Anchorage has received more than 30 inches of snow so far this winter, and with temperatures staying below freezing this year, the snow has stuck around. This means great conditions for nordic skiers — also known as cross-country skiers — both experts and novices.

If you’re a newbie who wants to get out on Anchorage’s trails but don’t know where to start, the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage (NSAA) has a few tips:

Renting Gear

The basic setup for classic cross-country skiing includes skis, boots and poles. These can be rented at Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking (AMH) or REI. The experts there can get you fitted with the right-sized gear for your weight and height. The most common mistake among beginners is using the wrong size, which can make skiing harder or uncomfortable.

Buying Gear

If you’d rather purchase your own gear, a brand new setup will run you $300-$400. You can also look for used gear deals around town, on Craigslist and at annual ski swaps.

Where to Start

The Kincaid Park Stadium in Anchorage offers an expanse of mostly flat, groomed ground. This is the best place for a brand new skier to try it out for the first time. There are also several small hills to practice uphills and downhills.


The trails at Kincaid Park are free to use, but an annual contribution to the NSAA is encouraged if you take advantage of the trails on a regular basis.

For more information, visit the NSAA website.

Rachael Penton can be reached via email or on Twitter @RachaelPenton.