Let it snow, let it snow, let it snoooooow!
The return of the white stuff means winter rules are in effect at Tsalteshi Trails. Please observe the winter rules and etiquette signs posted at all the trailheads and on our website. In brief:
- No dogs allowed on the trails.
- No walking allowed on the trails.
- No motorized vehicles except authorized grooming equipment allowed on the trails.
- Snowshoeing is allowed on the Mosquito (snowshoe) trail, that winds through the woods from the K-Beach parking lot, with another trailhead at Skyview. Snowshoeing is allowed on the Wolverine Loop only (accessed from the K-Beach trailhead). Snowshoers should stay on the edge of the trail, out of the skate lane and opposite any set classic tracks. (Please don’t walk on the classic tracks. And skate skiers, please don’t ski over the tracks). Be alert for approaching skiers, especially on hills and around corners, as they move much faster and have a harder time avoiding snowshoers than snowshoers will avoiding them.
No dogs allowed? But Fido wants some exercise, too…We get it. Many in TTA are dog lovers and enjoy recreating with our furry friends. But dogs simply pose too many safety and grooming hazards to allow them on the trails during ski season. We’re looking at scheduling a skijoring race at Tsalteshi with the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race Association in March, but otherwise, pups need another place to play until spring rules go back into effect.
There are other options:
- The Kenai Golf Course welcomes dogs in the winter. Skiing and snowshoeing with dogs is allowed.
- The Peninsula Sled Dog and Racing Association trails, south of the Soldotna Airport, are great for skijoring. They’re designed for dog mushing, primarily, so be sure to yield to fast-moving sleds. These trails weren’t maintained last year, but the PSDRA board is seeking volunteers to keep them groomed this year. Visit the PSDRA page on Facebook for more information or to get involved.
- ARC Lake, south of Skyview on the Sterling Highway, is a good place to ski or snowshoe with dogs. It isn’t groomed, but it gets enough use that it’s usually quite skiable.
NOTE: Dogs are NOT allowed on the ski trails around the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, nor on Headquarters Lake itself. However, dogs are allowed on other trails on Refuge land (such as the PSDRA trails).
Speaking of Headquarters, skiing has been great on the lake lately. It even got groomed last week. If you go, PLEASE STAY ON THE DESIGNATED TRAILS TO ACCESS THE LAKE. Refuge staff have noted quite a few boot prints trampling off trail on their way to the lake, which can damage vegetation. Please access the lake either via the ski trail that starts to the right of the new visitors center, or from the existing Keen Eye Trail that starts to the left of the old visitors center. Don’t skip the switchbacks.
Grooming and trails updatesThe snow is a little thin to do much with it these days, but as we get more snowcover we’ll get more regular with grooming, as well. Keep an eye onTsalteshi’s Facebook page for grooming updates and other announcement regarding trail conditions and maintenance.
A few other things to note:
- Fox Trail. The Fox is open to skiing this winter. Ski with caution, however, as the city of Soldotna’s project to build its new water tower has resulted in rerouting part of the Fox. Watch for rocks and roots until we get more snow.
- Night skiing. Lights are on from dusk until 9:30 p.m. on the loops closest to Skyview.
Tsalteshi Sports Academy starts today, Dec. 7!Got a pair of skate skis gathering dust in the garage? Are you a classic skier with dreams of gliding like the skaters? Or have the basic idea but want to take your technique to the next level?
Then the Tsalteshi Sports Academy is for you: Twice-a-week skate skiing lessons for adults, with Kent Peterson, former ski coach at Skyview High School, Alaska School Activities Association’s Ski Coach of the Year, and current athletic director at Soldotna High School.
Session I meets Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m., Dec. 7 through Dec. 30. Meet behind Skyview Middle School. The first half of each class is learn-to-skate-ski basics, and the second half is intermediate skills. Session II begins in January.
Register in advance online at https://www.tsalteshi.org/events/?ee=149 for $10 per class for TTA members ($80 for Session I). Or drop in on a class — $15 for TTA members or $20 or nonmembers. Please note that you MUST be a current TTA member (register online if not) to sign up for all classes!
Skiing is snow dependent. Watch Tsalteshi’s Facebook page for updates.
Youth SkiIt’s going to be a great year! We shattered our registration number this year — 154 skiers on 16 teams with 28 coaches! This means a big batch of youth are going to learn to ski and love the outdoors. It also means the trails will be particularly busy during Youth Ski sessions. If you’d like to see the kids’ energy and enthusiasm at play, come on out. If you prefer more solitude for your ski, perhaps choose another time.
- 2:30-4 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 17 (Kenai Golf Course), Jan. 31 (Tsalteshi’s Skyview Trailhead), Feb. 14 (Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on Ski Hill Road) and Feb. 28 (Tsalteshi’s Wolverine Trailhead on K-Beach Road).
- 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jan. 13 through Feb. 26 (Tsalteshi’s Skyview Trailhead)
- Make-up dates due to canceled sessions — March 3 and 5
Arrive 15 minutes early so skiers can find their groups, wax their skis and receive any necessary instructions before practice begins.
Visit www.tsalteshi.org for more important dates.
Oh! And the important part — hats this year are red, yellow and white.
Thank you for supporting the trails!Thanks to the Kenai Peninsula Outdoors Club for its $500 donation at TTA’s annual meeting Dec. 4. KPOC has been a donor for several years, and we hope to continue to see them out on the trails for their weekly meetups.
Thanks also to Tri-the-Kenai Triathlon, which donated $1,000 recently to TTA. The donation came from funds raised by the triathlon, which utilizes Tsalteshi Trails for part of the race. TTA is thrilled to provide a venue for these organizations. We’ve all got community health at heart!
We’ll see you on the trails!