I love living close to the Hillside/Chugach/Far North Bicentennial parks. It is one of the main reasons we live where we do. In the winter, when someone says they went skiing at Hiilside it usually means they did laps around the 15 kilometers of trail that is groomed for skate skiing. Sure, the groomed Hillside trails are nice, but I get sick of that loop pretty quickly.
Fortunately, there are at least another 30 kilometers of ski trails at Hillside that I never get sick of. The narrow single-track trails are perfect for old-school classic skiing. Blueberry Hollow, Speedway, Single Track Advocates, Middle Fork Loop, everything on the north side of Campbell Airstrip Road, the list goes on. I’ve been hitting these trails even more than normal recently. The narrow trails and tight turns are tremendous fun. I can ski for a couple of hours, and I feel more energized when I finish than I did when I started.
The proliferation of fat-tire bikes in the past few years means that these trails are almost always well-packed. Snow bikes make great groomers. The trails are even a little too-well packed for my taste, but its worth the trade-off of seeing so many different users (bikers, runners, showshoers, walkers, skiers, sledders) all sharing the same trails. I’ll refrain from a rant about the whole skier/biker/walker conflict non-sense that people in Anchorage just love to get fired up about (refrain for now, anyway. I can feel a rant coming on at some point…). Instead, I’ll just share a map of the loop that I did on Saturday. I started at Service High School and skied for an hour and 45 minutes entirely on narrow trails. Okay, okay the first part of the loop was on classic-only ski trails, but everything else was multi-use.