Alaska’s warm weather creates sloppy conditions
ANCHORAGE- While the Lower 48 deals with another round of frigid weather, in Alaska it’s the warm temperatures making a mess of things.
Several events around the Anchorage Bowl are cancelled Saturday and Sunday due to sloppy conditions.
The warm weather turned the stadium at Kincaid Park into more of a swimming pool. Grooming crews can’t get out until the trails freeze.
“People get really anxious. They want to ski, so we try to do our best to get out here,” said Craig Norman, general foreman at Kincaid Park.
Once the freezing temperatures return, crews will be out 24 hours a day grooming, he said.
“We have a lot of races, a lot of people want to ski and we’re going to try our darndest to be able to do that for them,” Norman said.
The Nordic Skiing Association cancelled high school races scheduled for Sunday because of the soft trails.
People need to stay off the trails until groomers can get to work, Norman said.
Outdoor enthusiast Mark Rottman wanted to get outside in the sunshine, but found it too icy for skis and strapped on snowshoes instead.
“The equipment would sink right in,” he said. “I just tested out the bike path and I was sinking in. So the only way I’d do it is to walk on snowshoes on the single track so you don’t mess up the base for when they can do it.”
Like many people in Anchorage, he’s chomping at the bit to get out to enjoy some winter weather.
“This is insane,” Rottman said. “I’ve lived here since 1979 and we’ve had warm periods during the winter, but I don’t ever remember anything like this lasting this long.”
The warm spell means the race lanes at Tozier Track will stay empty this weekend as well. The trails are too soft for sleds, leaving mushers without a training ground.
“It does, it just basically ruins it. Everyone trains in the fall with a cart to get ready to train in snow,” said John Rasmussen, race director. “Then the snow comes and you start and now you can’t go back to a cart because there’s no place to train because there’s too much snow. Like I say, it just ruins it for everything.”
On a sunny day, Westchester Lagoon should be filled with skaters. With water pooling up on the ice, only Stephanie Anderson was out learning to use her new Nordic skates.
“It’s nice because the sun is out. It’s warm, it’s really warm,” Anderson said. “It feels like it’s close to 50. It’s pretty warm.”
Anchorage Parks and Recreation cancelled the family skating event at Westchester on Saturday, making it one more casualty of the warm, sloppy weather.