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February 2011

posted Jan 20, 2011, 4:35 PM by Hans Hill   [ updated Jan 20, 2011, 4:38 PM by Dave Musgrave ]

As I write this the temperature has plummeted to negative thirteen degrees and I am relieved to have this change in weather.  For the past week the Valley has seen steady 35-45 mph winds with gusts to 75 mph.  The wind has been unrelenting causing my drive to work to appear as if I was driving a slalom course, with gust causing me to veer left then right, ugh.  While the chilly windless weather patter has reprieved me from the torture of sleepless nights, the snowpack has taken a beating (and that is putting it lightly).  Bombproof would be an adequate description.  Nevertheless our grooming crew has put up a good fight.

 As a last resort to combat depression and as suggested by Mark Strabel, I’ve been exploring alternative activities to fend off the “Snow Blown Away Blues.”  My first reaction is to catch-up on my waxing.  A few of my skis are looking a little rough and may be in need of a stone-grinding.  Fortunately the entire Valley is covered in a nice layer of glacial dust and a few kilometers around the trails may be just right for a free ski tuning. 

 Another option I have been considering is roller skiing.  Now some may saw that this is ridiculous, but I just saw vacuum trucks roaming the streets removing the recent application of sand and gravel (and the aforementioned glacial dust) and many of the shoulders are looking pretty enticing.  It has been quite a few years since the last time I stood on roller skis; I seem to recall a small piece of granite stopping my right (roller) ski in mid stride causing my momentum to propel me some five meters in the air until my knee, shoulder and face were used as a braking mechanism.  But I have a solution in case the road shoulders are in poor shape, hit the treadmill at the local gym.  In fact if I open the doors, drop the thermostat to twenty-five degrees and have my five throw crushed ice at me periodically through the workout, I may just get out of this Snow Blown Away funk. 

 In all honesty the grooming crew has down a great job in keeping what little snow is available skiable up in Hatcher Pass.  Thanks for providing the goods.


Masters Group

As promised Darryl Farrens (coach / coordinator / mentor) has begun coaching the masters group on Mondays beginning at 1 PM with classic technique, 2:15 PM starts the skating portion.  This is a fantastic opportunity for those looking to improve and to receive coaching from one of the “greats.”  All for the low-wholesale cost, one-time payment of $20 for the entire season.


Junior Nordics

Good news, Junior Nordics has started the weekday sessions. Bad news, snow at lower elevations is absent. More good news,  there is plenty of snow at Mountain Streams B&B and there are lights. Ed Strabel froze his fingers putting up a lighted loop so that the kids can ski in the evenings. JNs now meets regularly on Tuesday nights at 6 PM at Mountain Streams and until there is more snow at Mat River Park and Alcantra, we are holding sessions at 4:30 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Some may remember that Coach Ed started Junior Nordics in the Valley more than 15 years ago (I know I do, “It’s a great day to be a skier!”). He returns to the new reincarnation of JNs as a coach this year as does another old-timer JN coach, Joe Nolting. The coaching staff this year is filled out with Dave Musgrave, Mark Stigar and his daughter Sterling, Tracy Houser, Rhett Buchanan, and Caroline Daughtery. 

The JN skiers from last year have returned with their skills in tact and are skiing better than ever. There are now four levels of abilities in JNs: Polar Cubs (new skiers), Government Peak (basic), Matanuska Peak (intermediate), and Pioneer Peak (advance).  All of the Peak groups have enjoyed their first experience with time trials. The Polar Cubs mostly stay on top of their skis, but when they don't, they can now right themselves. And duck walking (herring bone) and pizza slices (snow plows) are seen on all the hills.

And what club would be complete without matching apparel.  We will soon have our new ski caps with the new Mat-Su Junior Nordics logo on it.  Check out the website for a peek at the new logo.


Moonlight Ski, Clinics and More

With the highly variable conditions the have been present I am hesitant to print any dates and locations of upcoming events.  So stay tuned to the our website for the latest news.


Pisten Bully Fund

The Pisten Bully Fund has received some generous donations as of late and the club recognizes that this is a long term goal.  But maybe not as far off as we think….especially with the new Hatcher Pass trail construction right around the corner.