance, think they were real people, get a sense of guilt and then slow down to reduce their boat wake.
 
December 2015: Winter Quality Will Determine Post Quantity On This Web Site

The quantity of posts to this web site will be determined by the quality of our winter.  Good winter, lots of posts.  Another bad winter like last year, not many posts.  Let's hope for a better quality of winter than we had in Southcentral Alaska last year.

 

Mid December: Have been making trips to Willow and Nancy Lakes to get long skis in and try to get in distance skiing shape for the winter.  There is not an overabundance of snow up there.  But there's enough to open all trails.  The Willow Trail Committee has been out grooming.  I've been seeing a lot of mushers on the trails up there.  This is a much better winter (so far) than last year for the mushers in the Willow area.

On the Almond Lake Trail, coyotes had been using a beaver house as a lookout and rest spot. I wonder if this is Almond Lake? A trail through a section of the Willow-Sockeye wildfire burn of this summer. Disasters, like massive wildfires, can strengthen the bonds between people in a small community. Near the south end of Long Lake, I met this big guy.  He was a bit stand-offish until he heard me speak fluent Malamute.  Then we were instant buddies.
   
  Red Shirt Lake Winter Trail.  
     

Late November: Ice biking, with studded tires, on Hillside ski trails in Anchorage.  Skiing was good for three weeks until the meltdown hit.  Back to waiting for winter.

 

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