NSAA Backcountry Tours

2020-21 Season

Get out your touring skis for a great and safe ski. You will experience ungroomed trails using fish scales and metal edges with a group of like-minded individuals! Meet future friends, enjoy some sweet powder, bring the dog and your thermos full of hot cocoa. BEST PART YET…backcountry tours are completely FREE! All of our tours feature the Anchorage Nordic Ski Patrol, a valued partner in keeping all skiers safe!

To support the tours, buy a custom NSAA Jytte beanie, 100% merino wool and made in the USA, for $40. Check out our beanie with NEW colors this season! Hats are available at all backcountry tours, NSAA office, Season Kickoff, and online HERE.

 

 

COVID-19 Mitigation for the 2020-21 Season

All participants must follow the mandates set forth in the NSAA Backcountry Tours Mitigation Plan in order to participate. Thank you for your patience and understanding! 

Please see the Mitigation plan by clicking the button below. The COVID Assessment tool must be completed by every participant within 48hrs of departure for the tour. 

 

Before You Join a NSAA Free Backcountry Tour: 

1. Become a NSAA Member

Your donation helps support these FREE backcountry ski tours! Please note: that you MUST be a current NSAA member to join a tour. Renew or Join today!

Already a member? Login in to the NSAA Member Portal to RSVP for a Tour.

2. ​Pick a Tour

Find a tour that interests you. Feel free to contact the Tour leader with questions using the contact information provided in the schedule below.

3. Fill out the Release Form

Complete the Online RSVP & Release forms. This is required.

4. Review Gear List 

Gear List

Ski Tour Classifications

  • Easy I: 1 to 3 miles round trip on generally flat terrain. Suitable for beginners
  • Easy II: 3 to 6 miles round trip and up to 600 ft. elevation gain
  • Easy III: 6 to 8 miles round trip or 600 ft. to 800 ft. elevation gain
  • Moderate I: 800 ft. to 1100 ft. elevation gain
  • Moderate II: 1100 ft. to 1500 ft. elevation gain
  • Moderate III: 1500 ft. to 1800 ft. elevation gain
  • Advanced I: 1800 ft. to 2500 ft. elevation gain
  • Advanced II: Over 2500 ft. elevation gain

Advanced ski tours are generally on more difficult terrain and participants have developed efficiency and acquired skills for their safe backcountry ski travels. To go on an Advanced ski trip, you must be able to break trail for a period of time and must have excellent nordic/downhill skiing ability. In addition, you should carry a shovel, probe and avalanche beacon and know how to use them, plus any extra items required by the trip leader.

Additional Information -pdf

Feel free to contact your trip leader if you have any questions.  Asking questions can clear up confusion and assist you in your preparations for your ski trip.

Weather Links

Area Temps
Anchorage Forecast
Palmer Forecast
Turnagain Pass temps and snow depths
Independence Mine temps and snow depths
Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center
Chugach National Forest Service Avalanche Center

Contacts

Backcountry Ski Tours Leader, Mary Vavrik
Phone: 907-306-7686, mvavrik@gci.net

Nordic Ski Patrol contact: Mary Vavrik mvavrik@gci.net, 907-306-7686


Scheduled Tours

Iditarod National Historic Trail, Turnagain Pass, Kenai Mountains

December 12, 2020
Level: Moderate II
Distance: 8 miles total
Elevation Gain: 1000-1100 feet
Tour Leader: Mary Vavrik, 907-306-7686, mvavrik@gci.net
Join us on this ski tour of the Iditarod National Historic Trail in Turnagain Pass. We’ll ski through open areas and through the trees, to gain splendid views of Turnagain pass and the Arm if weather conditions allow. We will begin on a well developed trail and...

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Center Ridge, Turnagain Pass, Kenai Mountains

March 14, 2021
Level: Moderate III
Distance: 7-8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Tour Leader: Elizabeth Bluemink; 907-952-3956; ebluemink@yahoo.com
This intermediate-level tour offers a moderate climb to beautiful terrain in the Turnagain Pass winter recreation area. We’ll ascend Center Ridge, the low ridge between Tincan and Sunburst, skiing past the weather station, climbing 1000 feet in 2 miles.  The climbing...

