NSAA Backcountry Tours

2019-20 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




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


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

22nd Annual Turkey Day Shakeoff – Archangel Road, Hatcher Pass, Talkeetna Mountains

RESCHEDULED! December 1, 2019
Level: Easy III
Distance: 8 miles total
Elevation Gain: 800-1,000 feet
Tour Leader: Elizabeth Bluemink, ebluemink@yahoo.com, 907-952-3956
Rescheduled to Sunday, December 1, 2019 due to avalanche conditions and road hazards on the original tour date. Please call the Tours Hotline at 907-258-6800 to check for any further changes to the tour. Join our first ski tour of the season – the 22nd Annual...

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Iditarod National Historic Trail, Turnagain Pass, Kenai Mountains

December 7, 2019
Level: Moderate II
Distance: 8 miles total
Elevation Gain: 1000-1100 feet
Tour Leader: Monica O'Keefe, 907-350-5300, monicaokeefe@gmail.com & Lisa Maas, 812-599-7566, lisaimaas@gmail.com
Join us on this ski tour of the Iditarod National Historic Trail in Turnagain Pass. We’ll ski through open areas, and in trees, to gain splendid views of the pass and Turnagain Arm if weather conditions allow. We will begin with a gradual ski in on a...

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Friday Night FULL MOON Fun Ski, Powerline Pass

February 7, 2020
Level: Easy II
Distance: 3-6 miles total
Elevation Gain: Rolling terrain on groomed ski trails
Tour Leader: Lisa Maas, 812-599-7566, lisaimaas@gmail.com
Meet at the Glen Alps parking lot at 7:00 p.m. We will ski Powerline Pass to the German Bridge and back. There is potential to make this a short or long trip, depending on the group. The trail is fairly flat with a wee bit of up and downhill.  Bring water and warm...

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Sheep Mountain Lodge, Talkeetna Mountains, two overnights

January 18-20, 2020
Level: Easy III
Distance: Pick your distance, up to 15 miles (24km) or more
Elevation Gain: 50-300 feet
Tour Leader: Elizabeth Bluemink, 907-952-3956, ebluemink@yahoo.com
Enjoy two overnights over MLK Holiday weekend at Sheep Mountain Lodge in group cabins and ski on area trails with fabulous scenery all around. This trail system was started by miners 50 years ago. On Saturday and Sunday, ski on 24 km of groomed, non-motorized trails...

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Matanuska Glacier from Caribou Creek (MLK Holiday)

January 20, 2020
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 10 miles total
Elevation Gain: Downhill at beginning and end, generally flat
Tour Leader: Contact Mary Vavrik for carpooling from Anchorage, 907-306-7686 or mvavrik@gci.net
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 skiers coming from the Sheep Mountain Lodge weekend. The ski will be on and off the creek and...

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Middle Fork Loop, Chugach Mountains

February 22, 2020
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 8 miles total
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
Tour Leader: Monica O'Keefe, 907-350-5300, monicaokeefe@gmail.com
Ski with spectacular views of Rusty Point, Ptarmigan and O’Malley Peaks with grand views of the surrounding mountains. This is one of Anchorage’s most accessible backcountry tours. We’ll meet at the Prospect Heights trailhead at 9:30 a.m. and start...

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Denali View Chalet, two overnights, Peters Hills

February 28 - March 1, 2020
Level: Easy II
Distance: 8 miles one way to Chalet
Elevation Gain: Generally flat with rolling terrain
Tour Leader: Karlene Leeper, 907-440-0049, kbleeper@gci.net
Enjoy the weekend at the rustic, ski-in Denali View Chalet on Kroto Lake south of Denali. Ski eight miles to the lodge with just a day pack. Enjoy awesome views of Denali, fantastic company, wonderful group cuisine, sauna and more skiing on various trails in the area....

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CANCELED – Skookum Glacier

March 21, 2020
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 12 miles total
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Tour Leader: Anne Gore, 907-230-0772, anneegore@yahoo.com
This Tour is canceled for March 21, 2020.    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...

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