A new piece of equipment at the Arctic Valley Ski Area is promising smooth slopes all season long. In the past, conditions haven’t always been that great for skiers, but the facility’s manager says the installation of a new groomer will change that.


John Robinson-Wilson says the groomer came from a resort in Park City, Utah.


“They run somewhere around $400,000 brand new and we got this one for about a 10th of the price, which we were really happy with,” said Robinson-Wilson.


Arctic Valley had a groomer before, but it was slow and inefficient. It took 45 minutes per pass down the mountain. The groomer would have to circle around, climb the ridge in a less-steep area, take one pass down the mountain then do the loop again.


The new groomer has a winch, which will be attached to an anchor at the top of the ski run. The winch will give the groomer control on the way down and an assist on the way up.


“We’ll just be able to come straight down the hill, turn around here at the bottom, the winch will swing around to the front as we’re turning around and then we’ll be able to head straight back up the hill,” said Robinson-Wilson.


That will speed up the grooming process and all them to focus on areas never groomed before. Skiers say it’ll mean good conditions, even when there’s no fresh snow.


“Arctic Valley is great on a powder day. Once it gets tracked out for a while, it gets bumpy and choppy and anybody who’s been up here knows it’s not necessarily the easiest for beginners,” said Anchorage Ski Club marketing director Eric Pedersen.


It’s a new start for the Arctic Valley Ski Area, which has been struggling for the past few years. Robinson-Wilson says he’s already been talking to area youth ski-racing teams about taking advantage of the groomed conditions. They’re also planning to groom areas just for beginner skiers.


“We’re excited to have a groomer that’s in great shape to really do something different and do some serious grooming up here.


“We’ll see new clientele coming up here,” said Pedersen. “Hopefully get some fresh blood up here. Show we’re still alive.”


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