Skiers raise money to use course
Haines Ski Club officials this week said they hope to have a tracked, cross-country ski trail at the Valley of the Eagles Golf Links early next week, following a discussion of fees for use of the privately-owned property.
The Haines Ski Club has been setting a track at the course for about six years at no cost, but course owner Stan Jones said he loses money on the course that incurs maintenance costs, including cutting brush and landscaping.
In the past, Jones also has allowed the club to store track-making equipment in a building there. “If people who are regular participants in the golf course pay their way, it would be nice if other people who use the course also pay… We’re just seeing if we can generate some kind of revenue,” he said this week.
Ski club president Bill Holton said he’s been speaking with Jones and would like skiers to contribute to a lump-sum donation to Jones for using the course this winter. “Stan Jones needs to be thanked. He’s been letting us use his course for years for free. We’d like to get the golf course opened.”
Holton said Tuesday the club has raised $250 toward use of the course to date, and that more donations can be made to the Haines Ski Club account at the bank or at a kitty at Alaska Backcountry Outfitter.
Jones also has suggested a “season pass” fee of $50 per skier in future years. That compares with a $22 fee for shooting nine holes of golf and a $600 annual membership in the golf club, Jones said. Those fees are inexpensive compared to ones at golf courses in the Lower 48, he said.
“We’ve tried to have things so people can afford to do it. At times I think we should just fence it in and lock the gate. It’s a struggle,” Jones said.
Holton said the course is an important skiing area. Its relatively flat condition makes it attractive for all levels of skiers and the equipment storage shed means one volunteer can quickly set a track. Otherwise, several volunteers are needed.
Its proximity to town also makes it attractive, Holton said. “You can go out there for an hour and get your skiing in and be right back in town.”
The ski club recently set a two-mile loop at Chilkoot Lake, starting on Chilkoot River Road. “It’s not windy, the water’s flowing and there’s ducks and eagles and water ousels out there. It’s magic,” Holton said.
Holton said the club also was looking at setting a track into Chilkat State Park. A three-mile loop track was set last weekend at 25 Mile Haines Highway, starting at the old river dike there, according to club volunteer Jim Stanford.
To get on an e-mail list for updates on cross-country trail tracking and grooming, e-mail Reuben Loewen at email@example.com