New ski trails will be topic Friday; Park ranger to address Ski Club; ski swap set for Dec. 4
Add new ski trails on state lands to the list of winter recreation opportunities in Haines.
State park ranger Preston Kroes said he’ll be buying two snowmachines, a track-setter and groomer for use on lands around Haines with a $33,600 grant he received through the state Recreational Trails grant program.
The two-year grant has a matching portion that will pay for the state’s time and labor setting track, Kroes said this week. He hopes to have the equipment ready to go by mid-winter.
Kroes will speak at a reorganizational meeting of the Haines Ski Club 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at the ANB Hall, including asking where skiers want tracks set.
Kroes said trails would be developed on state forest and park lands and would be directed for multiple uses, such as dog sledding and snowshoeing. The grant application was made more competitive due to strong local interest in the form of letters of support from residents.
"With that kind of community support, it was almost automatic," he said.
Ski club president Dan Egolf said he wants to hear from anyone interested in winter recreation, and one topic he wants to address is safety. He’s heard from residents interested in coordinating an avalanche clinic.
"There have been situations where people have been skiing and snowboarding on the same slope where snowmachiners are crossing above them, which could cause avalanches," he said. "When you talk about safe recreation, avalanche training is a big part of it around here. We drown-proof our kids in the swimming pool, and we live in a place where winter recreation can be hazardous. We need to avalanche-proof them, too."
Egolf said training focuses on route finding and rescue. "It’s real fun, but it’s very serious," Egolf said. "It’s like a treasure hunt."
A few other proposed items for discussion on Nov. 12 are fees, group outings, membership on the club’s board of directors and financing for a hut on Mount Ripinsky.
"We’re just a group of winter recreationists. We’ve continued to set cross-country tracks, but there’s a lot more that people are interested in," Egolf said.
He noted track work mostly has been done by volunteers, and the ski club has provided fuel for the snowmachines in the past.
In related news, a local "ski swap" to benefit the Haines Venturer Scouts is set for the Community Ed. bazaar Dec. 4 at the school. Organizer Leigh Horner said she will accept "gently used" winter sports equipment by donation or for 50 percent commission on sale items. Items for the swap should be brought to the school library 2 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 3.
The Chilkat Snowburners snowmachine club will hold its first meeting of the year 2 p.m. Saturday at the car wash building on Main Street.