NSAA Backcountry Tours

2018-2019 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. Hats available at all backcountry tours, NSAA office, Season Kickoff, and online HERE

 

Before You Join a NSAA Free Backcountry Tour…

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. Unsure about your membership status? Check HERE

Pick a Tour

Find a tour that interests you and sign up by either calling or emailing the tour leader.  Easy as 1-2. See schedule below.

Fill out the Release Form

Bring your completed release form on the tour and give it to your leader before you start! This is required.

Release Form

Review 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, Patti Phillips
Phone: 907-240-3742

Patti Phillips, NSAA Contact: phillipspj@chugach.net, 907-240-3742
Mary Vavrik, Nordic Ski Patrol contact: mvavrik@gci.net, 907-306-7686
Karlene Leeper, Denali View Chalet contact: kbleeper@gci.net, 907-440-0049
Ken DePalma, Friday Night Fun skis contact: traveler@alaska.net, 907-344-1772


Scheduled Tours

Friday Night Fun Ski- North Bivouac Trailhead off Campbell Airstrip Rd

December 15, 2017
Level: Easy II
Distance: 3-6 miles total
Elevation Gain: Generally flat with a few ups and downs
Tour Leader: Ken DePalma, 907-344-1772
Meet at the North Bivouac parking lot at 7:00 pm. We will ski the old skijour trails, north of Basher Road.  If there is not enough snow to ski, we’ll walk.  There is potential to make this a short or long trip, depending on the group. The trails are mostly flat with...

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Sheep Mountain Lodge, two overnights, Talkeetna Mountains

January 13-14, 2018
Level: Easy III
Distance: Pick your distance, up to 15 miles (24km) or more
Elevation Gain: 50-300 feet
Tour Leader: Mary Vavrik, 907-306-7686
Enjoy two overnights over MLK Holiday weekend at Sheep Mountain Lodge in group cabins.  Ski on 24 km groomed non-motorized trails or beyond on 60 mi multi-use trails at Sheep Mountain Saturday and Sunday.  On Monday, ski out to Matanuska Glacier along Caribou Creek....

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Matanuska Glacier from Caribou Creek

January 15, 2018
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 10 miles total
Elevation Gain: Downhill at beginning and end, generally flat
Tour Leader: Ken DePalma, 907-344-1772
Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Carrs Muldoon where we’ll drive up to Caribou Creek pullout (Mile 106 of the Glenn Hwy) to ski to the toe of the mighty Matanuska Glacier.  We will meet any skiers coming from the Sheep Mountain Lodge weekend.  The ski will be on and off the creek...

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Friday Night Fun Ski- Mile 1.2 Campbell Airstrip Road, Basher Trailhead

January 19, 2018
Level: Easy II
Distance: 3-6 miles total
Elevation Gain: Generally flat
Tour Leader: Ken DePalma, 907-344-1772
Meet at the Campbell Airstrip trailhead parking lot at Mile 1.2 of Campbell Airstrip Road at 7:00 pm. We will ski (or walk if no snow) the groomed trails around the airstrip and along the south fork of Campbell Creek. Depending on the group, we may go up to the...

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Williwaw Lake and out Middle Fork, Chugach Mountains

January 27, 2018
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 10 miles total
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
Tour Leader: Patti Phillips, 907-240-3742
Ski with spectacular views of Wolverine, Mt. Elliot and O’Malley Peaks with grand views of the surrounding mountains.  This is one of Anchorage’s most accessible backcountry tours. If conditions allow for the entire route, we will need to set cars at...

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Lunar Eclipse and Overnight at Red Shirt Lake

January 30- February 1, 2018
Level: Easy III
Distance: 10 miles one way to cabin
Elevation Gain: Relatively flat with a few ups and downs, depending on the route
Tour Leader: Patti Phillips, 907-240-3742
Spend two nights (mid-week) at a private cabin on Red Shirt Lake in the Mat-Su Valley. Gear and food will be snow machined in.  Ski with only your day pack through frozen lakes and snowy forests.   Diesel heat and propane stove for cooking.  It’s a 2 hour drive to...

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Friday Night Fun Ski- Upper O’Malley Trailhead

February 9, 2018
Level: Easy II
Distance: 3-6 miles
Elevation Gain: Generally flat
Tour Leader: Ken DePalma, 907-344-1772
Meet at the upper O’Malley trailhead at the end of Shebanof Avenue at 7:00 pm.  Carpooling is encouraged as there is limited parking. We’ll ski up White Spruce to Blueberry Hollow. Return the same route or ski down Powerline, depending on time and conditions.  Bring a...

