White Clouds

Bursting through clouds of white, frozen water particles seems to be coming the new norm in Anchorage. The Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage has pulled out all the stops (and guns) and have been blasting snow non-stop for the last few weeks. They only time the guns have seemed to of stopped is for the racing. Making kilometres of trail at least 40 cm thick and 5 meters wide is no easy task. The temperatures and humidity for snow making seem to be ideal, hovering around -5 to -12C so they just don’t seem to switch off the guns. They are pumping out mountains of snow along the trails and then pushing it all out before starting the process all over again. There is now a permanent 3 km loop of great skiing with another kilometre to be added any day now.

There seems to be big flurries of snow come through, promising storms and blizzard but nothing really comes from them.

The snow gun spray caught in the first rays of the sun.
The snow gun spray caught in the first rays of the sun.
A man made glimpse of Winter.
great trails
Great trails.
the stadium being completely covered by man made snow
Part of the stadium. Eventually it was completely covered by man made snow. an impressive effort!

There are a few subtle downsides to all of this snowmaking.

The first being that a hose only stretches so far and so their reach and ability to make snow on new trails is limited. To get around that they can make massive mounds of snow and then push it out over the trails but it’s not as effective for getting the trails skiable. The second downfall is that because there are only a limited number of kilometres groomed it’s not really recommended that you keep count of the number of laps you ski. We recently did a 30km time trial which was 12 laps… Finally the snow makers and groomers are very enthusiastic about making snow. They never turn off the snow guns, so periodically as you ski around the loop, you get absolutely blasted by snow! It seems you can ski from one side of the course where it might be crisp and sunny but pleasant to getting hammered like you’re in the middle of a blizzard a few hundred metres down the trail.
However I’m definitely not complaining!

sometimes you just have to climb the odd snow mound....
Sometimes you just have to climb the odd snow mound….
Lauren and Skyler in the early days of the snow making.
Lauren and Skyler in the early days of a new trail being made.
A snow gun in action.
A snow gun in action.

Skiing back with the APU boys is great and really motivates me to ski well. A lot of the guys got on the podium in the first two rounds of Super Tour racing so they are stoked and it’s nice to ski with the best. I will start to have my first few races in the coming days here locally in anchorage before flying down to US Nationals. I already have jumped into one local citizen race, which was fun but a mediocre result. I was 9th (2nd non APU Skier) but I also tweaked my back during the race, so it has slowed me down a little this week, just resting it and mobilising it. On the positive I was really pleased with how my skating felt and so I’m really excited about racing this weekend and doing my first FIS race of the season which is a classic sprint and a Skate 15km distance. I will post a proper race report in the next day or so when I have some race pictures to accompany it!

Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment.

2 thoughts on “White Clouds

  1. Snow making in Alaska reads a bit like what happens within the Falls Creek alpine area. Have a great Christmas and ski season. cheers Robyn

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