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Matanuska Glacier from Caribou Creek (MLK Holiday)

January 17, 2021
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 8 miles total
Elevation Gain: Downhill at beginning and end, generally flat
Tour Leader: Contact Joe Meehan, 907-884-2994, joeonrabbitcreek@gmail.com
Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Carrs Muldoon where we’ll drive up to Caribou Creek pullout (Mile 107 of the Glenn Hwy) to ski to the toe of the mighty Matanuska Glacier. The ski will be on and off the creek and thru some brush, but mostly open terrain.  We’ll ski approximately...

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Middle Fork Loop, Chugach Mountains

February 6, 2021
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 8 miles total
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
Tour Leader: Monica O'Keefe, 907-350-5300, monicaokeefe@gmail.com
This ski tour includes spectacular views of Rusty Point, Ptarmigan and O’Malley Peaks with views of the surrounding mountains, and is one of Anchorage’s most accessible backcountry tours. We’ll meet at the Prospect Heights trailhead at 9:30 a.m. and...

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Beach Lake Ski Trails

February 15, 2021
Level: Easy II
Distance: 6+ miles round trip, 3-4 hours
Elevation Gain: Generally flat
Tour Leader: Ray Cammisa; 907-726-7977, raybird68@hotmail.com
  The Beach Lake Park ski trails are located near Chugiak High School along South Birchwood Loop Road. For a challenging and compact cross country ski area, you’ll find about every kind of terrain at Beach Lake Park. The 15 kilometer plus system ranges from...

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Friday Night FULL MOON Fun Ski, Alaska Pacific University Ski Trails

February 26, 2021
Level: Easy II
Distance: 3-6 miles total
Elevation Gain: Rolling terrain on groomed ski trails
Tour Leader: Karlene Leeper at 907-440-0049; kbleeper@gci.net
Let’s meet at the Goose Lake parking lot at 6:30 p.m. and ski around the municipality and APU trails.  We will ski on forested trails through rolling terrain. Please bring your classic skis and we will take a casual shuffle around the tour leader’s favorite loop. ...

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South Fork, Eagle River

March 27, 2021
Level: Moderate II
Distance: 12 miles
Elevation Gain: 750 feet
Tour Leader: Mary Vavrik, 907-303-7686, mvavrik@gci.net
Ski with views of spectacular Harp Mountain and Cantata Peak along the South Fork of Eagle River trail.  We’ll ski out on the main trail with our final destination an overlook with grand views of the South Fork valley and Cantata Peak.   Please meet at the Carrs’...

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Skookum Glacier, Kenai Mountains

April 3, 2021
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 12 miles total
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Tour Leader: Mary Vavrik, 907-306-7686, mvavrik@gci.net
This will be a kick and glide tour up to the Skookum Glacier.  On a sunny day, you’ll enjoy incredible views of the glacier and Byron and Carpathian Peaks.  Because it’s spring, we have to worry about the warmth instead of the cold.  Depending on snow conditions, we...

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Reed Creek Overnight Backcountry Camping, Talkeetna Mountains

April 10-11, 2021
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Tour Leader: Mary Vavrik; 907-306-7686, mvavrik@gci.net
Travel under the rugged and beautiful peaks of Archangel Valley and up Reed Creek for a spectacular weekend of skiing and winter camping.  Plan on meeting at the Carrs Muldoon parking lot near the bakery at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 10. From there we’ll drive to...

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Backcountry “Crust” Skate Skiing, location TBD

April 24, 2021
Level: Easy III
Distance: 6 – 8 miles
Elevation Gain: Rolling terrain
Tour Leader: Zachary Liller, 907-717-3419; zwliller@yahoo.com
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...

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AT/Tele Tour, Turnagain or Hatcher Pass (location TBD based on snow conditions)

February 27, 2021
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 3 – 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,100 – 2,500 ft
Tour Leader: Zachary Liller, 907-717-3419; zwliller@yahoo.com
Grab some sturdy skis, climbing skins, and avalanche safety gear, and we will search for powder turns in the beautiful mountains of Turnagain Pass or Hatcher Pass. We will spend much of the day “touring for turns” and stopping often to enjoy the mountain views. Be...

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