NSAA Backcountry Tours

2021-22 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

24th Annual Turkey Day Shake-off – Archangel Road or Independence Mine, Hatcher Pass, Talkeetna Mountains

Friday, November 26, 2021
Level: Easy III
Distance: 8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 800-1000 feet Archangel/1000 feet Independence Mine
Tour Leader: Karlene Leeper, kbleeper@gci.net, 907-440-0049
Join us for this post-Thanksgiving shake-off 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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Iditarod National Historic Trail, Turnagain Pass, Kenai Mountains

December 11, 2021
Level: Moderate II
Distance: 8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1000-1100 feet
Tour Leader: Courtney Gerken, 907-317-5545; courtneyLKgerken@gmail.com
Enjoy a great ski on part of the Iditarod National Historic Trail (INHT).  We will start at the bathrooms on the east side of the highway at Turnagain Pass.   We will begin with a gradual ski in on a well-developed narrow trail through the forest with short climbs...

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

January 7, 2022
Level: Easy II
Distance: 4-5 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 a loop around the municipality and APU trails.  We will ski on forested trails through rolling terrain. The trails are often not well groomed during most of the season.  Please bring your classic skis and...

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Matanuska Glacier from Caribou Creek

January 17, 2022
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 10 miles total
Elevation Gain: Downhill at beginning, climb at 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 frozen creek and through some brush, but mostly open terrain.  We’ll ski...

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Denali View Chalet, two overnights, Peters Hills

February 11-13, 2022
Level: Easy II
Distance: 8 miles one way to chalet
Elevation Gain: Generally flat, with rolling terrain
Tour Leader: Karlene Leeper at 907-440-0049 for reservations; kbleeper@gci.net
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 a snowmachine.   Enjoy awesome views of Denali, fantastic company,...

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Middle Fork Loop, Chugach Mountains

February 12, 2022
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 9 miles total
Elevation Gain: 1400-1500 feet cumulative with ups and downs
Tour Leader: Courtney Gerken, 907-317-5545; courtneyLKgerken@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 am and start...

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Hatcher Pass (location TBD based on conditions), AT/Tele tour

February 19, 2022
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 3-5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1000-2500 feet
Tour Leader: Courtney Gerken, 907-317-5545; courtneylkgerken@gmail.com
  We’ll ski up the road that goes over the pass to April Bowl and then ski down the northeast face of April Bowl.  Depending on how the group is feeling, we can do multiple runs or try another nearby mountain.  Be sure to bring comfy warm layers and some good...

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Location TBD (Hidden Lakes/Ship Pass or Nancy Lakes)

February 27, 2022
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 10-12 miles
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Tour Leader: Mary Vavrik, 907-306-7686; mvavrik@gci.net
  We’ll ski somewhere fun, depending on snow conditions.  Hidden Lakes/Ship Pass are off of Powerline Pass, and Nancy Lakes has a fun loop with rolling hills.  Meet at 9:00 a.m.   Meeting location TBD, depending on skiing location. All NSAA Backcountry Tour...

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Center Ridge, Turnagain Pass, Kenai Mountains

March 5, 2022
Level: Moderate III
Distance: 7-8 miles
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Tour Leader: Tim Davis, 713-213-1168; timothy.davis@utexas.edu
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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Manitoba Mountain AT / Tele-ski and Touring options, two overnights

March 11-13, 2022
Level: Advanced I
Distance: Manitoba ~6 miles total Touring option (easy level 2): 3-8 miles total
Elevation Gain: Manitoba ~2300 feet Touring option: 100 feet
Tour Leader: AT/Tele ski: Michael Henrich 907-632-6440; mhenrich@gci.net and Timothy Davis, 713-213-1168; timothy.davis@utexas.edu
    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...

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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Skookum Glacier, Kenai Mountains

March 26, 2022
Level: Moderate I
Distance: 12 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Tour Leader: Alden Worachek; 907-903-8791; abinak@gci.net
This will be a kick and glide tour up to the Skookum Glacier.  On a sunny day, we’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.  Depending on snow conditions, we may...

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Reed Creek Overnight Backcountry Camping, Talkeetna Mountains

April 9-10, 2022
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 16, 2022
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 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...

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