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Thank you to the Light the Susitna donors & our many volunteers

posted Apr 2, 2016, 9:11 PM by Tammy Hill   [ updated Apr 2, 2016, 9:14 PM ]

Light the Susitna Fundraiser

Recently the Mat-Su Borough Assembly approved the Government Peak Recreation Area trail lighting project, fully funding the entire project that will provide lighting for the entire trail system. Prior to assembly approval, the MSSC pledged $25,000 towards the inclusion of the Susitna Loop in the project scope to show the Borough our commitment to the GPRA trails. Due to the scheduling and short time window, the Club began an after-the-fact fundraising campaign.

To say that I have been overwhelmed by the response to the fundraiser is an understatement. We knew that the community supports our sport and it has been proven by its financial support. So a huge thank you to our donors:

Abby & Lila Pettit 

AK Sheas 

Alaska Safe Trails 

Amaya and Katalina Vizzerra 

Anesthesia Care Associates

Anjanette & Zack Steer 

Ashley Wise 

Backcountry Bike & Ski

Bilafer Family 

Bob & Carol Thompson

Branden & Sydney Thielke 

Brent Taylor, MD 

Brian, Wendy, Evan and Lewis Taylor


Chad and Jenny Nugent Family 

Chris & Kathleen Jones 

Christal Houghtelling Photography 

Cold River Construction Company

Darren & Nancy Black 

Daryl Farrens 

David Freer

David L Barnes DO PC 

Dori McDannold 

Elizabeth & Ed Ripley 

Gabe Black

Glynn & Ed Strabel 

Guinevere Hill 

Harmon Family 

Hobbit Environmental Consulting Corp. 

Jakab Family

Joe & Sandy Moore

John Breiby

Johnson Family

Karen Hopp 

Kim Elliott 

Livingston Slone 

Lorene & Larry Lynn 

Lucas Parker 

Luff Orthodontics 

Lydia Yocum 

Make'N Ends Meet 

Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union 

Mat-Su Junior Nordics 

Michael Norton

Mikael Porcello 

Monte & Jerilyn Burtch 


Natalie, Chris & Alex Cadieux

Nicole & Chris Whittington-Evans 

Norton-Cruz Family Fund

Pagel children 

Randee Johnson 

Sheri and Dave Musgrave 

The Barry Family 

The Danz Family

The Henderson Family

The Jerman Family 

The Lake Family 

The LaRousse Family 

The Merritt Family 

The Moffat Family 

The Paulick Family 

The Powder Family 

The Skvorc Family 

The Stamoolis Family

The Suarez-Cabal Family 

The Wraith Family

The Wreyford Family 

Tom and Lisa Smayda

Tracy Houser 

Trenton Harter 

Tricia and John Cox 

Virginia White 

Walling Family 

Wasilla Lights Farm 

Winnestaffer Family 

And many anonymous donors 

Thank you all for your generous support. It is people like you who make me feel proud to be involved with such a great club.

For those who may have missed our flyers and emails, and are interested in supporting the cause, please visit the website to make a contribution. We will continue running the fundraiser in to summer.

So here’s to next season’s lit trails, you all helped make it happen. Thank you again! 

Volunteers Make This Our Best Season for Junior Nordics – Dave Musgrave

It took quite a lot of work to wrangle the 350 kids that participated in Junior Nordics this year. Besides the numbers, we also had a couple other “firsts” this year.

This was our first year of a mid-day session for kids that are home-schooled. Not only was it her first year of coaching, but Coach Carolyn Barry did a great job as head coach of this group.

We had our first year of a competition group that trained together during the regular JN sessions, and also raced in the Besh Cup series across Alaska. Thanks goes out to Coach Sydney Thielke who started the competition group during the summer and continued coaching through the JN Season. All reports are that they had a great time competing and meeting other kids from other communities.

This would not be possible without the numerous volunteers especially our coaches: Aubrey Spangler, Mike Wilson, Joe Moore, Bailey LaRousse, Annika Hanestad, Carolyn Barry, Christian Hanestad, Kathleen Jones, Christie Marvin, Mikael Porcello, Ted Sipos, Mike Shea, Jillian Morrissey, Brian Winnestaffer, Wade Erickson, Tom Smayda, Anjanete Steer, Rhett Buchanan, Steven Merrit, Jordyn and Bella Block, Robyn Hall, Mike Norton, Megan Danz, Lucas Parker, Greg Ravencraft, Ed Strabel, Brent Taylor, Sydney Thielke, Dan Jenkins, and Maritt Youngblood. The adult sweeps and Chalet monitors have been great and have kept our kids safe and all accounted for, most of the time. Mark Stigar is the head coach on Tuesday and Thursdays. Thanks to Carolyn Barry and him for the extra effort it takes in preparation for their sessions.

And we are extremely fortunate to have a great Steering Committee that puts together the schedule, came up with new ideas, and implemented the whole thing as if by magic. Thanks to Carolyn Barry, Nancy Black, Maritt Youngblood, Peggy Kristich, Tammy Sipos, Paula Werner, Rick Benedict, and Teresa Clemmer. And a special thanks goes to Rebecca Buchanan, who orders the t-shirts, arranges for coaches’ gifts, takes all the end-of-season photos, and performs other miracles too numerous to mention.

This is our sixth year of Mat-Su Junior Nordics and we have come a long way from a dozen kids skiing in the school yard at Shaw Elementary. Personally, Junior Nordics has become the best part of my week as I see the kids out enjoying themselves and learning to have fun on skis outdoors in the winter. The progression in skiing skills that the kids make each season is truly inspiring.

I want to express how much I am touched by the passion that our community of parents, coaches, and kids bring to Junior Nordics.

Junior Nordics, Junior Nordics….Let’s Go Ski!

Our Great Groomers

How do you make snowflakes that landed in December into skiable trails in March? Lots and lots of grooming hours. Between Government Peak and Archangel Valley, our grooming team has spent nearly 500 hours pulling drags and the like to make the Valley trails the hotspot for nordic skiing in Southcentral. Our group of groomers includes:

Gene Backus

Jeff Kase

Darren Black

Chris Jones

Mark Strabel

Ed Strabel

Mark Stigar

Zack Steer

Ashley Wise

From the start of this season, over 2,000 miles of snow has been pounded into submission for our enjoyment and the volunteers above are the individuals we have to thank. On behalf of the Club’s board of directors and all of the Club’s members, thank you for the great season.

Offseason Projects

While it is sad to say our season is coming to an end, the MSSC has plans to keep improving our trails. Plans include trail maintenance and trail expansion… and as usual, we will be seeking volunteers to assist in these projects. Plans are still in the works, but we will be sending our emails and updating the website with times and locations for volunteering opportunities. If you need additional motivation to help out, what better way to stay in shape than some manual labor. Look forward to seeing everyone out there.