Meet up location: TBD
Meet up time: 7:00 AM
SPECIAL NOTICE: Crust skiing requires very specific snow conditions that are typically found during the morning hours and best suited for skate skiers. This tour will likely end before noon.
There is nothing quite like gliding efficiently through backcountry terrain on skinny little skate skis. In most years, early spring in Alaska offers a “unicorn” ski experience for those willing to get up early and search for “CRUST”. For the unfamiliar, crust is a perfect layer of supportable snow/ice that forms at the surface during the spring freeze and thaw cycle. Crust can provide skate skiers access to some truly amazing backcountry settings ranging from broad flat valley bottoms, rolling tree spotted meadows, and steep mountain ridge lines.
This tour will seek out low angle backcountry crust in a location like Turnagain Pass, Hatcher Pass, or the Chugach front range. The location will be determined on Wednesday April 24 based on crust reports and weather forecasts. Skate ski techniques are highly recommended for the conditions and to help maintain similar ski speeds within the group. Fat-tire bikes may be a suitable alternative to skate skis. Crust skiers need to prepare for being a “hot sweaty mess” while actively skiing and also staying warm during the numerous “I gotta catch my breath snack and photo” breaks. Be sure to dress in layers, bring plenty of water and snacks, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
All NSAA Backcountry Tour participants must be NSAA members. Due to the COVID pandemic, members must RSVP and sign release forms online. All participants are also required to fill out a COVID assessment form online within 48 hours of the start of the tour. See the complete Mitigation Plan on the homepage for Backcountry Tours. Social distancing will be practiced on all tours.
All the NSAA tours are accompanied by the Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol. If needed, they provide first aid and safety for tour participants. We thank them for their valuable help.
You can help support the Tours section by purchasing an attractive knit ski cap online.
Based on prior low snow years, we may need to change the location of the ski tour and will let folks know by email, the NSAA website or the Tours Hotline at 907-258-6800. Thanks for your flexibility!