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Portage Lake and Pass

February 11, 2018
Level: Moderate I
Distance: Lake Only: 6 miles round trip across lake, Climb to Pass: 3 miles round trip to Portage Pass
Elevation Gain: Flat on Lake, 700 foot climb to pass
Tour Leader: Patti Phillips, 907-240-3742
Meet at the Potter train station at 9:00 am.  We will start skiing at the Begich Boggs Visitor Center at Portage Lake.  Join us for an amazing ski across Portage Lake with views of Baird Peak and Portage and Burns Glaciers.  Bring skins to climb up to Portage Pass and...

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Manitoba Mountain AT / Tele-ski and Touring options, two overnights Kenai Mountains

February 17-19, 2018
Level: Advanced I
Distance: Manitoba: 6 miles total, Touring Option: 3-8 miles total
Elevation Gain: Manitoba: 2300 feet, Touring Option: 100 feet
Tour Leader: Karleen Leeper, 907-440-0049
Join us for two overnights over President’s Day weekend at Manitoba Huts for telemarking , AT skiing or touring.  This terrain is for beginning to intermediate skiers.  If climbing Manitoba Mountain, you’ll need skins for your skis.  You should also have avalanche...

NOTE: 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 to the “10 essentials”, you should carry a shovel, probe and avalanche beacon and know how to use them, plus any extra items required by the trip leader.

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Friday Night Fun Ski- Glen Alps

March 2, 2018
Level: Easy II
Distance: 3-6 miles
Elevation Gain: Generally flat with rolling terrain
Tour Leader: Ken DePalma, 907-344-1772
Meet at Glen Alps upper/old parking lot at 7:00 pm. We have two options: 1.) up the Powerline toward the German Bridge (2.5 miles rolling terrain) or 2.) down the Powerline toward Prospect Heights, possibly on the South Rim trail, with a few drops and gentle climb...

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Denali View Chalet, two overnights, Peters Hills

March 2-4, 2018
Level: Easy II
Distance: 8 miles one way to Chalet
Elevation Gain: Generally flat with rolling terrain
Tour Leader: Karlene Leeper, 907-440-0049
Enjoy the weekend at a rustic Alaskan lodge on Kroto Lake south of Mt. McKinley. Ski 8 miles into the lodge with just a day pack. Your gear and food will be brought in by the chalet owner on snowmachine. Enjoy awesome views of Denali, fantastic company, wonderful...

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Denali National Park Sled Dog Supported Ski Tour

March 10-18, 2018
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 10-15 miles a day
Elevation Gain: TBD
Tour Leader: Bob Sutherland, 502-429-1082, funhog.fundogs@gmail.com
Once again we are offering a ski tour in Denali National Park with dog sled support.   Fly into Kantishna, load your gear onto dog sleds and start your adventure. Ski in the face of Denali for the week sleeping in Park Service cabins and wood heated tents. The dog...

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Skookum Glacier, Turnagain Arm, Kenai Peninsula

March 18, 2018
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 12 miles total
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Tour Leader: Patti Phillips, 907-240-3742
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, Byron and Carpathian Peaks.  Because it’s spring, we have to worry about the warmth instead of the cold.  The ski is flat, but depending on...

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Friday Night Fun Ski- Prospect Height Trailhead

March 30, 2018
Level: Easy II
Distance: 3-6 miles
Elevation Gain: Rolling terrain
Tour Leader: Ken DePalma, 907-344-1772
Meet at Prospect Heights at 7:00 pm. We have two options: 1.) ski towards Glen Alps on the Powerline and return on the Rim Trail or 2.) ski out towards Wolverine and back.  There is always a possibility to see moose and bikers.  Bring your headlamp, water and warm...

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20th Annual Turkey Day Shakeoff – Archangel Road, Hatcher Pass, Talkeetna Mountains

November 23, 2018
Level: Easy III
Distance: 8 miles total
Elevation Gain: 800-1,000 feet
Tour Leader: Ken DePalma, 907-344-1772
Join us for this post-Thanksgiving shakeoff ski for our first tour of the season. Travel under the rugged and beautiful peaks of the Archangel Valley and past old mining ruins in Hatcher Pass for a spectacular day of skiing on the Archangel Road. This is a great...

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