Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sporadic Trail Report, Sporadically Posted

January 09, 09


I thought I’d let you know about a trail Karl Swanson and I skied ( at different times) on Thursday that was really fun. It’s an extension of the trail that goes to Whiskey Slough on the Talkeetna River that was used as an alternative route up the river by Trapper George and others when the river wasn’t frozen solid, or so I’ve been told. A portion of this trail was built in 1981 or 1982 as part of the River/Ridge Trail system . The trail is entirely on public land and is a multi-use trail. It appears that someone is grooming the trail, probably for access to a cabin somewhere up the Talkeetna River.

Start at the parking area at the end of Comsat Rd. and head north on the main trail. After the first half mile or so the trail towards Larsen Creek branches off to the right. Don’t take that, but continue straight on the trail less traveled which dips, climbs, and turns before descending to the bluff overlooking the Talkeetna River, about ¾ mile. Just before you reach the bluff the trail branches and you want to take the right hand branch. In a few yards you’ll be on top of the bluff looking up the Talkeetna River just above the mouth of Whiskey Slough. The trail continues along the top of the bluff above the slough for a while before abruptly descending into and then across the slough. This is a wild and wooly little hill that most people would rather walk down. The trail continues to wind its way through the woods in a generally north to northeasterly direction. Eventually you’ll see an open muskeg down and to your left. The descent to the muskeg is on a narrow, winding, and steep trail that barely makes it between the closely spaced birches . Take off your skis and walk this section, or find a line through the woods! Once down there , the fun continues as the trail goes up and down several small hills that separate two more small ponds. I turned around somewhere after the second pond, but Karl tells me that the Talkeetna River isn’t too far beyond that point. Look for what appears to be a wide section line clearing and you’ll come out to the river shortly thereafter. At this point you’re about ¾ mile upstream of the mouth of Clear Creek. I turned around and skied back to Comsat Rd. Those looking for a more ambitious tour could continue up or down river and figure out a way back to the trailhead.

This is the skiing through-the-woods on narrow trails that we all know and love up here! I used my classic skis and was glad I did! It’s too narrow for skate skiing. The trail was brushy, at times, but tolerable. The views were stunning, and despite the wind howling overhead it’s pretty well protected in the trees. I was out just under two hours and saw no one else, but watch for snow machines and dog mushers (and moose) ! Enjoy!

Chris Mannix


Sorry, folks, but Jr. Nordic has been cancelled due to the rain. Bummer.

Chris Mannix

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Trails January 7, 2009

Talkeetna Area Nordic Trail Report

Date: Jan. 7, 2009

Time: 2:45 pm

Location: Talkeetna

Weather: Clear, calm, -25F

Snow Pack: 30”

Last Snowfall: Dec. 27, 2008; 3”

Fish Lake Multi-use Trail; 4K; Mile 9 Talkeetna Spur Rd.- Last groomed on 1/6/09. Skate and classical loops.

Ski Hill Nordic Trail; 2.5K; Mile 12 Talkeetna Spur Rd. (located west of the Spur Rd. 100 yds south of the overlook)- Groomed on 12/28/08 for skate skiing only.

Talkeetna Lakes Park; Comsat Rd. , Talkeetna: Severe overflow conditions have prevented grooming on the lakes. Watch for future reports as local volunteers snowshoe, then groom classical trails.

Comments: Severe cold and high winds have hampered grooming efforts over the past week and a half. We look forward to warmer and longer days, and a bit more snow.

Submitted By: C. Mannix, Denali Nordic Ski Club, Inc.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


This upcoming Wednesday, January 7th we’ll be having the first meeting of the Denali Junior Nordic Ski Program. We won’t actually be getting into our skis for this first session, but rather we’ll be doing a “gear check” to make sure that all of the kids – as well as volunteer parents - have the proper clothing and equipment to partake in the program. Registration forms will also be available as well as schedules of this winter’s sessions.

