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GPRA After Work

posted Dec 19, 2013, 8:27 PM by Hans Hill   [ updated Dec 19, 2013, 8:28 PM by Dave Musgrave ]
Much like the majority of skiers, my wife and I are 9-5ers, which is another way to say, headlight/moonlight skiers.  It usually isn’t until spring time that after work skis offers daylight.  So the Thanksgiving weekend is a nice reprieve from the 30 degree field-of-view typical of our skis.  Getting out for four days in a row during daylight hours was a nice battery recharging. 

Our ski on Sunday found blistering winds and matching polished trails.  We met a friend though the trailhead and I barely recognized her due to the number of layers and balaclava she was wearing.

 I split from my wife and her friend, due to us having dogs and wanting to do our part to be good/courteous skiers and keep them poop on the Pioneer loop (I jest).  As I rounded the corner I spotted the UAA team gathered.  I decided it was a good time to take a breather, plus I prefer not to be continually passed by 15 skiers who have already skied 20km and still look ten times better than myself.  There were 20 skiers at GPRA that day and using my superior math skills, nearly half a dozen of those were non-competitive/recreational skiers.  The weather being the way it was, I was feeling somewhat proud just getting out.

Twenty minutes later I found myself finishing up on the sprint loop.  I stopped momentarily next to the community center.  The sun had begun to set. The view I took in was one of the same offered to the community center.  Maybe even the best of any offered by any chalet in the state.  I returned to skating back to our truck, the chill begun to get to me.  I waited for the “furry beasts” and the women to return as I warmed up the truck.  Staring at the numerous construction related activities ongoing at the center, I looked forward to the soon approaching date when it would be open.  The ability to have a place to change clothes and warm up will be such a pampering. 

As you read this there is a good chance the Government Peak Recreation Area Community Center will be open.  The contractors are busting there hump as I type and as I observed, had given up their Thanksgiving weekend in hopes of giving us the center as soon as possible. A tentative opening date of January 4th will give us all access to a 4000 square foot heated facility with changing rooms, restrooms, kitchen facilities for events and a 2300 square foot assembly area with chairs and tables.

It should be mentioned that this opening is six months ahead of schedule and as such the MSB is looking for ways to keep the community center open to the public as much as possible.  They are looking for volunteers who will man the community center for a four hour shift during the weekends.  A Google calendar is being created where volunteers can sign-up.  Anyone volunteering eight hours or more will receive a MSB Parks parking pass for 2014.  If you are interested in being a volunteer “Chalet Host” please visit MSSC website or contact Jill Irsik at MSB Parks and Recreation division. 

Special thanks must be given to Assemblyman Jim Colver and the MSB Assembly, the design team including our own Dave Musgrave, the Fishhook Community Council which is purchasing chairs, tables, outfitting the kitchen area and a large projection screen; and Davis Construction for putting it all together. THANK YOU!



The MSSC has been solely a volunteer organization from its inception and occasionally we need to have a “calling to arms.”  We will be assisting the three high school ski teams in directing the Colony High School 2-day Ski Meet, 24-25 January at the Government Peak Rec Area. The volunteer tasks are simple and actually pretty fun (recording bib numbers, button pushing and assisting racers remove their bibs, …)but they are very important.  Without your help the races can’t be successful.  If you are interested in helping out, shoot an email to matsuski@gmail.com or visit the website for details.


Winter Trails Day

One of the more popular events is the Mat-Su Winter Trails Day.  This year the event will be at the Government Peak Recreation Area on Saturday 11 January. REI will provide loaner skate/classic skis, boots and poles for adults and children and the Mat-Su Ski Club will be on hand to help with ski instruction. As previously mentioned, Community Center will hopefully be available for use.  If you have friends who are interested in trying out nordic skiing, this would be the perfect opportunity to get them out on skis for free.

Additionally, the MSSC will also offer lessons with REI donated loaner ski equipment at the Palmer Hay Flats Winter Trails Day Saturday 1 February, at the Reflection Lake Trailhead.


Moonlight Ski

The MSSC Moon Light skis are a great opportunity to meet new ski partners and potentially new ski areas.  This month’s moon light ski is tentatively scheduled for the Moose Range at the Wendt road trailhead, at 7 PM on Saturday 11 January. Bring a date and your dog (but not your dog for a date).


Adult Ski Lessons

Beginning January 6 the MSSC will be offering ski lessons every Monday and Wednesday to all ability levels.  Noon to 1pm will consist of classic technique instruction and 1:15 to 2:15pm skate instruction. 


MSSC has Chariots

The MSSC has a great option for parents with young ones to get out and enjoy the trails, while proving mom and/or dad a “nice” resistance training.  The MSSC has four chariots (two singles and two doubles) to loan out. They are available for 2 week periods either through reservation or first come basis. Please contact Ed Strabel at 745-4190 if you are interested.

Serenity Falls Hut Trip March 8-9

The Ski Club is planning their annual overnight ski trip to Serenity Falls Hut March 8-9. This is a 12 mile ski over groomed (classic and skating lanes) snow to the Serenity Falls Hut behind Eklutna Lake. Your gear will be hauled both to and from the heated cabin, which can accommodate 12 skiers and offers 5 star quality dining and Robert Service poetry readings. Contact Ed Strabel at 745-4190 to make your reservation. Cost $15.00 plus food contribution for dinner / breakfast.