A history lesson: Anchorage’s trail system and the Nordic Skiing Association
If you’ve lived in Anchorage for any amount of time, you’ve likely enjoyed biking, hiking, or cross country skiing on one of the area’s many trails. Three of the people responsible for bringing those trails to Anchorage are Jim Burkholder, Richard Mize, and Lin Hinderman. The trio are all former cross country ski coaches in Anchorage, and members of the Alaska Cross Country Ski Hall of Fame.
When Mize and Burkholder arrived in Anchorage in the 1950s, the only place with groomed ski trails was Arctic Valley.
“We didn’t have any trails to ski on, so our technique practice was out away from the parking lot and around the hockey rink and then back,” says Mize.
The pair decided to change that, and soon the first ski trails were constructed at Russian Jack Springs. The trails gave student cross country skiers at East High School a place to practice.
The trail system continued to grow from there, with the help of Mize, Burkholder, Hinderman, and a group of dedicated parents and students. The group constructed trails at Kincaid and Hillside, and many other areas. Today, all but two Anchorage high schools have direct access to the trail system. That group of volunteers called themselves the Nordic Ski Club, and is now known as the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage. NSAA is a nonprofit organization that maintains the trails throughout Anchorage year round, keeping them groomed for skiers during the winter months.
Information on how to become a member of the NSAA: http://www.anchoragenordicski.com/membership/
NSAA Members can participate in these upcoming events:
Ski Train 2017: http://www.anchoragenordicski.com/events/ski-train/
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