Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift

The Skeetawk ski area located in the Hatcher Pass will get funding for its first ski lift. The Skeetawk is a great area now for sledding but by Christmas next year it will have a downhill slope served by a lift.

The name Skeetawek is a phonetic spel of a Dena’ina word – Shk’ituk’t that means ‘where we slide down’ as per Louisa Branchflower, board president for Hatcher Alpine Xperience (HAX).

Amy O’Connor, the Executive Director of the non-profit group HAX in charge of building the Valley’s first downhill resort in the Mat-Su said that it will be a 1,200-foot triple chairlift with a 300+ foot of vertical drop.

Partnering with groups such as Rasmuson Foundation and the Mat-Su Health Foundation and thanks to also some private donations, HAX has got the $1.2 million it needs to purchase its first ski lift that will be put up in the next summer. The group will need $750,000 to cover installation costs.

O’Connor said “Building a ski resort from scratch is a ton of money, but it’s something we figured out is very doable. Our goal is to make this a community ski area so having support from small businesses, being able to have your kids ski, sit on a chair with a plaque on the back that says this chair was sponsored by, and getting families and businesses that they know, and love involved is really the feeling we’re going for.”

Skeetawk is receiving a big boost from the Matanuska Telephone Association (MTA). They are receiving the needed fiber for internet connectivity and the funding for the ski patrol for three years.

Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.
Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.

The total donation is about $300,000 as per Communications Director Jackie Kenshalo.

“We believe it’s a wise investment in our community and a wise investment in economic development and the health and wellness of our area,” Kenshalo said.

The aim of HAX members is to make skiing in the Valley affordable and accessible. Now people need to drive to Anchorage or Girdwood or come here to hit the back country. Sheetawk is a short drive from Palmer and Wasilla and will have easier runs for little ones.

“The backcountry skiing in Hatcher Pass is not the most kid-friendly,” O’Connor said. “Just the access is pretty tough, even starting kids out at the Mile 16 run is pretty challenging for first-time skiers.”

Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.
Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.

O’Connor said also that the long-term plan is to have a 6,000-foot detachable high-speed quad, in about five years on what will be the second phase of this project.

The 20-year goal will be a lift that goes all the way to Peak 4068 in the Government Peak area.

A bit more of Hatcher Pass from Wikipedia:

Hatcher Pass (3,886 ft or 1,148 m), also known as Hatcher’s Pass, is a mountain pass through the southwest part of the Talkeetna MountainsAlaska. It is named after Robert Hatcher, a prospector and miner. The nearest cities are Palmer and Wasilla approximately 12 miles (19 km) to the south, and Willow approximately 26 mi (42 km) to the west. The communities are at an elevation of approximately 250 ft (76 m) in the Mat-Su valley.

Skiing:

The area has a rich skiing heritage. Historic photos show miners recreating on skis. In the 1930s, Anchorage skiers were bused to the Fishhook Inn to use the rope tow there. That was only one of several small rope-tow ski lifts that have operated near the pass over the years up to the 1960s, although only traces of them can be found now. Many proposals to build a modern alpine ski area have been advanced over the years. In 2005 the Mat-Su Borough extended the electric grid and built a short access road to the proposed site of a base lodge.

The pass is one of the most popular road-accessible backcountry skiing areas in the state. Usually it is the first urban-accessible area of Alaska to get skiable snow in the fall.

Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.
Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.

The backcountry alpine skiing season generally extends from late September to late April.

Groomed skate and diagonal skiing trails winding amongst historical mining facilities in the high alpine area near the Hatcher Pass Lodge and the museum have a season that typically extends from October to April.

The first 10 kilometers of a Nordic ski area in the forests and glades at Government Peak Recreation Area the base of Government Peak were opened in December 2012 and a chalet was built in 2013.

Snowmachines are prohibited within large areas of the Hatcher Pass State Management Area that are frequented by skiers. There are several backcountry huts in the area; a wilderness loop can be travelled over the mountain passes and glaciers linking these huts.

More info:

KTVA

ADN

Wikipedia

Skeetawk Resort

The-Ski-Guru TRAVEL can organise your bespoke ski trip to the Americas, Alps or Japan, including for those going from Britain to Europe, booking your Eurotunnel trip, and for all trips: lodging, lift tickets, rentals, ski school, and all you need for an excellent vacation. Go to https://www.the-ski-guru.com/travel and upload your information – this page will be updated soon with more travel ideas. Check our Easter offer to Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Sölden to ski with your family.

Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.
Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.

You can start thinking about your trip, by reading the articles on the Planning your Ski Trip tab.  Or how to pack for your family ski trip.  If taking your furry friend abroad to the continent, read about the new Pet Travel Scheme update from DEFRA. Check out our tips for driving to the mountains.  If flying and renting a car in Europe, beware of the extra charges they will pass to you if you want winter tyres, snow chains or ski racks. If driving, check the winter tyres news for Europe and North America.

