Saturday, November 24, 2012

Girdwood Reunion

I haven't seen the team in a long time.  I've missed them.  I was traveling to the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, Kodiak and Cordova - warm, windy, rainy places.  Meanwhile, they traveled to Powerline Pass and Fairbanks - cold, dry places.  But today I finally caught up with the team again - in Girdwood, forty miles south of Anchorage. 

Girdwood has a long but inconsistent history of cross-country skiing.  In the late sixties, the US Junior National Championships were held in Girdwood.  But eventually those trails became overgrown and the only evidence they ever existed are a few trail markers still nailed to those big old spruce trees.  If you know where to look, you can still find some of them.  There have always been trails through the Moose Meadows, and informal backcountry trails farther back in the valley, but no dedicated, wide, consistently groomed trails suitable for training and racing. A few years ago, Deb Essex got it into her head that Girdwood needed a ski club and a new set of ski trails. So she founded the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club.  And now, after several years of organizing, lobbying, fundraising, and finally tree clearing and bulldozing, Girdwood has a new, modern 5-kilometer cross-country ski trail. And it's fantastic, with demanding uphills and some fun downhills, too.

The new trail in Girdwood is a great asset for Anchorage skiers because while Anchorage is located in a northern temperate climate, Girdwood is in a rainforest.  Girdwood gets about a zillion times more rain than Anchorage, and about a zillion times more snow, too.  Sometimes when we have only a few inches of snow in Anchorage, they have several feet in Girdwood.
This picture isn't from today.  It's from last year.  Just in case you don't believe me when I say it snows a lot in Girdwood.

The trail work is still being finished up.

Pati doing no-pole drills today.

Karina, Cara, and Sarah.

Viktor and Lukas.

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