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A letter from the President

posted Feb 17, 2016, 12:55 PM by Tammy Hill   [ updated Feb 17, 2016, 12:58 PM ]

With all the political ads and constant barrage of political pundits trying to tell you who the next POTUS will be, I feel compelled to add to the noise and reach out to all our members and those enjoying what the Valley has to offer this winter, to write about our recent fund raising efforts.  If you are on our email list, you most undoubtedly received an email From the MSSC informing you of our efforts to “Light the Susitna.”

For those who missed out on the mailer, here is a brief overview.  With funding from a Mat-Su Health Foundation grant, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough has solicited bids to have trail lighting installed for all trails at Government Peak Recreation Area, approximately 6.5 km.  Borough staff had hoped that the grant funding would suffice for this lofty goal, but upon opening of the bids it was realized that the price for the entire trail system exceed the grant funds by approximately $100,000.  Without additional funding, the Susitna Trail would not be lit as a part of this project.

The MSSC board members recognized the opportunity the MSB had created to help transform the Valley skiing experience substantially and as such, decided to pledge $25,000 towards the lighting of the Susitna Trail.  This amount represents a significant amount of the MSSC’s funds. 

Which brings us to the fund rising; because the board members felt that this project was such an important project for the our skiing community, we hoped that others would agree and help the Club recover some, if not all, of the pledged amount.

When I first arrived in the Valley and began skiing with the Junior Nordics on the Colony High School Trails in 1993, the kids and instructors relied on two light poles to conduct practice under, which ultimately left us skiing on less than 1.5 km of trail, where we could “just about” make out the trail outline in the deep winter months.  With the arrival of the GPRA trails in 2013, the MSSC lit a portion of trails adjacent to the parking area to help facilitate Junior Nordics and well, just being able to put on ones skis…  These lights represented the first light in twenty years, to have been erected on ski trails.

To put it bluntly, the trail lighting project is as exciting of news as the original construction of the trails at GPRA.  Personally, being one of the Monday-through-Friday 8-5 worker bees, the opportunity to ski after work without headlight…priceless.  Beyond my own personal gains from this development, the opportunity that this affords the Club, i.e. night lessons, evening races, etc., allows the MSSC to entice even more skiers and members, which is good for our community.

At the moment I write this, having only two weeks for fund raising, we have received a great response to this effort.  To this I thank all those who have contributed.  It is members like you who help make our community great.

It is my hope that when this month’s Nordic Skier reaches you, that the MSB will have announced the award of the entire GPRA trail lighting project.  To which I can literally say, I will “see” you on the trails next season.


Another successful Junior Nordics Season

The end of season Junior Nordic party occurs on March 5th, can you can be sure that no willing Junior Nordic Kiddo will be missing out.  The program continues to be a growing success with enrollment growing by leaps and bounds every season.  But with that, our need for coaches grows too.  Thankfully, we continue to have great volunteer coaches every year.  Thank you very much Coaches, I know the kids appreciate it too!


JN’s lines up for a day time race – Dave Musgrave


A JN participate gets to try out the Skiku electronic biathalon rifle – Photo Courtesy of Skiku Biathalon       



With the deadline of the Permanent Fund fast approaching, it seems a poignant time to remind everyone that the Mat-Su Ski Club has enrolled in the Pick.Click.Give program, an easy way to support your favorite Valley Ski Club.  More details may be found on our website, www.matsuski.org .

A Race to the Outhouse #2

To be honest, this winter has been…how should I say…mediocre.  But between GPRA and Hatcher Pass, the Valley has provided relief for those who have searched for skiable snow.  Archangel Valley has provided the goods in recent weeks, which may have led you to ponder “why don’t they do a race out here?”  And if so, the answer is Yes,  there is a race Archangel Valley road; a race that allows the opportunity to ski as fast as you can to an outhouse, without needing any real reason, if you catch my drift.  Provided the ski conditions allow, the race is on April 5,  which should provide a nice cap to your ski racing season.  No TP required…