Skiing Chuathlabuk

On March 30th I got to Aniak, Alaska for a spring ski trip on village trails of Western Alaska, but the weather the day I arrived was not too great - 30 mph winds and almost 40 degrees F.  So I decided to ski upriver into the wind and then ride the wind back to Aniak.  Along the way I'd check out a Native village that had me toungue-tied: Chuathlabuk.  This was a 36 mile ski (18 up, 18 back) with a lot of it on a "truck trail" - a highway plowed on the Kuskokwim River so trucks could haul supplies from Aniak to Chuathlabuk.

I turned on the GPS for the return trip to show my ski route. The hills that the Kuskokwim River carve banks into remind me of the Yukon River between Eagle and Circle. Here's a shot of the truck trail.  Drifting snow can quickly shut the road down.
On the Kuskokwim I saw brand new snomobiles ... and very, very old ones. The truck trail is marked by posts with reflective bands. You know it's blowing hard when you set your poles down and they take off on you.
Chuathlabuk is nicely situated - south-facing on a bluff along the Kusko. The village has a brand new power generation station. Main street Chuathlabuk.
There is a Russian Orthodox church here. And like many Alaskan Native villages, there is likely a few problems with drinking here. And the result of problem drinking can likely also be found here.
  Problems aside, many Alaska Native villages are in beautiful locations.  
Checking out the country upriver of my turn-around.  Lots of potential for future trail skiing. Time to head back with the wind.  Thanks to the wind, while double poling and skating on this ice road my GPS said that I hit 20.1 mph. TV's don't handle falling off snowmobile sleds very well.
Back to 2006 Skiing Photos Photos and web page by Tim Kelley