So parents, make sure that this Wednesday your kids bring their skis, poles, daypacks and clothing that you’ve set-aside for Ski Days to the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar between 1:30 and 3:30 PM. It would also be convenient if some parents brought their vehicles to the Elementary School to shuttle kids over to the Hangar from the school.

It is important that all parents who have their kids in the program be at the Hangar at 3:30 PM to pick up there kids. The parents who are involved in this program ARE volunteers, after all, so it is helpful when everyone is prompt in picking up their children after each session.

We’ll also be showing the inspirational video “The Joy of Skiing” about the training and antics of the Norwegian National Ski Team.

If you have any questions call either

Troy Smiley and Stacey Argetsinger at 733- 8278

or Arthur Mannix at 733- 2615

It’s shaped up to be an awesome winter snow-wise, so it’s a really great time to get out with the kids and enjoy it. We’ll see you on Wednesday!


Hey kid skiers and parents! Are you ready for some kuleloypor (moguls)? How about a few seriehopp (jumps) or tele-turning around a few gates? Well… come mid-January, DENALI JUNIOR NORDIC will be ready for some serious skileik (ski play)! Simply through the act of playing, kids learn to ski before they “comprehend” what they are doing, and the terrain itself teaches better than most people do. We wait until the days get a little longer and the snow deeper to begin our program which runs until mid-to-late March.

Since 1992, the DNSC has sponsored the Junior Nordic Program as a means of connecting local kids with the out-of-doors through the wonderful past time of skiing. Over 500 “kid-winters” have been spent over the years traversing the local trails and frozen sloughs experiencing our nordic environs through the eyes (and antics) of our kids. The Junior Nordic Program is not affiliated with the public schools or any for-profit businesses. As such, it is entirely dependent on the volunteer efforts of parents and members of the community who simply want to ski with kids. Over the years, a significant number of home-schooled kids have participated, as have adults who don’t even have kids in the program. (A parent must attend, if your child is very young – kindergarten – or seems likely to require your help.) We play ski games (sharks and minnows!), have relays, treasure hunts, cookouts and go skixploring.

There is a $25/child fee (in addition to the DNSC individual or family membership fee) should you opt for your kid to join this program. Comparable programs in Anchorage are significantly more expensive.

As in the past, we’re scheduling WEDNESDAY AFTERNOONS at 1:45 PM and we’ll be alternating locations between the Ski Hill trails and other local trails where the gliding happens to be good!

IMPORTANT NOTE: All parents need to have their own kid’s transportation arranged. Car-pooling amongst parents from the same neighborhoods has generally worked quite well. It’s really important to be on time when picking up your kid, as volunteer’s time also has value.



DAY 1: Jan. 7th (ski video,gear check) DAY 5: February 4th DAY 9: March 4th

DAY 2: Jan. 14th DAY 6: Feb. 11th DAY 10: March 11th

DAY 3: Jan. 21st DAY 7: Feb. 18th DAY 11: March 18th

DAY 4: Jan. 28th DAY 8: Feb. 25th DAY 12: March 25th

LISTEN TO KTNA RADIO (88.9 FM) on Mondays and Tuesdays about changes in pickup times and locations of ski tours or cancellation due to cold temperatures.


What to Bring to Ski:

Skiers MUST be properly dressed for the weather. This includes a hat, gloves or mittens, outer shell, insulating layer (pile) and warm polypro or wool socks. They should be well hydrated and fed. All kids should bring their OWN water bottle and snack CARRIED IN THEIR OWN DAY PACK.

CLOTHING: The key to a happy skier is being warm enough for the activity, but able to peel off or add clothing as they warm up or cool down.



Ventilation: Polypro long underwear closest tot the skin to allow perspiration

to move away from the body.

