Fantastic news for Alaskan and North American XC skiers – A 400 mile long ski tunnel project from Anchorage to Fairbanks to be started in 2010 with initial ground breaking ceremony.
One of the world’s largest oil and mineral extraction companies, Alaskan Oil, Gas, & Natural Resources (AOGNR) has agreed to develop a state of the art cross country ski tunnel from Anchorage to Fairbanks. This announcement is the second million dollar deal for xc skiers in recent weeks, after the University of New Hampshire ski team received a million dollar gift from an alumni to spear head a large ski team fundraiser.
This tunnel in Sweden will soon be 'old news'
The tunnel will most likely be built in conjunction with a new natural gas pipeline, which will run south through the state from the North Slope. The tunnel will be dug into the ground and be 12 feet tall and 20 feet wide and have a state of the art glass roof to allow for natural light. Regular grooming equipment will be used to set both classic and skate lanes.
Alaska skiers and coaches are thrilled about the prospect of never having to rollerski again. Between APU's Eagle Glacier facility and the new tunnel, Alaska will be unmatched in offering year-roud skiing opportunities.
The temperature in the tunnel will be 30 degree Fahrenheit year round, and when the sun is high in the sky (which only happens for about three months in the summer), it will feel like spring conditions in such places as Tahoe or Bend .only the snow temperature will remain consistent! State engineer Rick McKlintock pointed out that, â€œbecause of the permafrost which will surround most of the subterranean tunnel, keeping the temperature below freezing during the summer will be fairly easy.â€
Some people have voiced concern that maybe the temperature shouldn’t remain constant. Anchorage skier Tim Kelley, who has skied almost the entire route for the tunnel, says: â€œThe tunnel sounds like a good deal. But 30 degrees is too warm for the Fairbanks folks. There needs to be a separate thermostat for the tunnel section from Healy north, to keep that part of the tunnel at 40 below.â€
The tunnel will have multiple entrances for skiers and winter enthusiasts. The main entrances will be in the bigger cities, with be Birch Hill (Fairbanks) and North Anchorage (site yet to be determined) as the main hubs (and tourist traps). Forty-seven other smaller entrances will be built into the tunnel, with in such better-known cities as McKinley Park Village, Talkeetna, and Healy (site of a large open pit coal mine, and believed to be associated with lobbyists).
Soon the 'reflector tree' will need a new sign that says “Ski Tunnel ->”
Critics, including many environmental groups, have speculated that this deal was brokered by Alaska senator Ted Stevens (R). Stevens, a former head of the Senate appropriations committee, is notorious for his large pork riders on passing bills. In fact, Politicians and skeptical lobbyists are convinced that this is a grand idea initiated to divert some of the negative attention from President Bush who has been under fire during his second term. Many democrats have nicknamed the project the â€œski tunnel to nowhere.â€
The tunnel will be the ideal place to hold World Cup stage races and ski marathons. The tunnel will be multi-use during odd-numbers months, opening up the possibility of using it for many other events as well. With global warming, the tunnel might soon the only way to hold the Iditarod sled dog race.
Tim Kelley mentioned another possible use. â€œBecause Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s husband Todd is a frequent winner of the 2000 mile Iron Dog snowmobile race, I figure she is going to want the tunnel open for snowmobiles. And you can’t argue with Governor Sarah! Because she is HOT!â€
The snow will produced using former Dartmouth graduate Johnny “Miracle Man” Rasnok's just patented “spray and freeze” technology which makes snow appears like a snow storm any time need to increase the snow thickness. The technology requires a fire sprinkler network of water pipes, – but that's the least of our concerns said AOGNR's spokesman Roger Frenchman at yesterday's press conference at the downtown Anchorage convention center.
It is said that the hotel will be based on the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska, but 'much fancier'
Shuttle service will be available to transport luggage from one location to the next. The tunnel is of course intended to help boost cross country skiing in Alaska and the lower-48 , but will also be a major tourist attraction for European and Asian tourists. The popular ski tunnel in Vaukati Finland will look like a joke when this project is completed. It's projected that more that up to 1 million European cross country skier will visit the tunnel in the first 24 months of operation.
Book your spots now, to avoid the rush in 2010!
Source: Alaska Informational Department/CSB