Or you can read our last news on equipment as seen at the London Ski Show. Also, the new range of skis of Black Crows, one of our favourite brands. Lots of snow makes you wonder how the resorts deal with the avalanche danger. Here you can read the interview to Coco Torres, former Head of Operations of Las Leñas, in Argentina, as how they dealt with avalanches at the resort. 

Or perhaps you may choose to read the Ski Resort NewsSki Passes News, and the Must-Read Guides to Lech,  Zermatt,  CourmayeurVal di Fiemme and Crans-Montana. Coming soon will be the guide to St Anton. Or  watch an amazing heli flight over the Mont Blanc Massif. Also see tips on how not to be scammed when booking a ski chalet.

You can also read what’s new at Les Trois Vallées and the last article on what is new at the Tirol ski areas,  in Cervinia, in La Plagne, in 3 Zinnen Dolomites ,  in Adelboden, Lenk and Kandertal, in Gstaad, in Chamonix,  in Georgia’s Gudauri Resort and in the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. And how the US Ski Team has chosen Alpe Cimbra to train for the following four ski seasons as their European home. And Saalbach is getting ready for the Ski World Cup. Here is the link to our post on the My Voucher Codes ranking of best European Ski Resorts. 

Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.
Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk Resort is. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.

You can plan where to eat in Aspen Snowmass or which events to attend on-mountain while there.  Sudtirol ski areas have started and their famous Christmas markets have kicked off too. And Cortina D’Ampezzo is getting ready for this winter and the 2021 World Ski Championships.  

Another classic resort, such as St Moritz has been in the news for its famous Cresta Run be opened again for women after a 89 years ban.

Also, you can read how Grandvalira will be staying together as one lift ticket company and how they are adding Ordino Arcalis to  this offer. And also read how someone tried to sabotage some lifts in Vallnord’s Pal Arinsal. And as if it is starting to be a trend, there were two lifts sabotaged in Passo Rolle, in Val di Fiemme, Trentino. Fortunately they were repaired in record time to open to the public.  Also, Mt Hood Meadows was forced to evacuate one lift with 150 skiers and boarders due to a power failure. And the same was the case in a lift with 140 skiers/boarders in Whitefish, Montana.  Or read about the latest investments in Whistler Blackcomb. Or see how Taos is going against the industry trend, and instead of merging with the two biggest oligopolies in skiing at the moment, it goes and buys an airline to get more bums in resort. Or how Jackson Hole is appealing to families and beginners – it is not only a resort for expert skiers anymore. Another great area for families is Stubaital in the Tirol. Courmayeur is opening this season two new trails, one that is 70% steep – not for the faint-hearted! Or read how a group of experienced industry insiders got together to purchase Tamarack Resort. And how Peak Resorts finalised the acquisition of the resorts of Snow Time. You can also check how Vermont’s ski passes are the most expensive in New England.

Sierra Nevada has opened a couple of weekends ago with the best snow base ever in its history. The Sun Up and Sun Down Back Bowls from Vail have opened as well, being the third time in this decade that they could open so early. Same case was with Aspen Snowmass that has already the 120% of its

Skeetawk resort in Hatcher Pass, Alaska. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.
Skeetawk resort in Hatcher Pass, Alaska. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.

median snowpack.. Grandvalira and Ordino Arcalis in Andorra have also opened. And the best US Ski Resort for the sixth year in the row as per the World Ski Awards, Deer Valley, is opening this weekend.  Also read how one employee of Aspen Ski Co got caught in an avalanche but got out unscathed while scouting terrain for the Aspen Mountain Powder Tours. Or how the a gondola of the new American Eagle lift from Copper Mountain crashed into the snow in a trial run. The resort confirmed that the chondola will be fixed before it’s opening day. Plus this week, some gondolas got tangled in Hochzillertal. And there was a gas explosion at the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof that injured six, before its opening date.

You can keep up to date on how are the sales for the EPIC and IKON passes are doing here. Read how Emma, the first Digital Mountain Assistant, is launched in Keystone now and will be rolled to eight other resorts this season. And even read about the new incorporation to the IKON Pass: Valle Nevado. Here is also a post on the South American resorts.  

Also, Rob Katz and his wife Elana Amsterdam donated 2 million USD in grants to support mental and behavioural health programs in ski towns of North America.

And here is a summary of a report by LISTEX on the State of the UK Snowsports Market.

And what Switzerland could look by 2060 due to climate change.

Or check out how now with the EPIC Pass you can ski in Europe, specifically in Les Trois Vallées and the resorts of Skirama Dolomiti in Trentino’s Italy. Or see our review of L’Héliopic Hotel Sweet & Spa if thinking in staying in Chamonix this winter.

Featured Image: Hatcher Pass in Winter, where Skeetawk resort will be developed. Skeetawk ski area gets funding for first ski lift.

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