by Lorien Nettleton ~ March 14th, 2013
Registration for the Oosik Classic Ski race in Talkeetna was full by March 7th, and 700 skiers will line up under the railroad trestle on the Talkeetna River this Saturday to Start at High Noon. As KTNA’s Lorien Nettleton explains, the Oosik has managed to be predictably unique every year for the last 13 years.
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For 13 years, a group of nordic-skiers and snow-enthusiasts have helped make the Oosik Classic Ski race the spring break destination of choice for classic skiers of all strides. As always, this year’s race follows a new route, making use of the Talkeetna, Susitna and Chulitna rivers while staying in the roadless wilds north of town.
Master trail-setter Mike Wood says the grooming team has kept the trail interesting by mixing forest, muskeg, and river in to the terrain. The route starts on the Talkeetna river under the railroad trestle, and follows the river to billion slough, where it crosses over to the Susitna river. From there it’s up river 6 miles, and then crosses more forest and muskeg and tributaries of the Chulitna, before following the Chulitna back to town.
Every year a new route is devised by the trail groomers. Wood explains some of the thoughts behind this year’s route.
Wood explains that this year’s route gives people a chance to see why so many Talkeetna residents are concerned about the proposed susitna watana hydroelectric dam.
As always, the after-ski party at the Sheldon Community Arts hangar will feature beer and bands. With a capacity of only 250 people, and a maximum of 700 people signed up for the race, admission to the hangar is on a first-come, first-served basis.
The 13th annual Oosik Classic ski race starts at high noon on the Talkeetna River below the Alaska Railroad trestle.