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About This Web Site
by Tim Kelley

I started this web site in 1998 as a simple web page of Internet weather data links for use by fellow Anchorage area crust skiers.  In the "old days" (80's and 90's) we didn't really have the prediction of crust skiing conditions dialed in that well because we didn't know what the temperature or cloud cover was at skiing venues out of town.  Remote weather telemetry data via the Internet changed all of that.  As a result, crust skiing became less of a hit or miss activity, and it started becoming a lot more popular.  As a result of this booming interest in crust skiing I figured I'd add tips about crust skiing to this web site, and then I started to add trip reports with photos of crust skiing outings that my friends and I were doing.

Eventually this web site changed me.  I asked myself: "Why the heck am I spending my time masters xc racing when exploring my unbelievably cool Alaskan backyard in winter on lightweight xc gear has always been my true passion?"  So I quit racing and began setting goals of skiing  new locations and ambitious new routes most every time I went skiing.  I'm sure glad I made this move.  For years now my friends and I have been doing "first skinny skis" of many new loops, routes and skiing venues in Southcentral Alaska.  And we have shared these adventures via this web site so our skiing community will have a resource of ideas for their own skiing adventures.

So ... if I were to write a mission outline for this web site, it would be something like this:

1) To provide a resource for xc skiers to hit the backcountry.  Weather links, tips and ideas on gear and suggestions for introductory places to try backcountry skiing on lightweight xc gear are provided.  Ideas for trips are also provided via the ski trip logs.

2) To show people that winter xc skiing adventures can be local, plentiful and cheap.  You don't need expensive backcountry or xc racing ski gear, you don't have to travel far and you don't have to commit lots of time for skiing adventures.  You just have to grab the xc skis you have, drive out of Anchorage and ... open your eyes!

3) To help keep the "cross country" in cross country skiing.  The first cross country skiers in Alaska were Russian fur traders in the 1700's.  For more than 200 years after that cross country skiers of all types skied across country.  Recently however cross country skiing has somewhat degenerated to: "break out the bulldozers and make a 40 foot wide short loop, in a big polluted and noisy city, and go around and around it until you fall over from dizziness or boredom."  I think perhaps the Russians had a better vision, over 200 years ago, for what Alaskan cross country skiing should be, compared to  the vision some Alaskan ski clubs have today.

4) To provide Alaskan "entertainment" for folks that are into this type of skiing.  I love Alaska.  And I love adventuring in Alaska.  And I like taking pictures and videos of adventuring in Alaska, and documenting it. This web site is an outlet for those efforts of mine (and occasionally for others that send me stuff).  This web site is entertainment and an impetus of goal oriented endurance skiing treks for me.  And hopefully other skiers out there will find this web site useful, interesting and entertaining.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the "Alaska Backcountry Cross Country Skiing" web site about?  This web site is about the exploring of Alaskan backcountry areas using lightweight cross country skiing gear.

What is crust?  Here is the American Meteorological Society's definition of "snow crust":

snow crustA crisp, firm, outer surface upon snow.
Basically, three types of snow crusts exist, formed by 1) the refreezing of surface snow, after melting and/or wetting, to form a hard layer of snow (sun crust, rain crust, spring crust); 2) the packing of snow into a hard layer by wind action (wind crust, wind slab); and 3) the freezing of surface water, however derived, to form a continuous layer of ice on top of snow (film crust, ice crust). A snow crust is designated as “breakable” or “unbreakable” according to its ability to support a person on skis.

What kind of skis, boots and gear do you use? click here

Where is a good place to try crust skiing or backcountry winter trail skiing? click here