Thank you to our Nordic ski community for your concern, support and patience regarding the snowmaking system at Kincaid Park. We appreciate the system’s importance to Alaska’s skiers and trail users and to the many local programs and community events that rely on the system’s snow for success. NSAA Operations and office staff along with a team of tireless volunteers will continue working hard until the snowmaking system is back online. If all goes well in the days ahead, snowmaking could be back underway by the end of the week.

The system suffered a sudden shutdown while making snow on January 4. After a tricky and thorough inspection by staff, volunteers and a third-party electrician, the problem was isolated to an electrical issue with a well pump that is set 400 feet below ground. Due to the pump’s position and weight (several hundred pounds), a drill rig is needed to reach it for a full diagnosis. NSAA engaged M&W Drilling, which originally drilled the well and is familiar with the system; they will start the pump removal on Tuesday (January 29); their rigs have been tied up around the state in recent days. Meanwhile, staff and volunteers identified a new pump in Anchorage in case a replacement is needed; purchased a matching electrical controller from Pennsylvania, which will arrive this week; and is securing funding for the work and any related pump repair, purchase and installation costs, which could run $14,000-$25,000 in total. The NSAA board approved necessary funding and staff will continue working with partner organizations to assist in covering costs, as well.

While this is an urgent reminder of the importance of the snowmaking system in recent skis seasons, it’s also a reminder of the cost, delicacy and demands of that work, as well as the overwhelming and generous efforts of NSAA’s team members, volunteers, members and community partners. Again, thank you all.

Meanwhile, NSAA will continue carefully and thoughtfully grooming the snow that is available and share milestone updates about the snowmaking system as they happen. We will also, like you, keep our fingers crossed for a great week of work ahead and for Mother Nature to come through with lots of natural snow the rest of the season!