Tour of Anchorage

Anchorage is the best Nordic ski town in the US. Groomed by the NSAA, Anchorage has over 150 km of groomed trails. Users pay $85 per year. 

The highlight of Anchorage Nordic skiing is The Tour of Anchorage, a 25 to 50 km nordic skate race in early March. The race starts at Service High and finishes on the far side of town at Kincaid Park. The route includes Spencer Loop, which is the most grueling trail in Anchorage.

This year I chose to not skate the tour, and took photos and cheered instead. This was a wise decision, since my wife was in top skate condition, and if by chance I finished before her, friends thought my romantic life might become limited.

The 8:30am elite start at Service High below the pyramid of Mount Williwaw (5,445'), the highest peak in the Chugach Front Range. James Southam, in the yellow vest, was the most recent winner in the race. My buddy Max Kaufman, in the yellow jacket, came down from Fairbanks for the event. He's roasting in the 8-degree heat.  

 

James breaking the corduroy at the top of Spencer Loop.

 

Former Olympic biathlete Rachel Steer leading the women. She's tuning up to skate the White Mountains 100 race in late March. For several years I knew Rachel when she worked as a photo editor for Alaska magazine. 

 

James Southam a smidge behind Dylan Watts and Mark Iverson. Dylan won in 2:15:01 hours.

 

Rachel crossing the finish line as the second woman in 2:45:11 hours. She's followed by Rebecca Konieczny from West Yellowstone, Montana.

 

At the finish line I realized my dream dog is a basset hound.