Insulation: To trap the warmth generated by your body. (Pile or wool jacket)

Protection: Outer layer that protects you from the wind. (Nylon shell jacket & pants)

EQUIPMENT: Every year we get a certain percentage of kids who get frustrated because they have improperly fit equipment which hinders their ability to keep up with the kids who have appropriately-sized gear. Many parents choose to purchase over-sized skis that their kids will “grow into” and that’s the wrong way to go. Unlike older kids and adults, AT THE JUNIOR LEVEL, SKIS SHOULD BE RELATIVELY SHORT, SELDOM MORE THAN HEAD HEIGHT. For initial on-snow play, the shorter the ski the better. These kids really get zipping around! IT’S MUCH BETTER FOR KIDS TO OUTGROW SKIS, THAN BE EXPECTED TO GROW INTO THEM! It’s only later, as they stride better and ski faster, that they need extra length.


Even a pair of unwaxed, waxable skis are faster than no-wax skis!

As we get kids signed up for the program, ski swapping opportunities will present themselves. Generally, there has been quite a bit of used kid’s-size gear around.

KID HEIGHT (inches) SKI LENGTH (approx. in centimeters)

3’6” 106 cm

3’8” 112 cm Ski lengths in cm are always

3’10” 117 cm stamped on the skis.

4’ 122 cm

4’2” 127 cm Fischer Sprints or equivalent

4’4” 132 cm are great skis

4’6” 137 cm

4’8” 142 cm



5’4” 162 cm (while they are wearing their boots)

5’6” 167 cm


The most reliable and easy bindings have a visible lever that you can lift up to open and down to close. Brand names are NNN and Salomon. They are a bit spendy, but can be remounted on larger skis and boots next year. For kids who weigh less than 100 lbs. DINO makes the best bindings (about $35). I’d recommend them.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008



Alaska skiers! It’s been a brisk and burly winter this year with cold temps and ample snowpack… signs which portend a splendid spring Oosik Classic Ski Race/Tour. Talkeetna – being about 2,500’ lower in elevation than the Sheep Mountain area (home to the original Oosik) – has always been reluctant to hold the race as late in the season as those earlier venues. We are only at a tad over 300’ above sea level, consequently, our snowpack doesn’t stick around as long as it does in areas a full half-mile higher. That’s not to say we haven’t had some great spring crust on April Fool’s Day. It’s just that – with this “climate-change” thing going on – skiers really don’t know what they can expect anymore in the roulette game of predicting trail conditions.
We’re keeping our hopes up, however, that this wintry trend continues as (due to popular demand) we’ve scheduled this year’s Oosik for later-than-usual. The starting gun will go off at High Noon on the first day of Spring on Saturday, March 21st, 2009.
Since we’ve been reticent about holding the race anytime but early March the past few years, we’ve conflicted with other venues (like JO’s) and a number of skiers have expressed their disappointment at missing the fun. So we’re gambling that conditions will hold and we’re going for an actual springtime event.
An IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION for folks who want to come up for the entirety of the festivities is to REGISTER EARLY! Despite the conflicts with other races last year, we still had some 350 skiers. This year we expect more.


So this year, we’re putting another event in to the hopper… The Denali Arts Council has graciously agreed to co-sponsor this year’s Oosik Classic by providing us with a discount on the use of the Sheldon Hangar for the Banquet/Dance. Consequently, we are offering a THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE on the Friday night before the Oosik!

It being nigh upon Saint Patrick’s Day, we are offering tickets to the Irish comedy:
“Flanagan’s Wake” in the Sheldon Hangar on Friday Night, March 20th at 7:30 PM
Since we anticipate more skiers this year than the Sheldon Hangar can accommodate,

Early registration for the Oosik Classic is $35. Tickets to “Flanagan’s Wake” are $15 and will be available on-line on the Oosik website. Skiers who also purchase tickets to “Flanagan’s” when they register will have their bib numbers so designated and will be guaranteed admission to the banquet/dance should we (likely) register more skiers than the Sheldon Hangar can accommodate. Live music will be featuring local band “The Village Idiots”. Late (same-day) registration for the race will be $50 (show tickets not included).

We are undecided about whether-or-not we’ll provide a facility for a wax clinic this year. But check the web-site on-line prior to the event and we’ll be posting the wax recommendations of Swix wax rep, Mark Strabel, and Toko wax rep, Pat McGownd.

