Winter Adventure Book challenges people to explore Mat-Su
With all of the amazing views Alaska has to offer, even sub-zero temperatures won't stop Kate Arnold from getting outside.
"It was 20 below zero and we went up Blueberry Knoll," she said about her most recent group hike.
In fact, there's almost no winter activity she'll pass up.
"We snowboard, ice-climb, skate-ski, we ice skate. I love snowshoeing. I love being out in the mountains," Arnold said.
She helped start the Soles in the Backcountry Six Peak Challenge several years ago to get people to explore new trails throughout the summer. Now she wants to encourage others to enjoy Alaska's darker months too.
Arnold, who is the marketing director for Active Body Gym in Palmer, partnered with the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation to come up with a Winter Adventure Book to give people a new challenge.
There are six categories that include skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire biking, as well as some bonus adventures like renting a public-use cabin or taking an avalanche safety course.
The challenge also encourages volunteering for community groups and participating in events like the Nunataq Snowshoe Race Series or Willow Winter Carnival 5K.
The goal is to finish 20 activities – with at least two from each section – between January and April 27. You'll need a GPS location or picture to prove you earned your stamp.
"The Mat-Su is a huge place and I think if you live in Fishhook or you live on Lazy Mountain or you live in the Butte you know the trails in that area so we wanted to create a winter adventure book so that would help introduce community members to more trails and activities throughout the borough," said Kim Sollien, with the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation.
If you don't own snowshoes or a fat-tire bike, local businesses are there to help. Backcountry Bike and Ski in Palmer has seen an increase in people gearing up for colder outdoor activities.
Owner Anthony Berberich said his staff can help you try before you buy. A two-day fat-tire bike rental is $120.
"If they decide they want [to buy] a bike they can take that $120 and put it toward the purchase price. That way it's kind of a demo program but we can get people out riding bikes," Berberich said.
The booklet provides locations for other gear rental shops around Anchorage and the Mat-Su.
"A lot of businesses struggle in the wintertime. Allowing other people to know what these businesses sell is a great opportunity to get them in there," Arnold said.
While the challenge may seem daunting, Arnold said there's an activity for every skill level.
"It's not something that needs to be scary or fearful. It's fun and exciting and people should really go outside their box and try something new," she said.
The booklets are $10 and can be purchased at Active Soles or the Mat-Su Trails and Park Foundation. Both are located in the Koslosky Center in Palmer.
The money goes towards prizes that will be awarded to people who finish the challenge at a tailgate party at Skeetawk in Hatcher Pass on April 27.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
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