The Trail Crew is considering a new, “frontier” location for the course this year. But everything is weather dependent… the Old Oosik Trail – after all - IS an ethereal phenomenon. It’s episodic. It wisps through the boreal forest for a transient ski experience… then it’s gone.

So make a weekend of it. Register early. Come on up to Talkeetna on Friday night, March 20th. Enjoy some great, hilarious live drama at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar, ski the Oosik Classic on Saturday and celebrate who we are as skiers at the season-ending Apres’ Ski Banquet/Dance. Until then, keep skiing! It’s a great winter!


This year we are adding a new dimension Oosik Classic. On the Friday night preceding race day the Denali Arts Council will present Flanagan's Wake, a hilarious and interactive theatrical event that should not be missed. Participants purchasing tickets will be given priority admittance to the limited capacity banquet and dance on race day.

Flanagan’s Wake – The Hilarious Interactive Irish Wake

Where: Sheldon Community Arts Hangar
When: Friday March 20, 7:30pm

Cost: DAC members $10 / non-members $15

Join the villagers of the beautiful, fictional village of Grapplin, County Sligo, Ireland, as they tell tales, sing songs and mourn the passing of one of their own, Flanagan. You'll be transported to the Emerlad Isle to grieve as only the Irish can. You can share tales of your own experiences and misadventures with Flanagan, or just raise a pint and enjoy the stories and songs of the locals as they recall life with "Himself." Ages 8-100 love it! Under 21 must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian. Beer and wine available. Please bring id. Call 907-733-7929 to purchase tickets, or you can purchase tickets online when you register for the Oosik. Doors open at 7pm.

Running in Chicago for 13 years
"A great party!"
Chicago Tribune
"Roisterous and Boisterous!" L.A. Times
"A Hoot!" The Boston Globe
"A great time..." The Chicago Sun Times
"One of the funniest shows you'll ever see." NBC

This winter there’s good snow cover in Talkeetna. The Denali Nordic Ski Club has been scouting, brushing out, and snowshoe-packing this year’s Oosik course.


No doubt about it, Alaska has as spirited a nordic community as anywhere on the continent. At race venues in the Lower 48, Alaskans are well known for their tenacity, hardiness and consistently good results. Ironically, in this wild, “last frontier” state, most of the cross country skiing activity - from junior nordic to masters to citizen’s races and events - is urban based; centered around trail systems developed and maintained by large ski clubs and municipalities. Because of the distances between communities in this Great Land, most every ski event has participants who come from hundreds of miles away (over 800 miles commonly separates the hometowns of competitors who see each other frequently throughout the winter). Despite the vast distances that separate all of us, we are still a tight-knit little “society”, with our own winter-oriented knowledge base, our own folklore (who doesn’t have a few crazy tales of out-of-the-norm skier experiences?), and even our own distinct dialect (ever hang out in a wax room?).

Unfortunately for us, nordic events here are often celebrated in somewhat of a “hurried” fashion. Skiers arrive and hustle out to check out the trails to make sure that their wax is dialed-in. They race, warm down, and then scoot inside for an all-too-brief post-race awards ceremony before piling on a bus for the long drive home. To Outsiders, this degree of commitment is mind-blowing. Alaskan skiers truly are an admirable bunch when it comes to their dedication, sense of camaraderie and love of their outdoor lifestyle in the face of conditions far more austere than most anywhere else on the planet. They deserve to celebrate… to celebrate themselves… and to celebrate what brings them together… namely those ridiculously skinny boards that enable them to so delight in moving over the winter landscape that is their home.

The Oosik Classic Ski Race/Tour is one such event from which a skier needn’t hurry away from after crossing the finish line. Indeed, the finish line is only HALF of the Oosik. Everyone’s encouraged to stay overnight in Talkeetna in order to partake in the Oosik Classic’s regionally-renowned Aprs’ Ski Banquet/Dance. There are lots of places to stay in town. The locals love the influx of this healthy, energetic crowd of outdoorsy-types, and all agree it’s the best party the town throws all year. They’re astounded that these skiers have so much energy to dance… after touring all day! (Skiers know better.)

This year we are adding a new dimension to the
Oosik Classic. On the Friday night preceding race day the Denali Arts Council will present Flanagan's Wake, a hilarious and interactive theatrical event that should not be missed. Participants purchasing tickets will be given priority admittance to the limited capacity banquet and dance on race day.

All of Talkeetna’s local food vendors “pull out all the stops” and work together to put out a great spread of all kinds of food. The Midnight Sun Brewing Company supplies the beer. And long-time local Talkeetna musicians "The Village Idiots" crank out so much rhythm, and rock, and blues…that nearly everyone ends up hitting the dance floor. At the Oosik, our “society of skiers” is truly seen in another context: one of revelry, humor, silliness, warmth and goodwill.

Trond Flagstad commented a few years ago: “You must keep this race. It’s just like the events held in the small towns back home in Norway.” Indeed, Talkeetna is a small town, but the Oosik makes it feel a little bigger for one special day. Come one, come all. The trails will be in, the bratwursts will be hot and the band tuned up and ready to rock!


Flanagan's Wake
On the Friday night preceding race day the Denali Arts Council will present Flanagan's Wake, a hilarious and interactive theatrical event that should not be missed. Participants purchasing tickets will be given priority admittance to the limited capacity banquet and dance on race day.

Join the villagers of the beautiful, fictional village of Grapplin, County Sligo, Ireland, as they tell tales, sing songs and mourn the passing of one of their own, Flanagan. You'll be transported to the Emerlad Isle to grieve as only the Irish can. You can share tales of your own experiences and misadventures with Flanagan, or just raise a pint and enjoy the stories and songs of the locals as they recall life with "Himself." Ages 8-100 love it! Under 21 must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian. Beer and wine available. Please bring id. Call 733-7929 to purchase tickets, or you can purchase tickets online when you register for the Oosik. Doors open at 7pm.

Oosik Masters know is that we like to have a party after the race. That’s why this race is on a Saturday. There will be a buffet and party in the evening at the Don Sheldon Hangar in downtown Talkeetna. Your participation in the race gets you in the door. We’ll have food, music, and dancing. This year’s band will be "The Village Idiots".

The focus of the event is the celebration of our good fortune – that we are skiers in some of the most magnificent country in the world! Hard-core ski racers and nature-loving ski-travelers alike are welcome at the Oosik Classic Ski Race. Winners of the 50 km race get their names inscribed for posterity on the Oosik trophy hanging at Skinny Raven Sports for all the rest of us to admire

Here’s a tip from me: If you have several basket-size options, use the bigger ones. We’ll be grooming the course long before the weekend of the event. But all the same, the snow can be deep and soft in Talkeetna in March.

Entry fee: $35 if postmarked by March 15, 2009. $50 after March 15, 2009, including race day. You can also purchase your Flanagan's wake tickets online or call the Denali Arts Council at 907-733-7929. Those purchasing Flanagan's Wake tickets will be given priority admittance to the party! Preregistration will only be online this year. Everybody’s doin’ it! REGISTER ONLINE

The Drive: It takes about two hours from Anchorage; a little more from Fairbanks. If you travel with the right people, it’s fun!

Supoort Services: Support services for the Oosik Classic Ski Race are provided by Matanuska-Susitna Borough Parks and Outdoor Recreation.

Please respect the Private Property:

Major portions of the Oosik Classic Ski Race are on private property. In order to ensure future use of the course, skiers are asked to follow these simple rules:

No loose dogs! All dogs must be on a leash. Better yet, leave your dog at home.

The Denali Nordic Ski Club, Inc. and local property owners thank you for your cooperation. Enjoy the race!


More Info: Call or email Arthur Mannix (907 733-2615) or Email Chris Mannix (907 733-2427) in Talkeetna or Adam Verrier in Anchorage at 907-569-1666.