Icicle Double 2017

Contributed by Jeff Kase

Icicle Double 2017
December 30-31, 2017 – 10AM
The Mat Su Ski Club (MSSC)
Government Peak Recreation Area (GPRA)
N Mountain Trails Dr. Palmer
Cost: $50 per day Adv. $60 per day on Race Day

What are you doing after Christmas and before New Year’s?  

The Mat Su Ski Club (MSSC) is scheduled to host a 2-day Nordic ski event on December 30th and 31st. Both days of the Icicle Double will have 30K, 10K and 5K distances available for skiers to participate in. Saturday will be conducted in the classic technique, and Sunday will be conducted in the skate technique.  

The end of December is a good time of year to hold a ski race. Many of us will have some extra days off work or school during this time of year, which means that we will have more time for skiing. All those holiday cookies you love to eat will provide you with the energy you need to stay warm and ski lots during this time of year. An early-season race on your schedule will be a good opportunity to practice your pre-event routine, and see how your body reacts to a race situation.                                     

If you plan to bring in the new year at a costume party, the Icicle Double is a good place to test out people’s reaction to your costume. Does your New Year’s resolution involve getting more exercise and skiing more?  

The Icicle Double is scheduled to be conducted at Government Peak Recreation Area (GPRA), which is located about an hour from Anchorage at the base of Hatcher Pass in the Mat-Su Valley. Regardless of where you live, GPRA is easy to get to if you are coming out for the day, or there are affordable lodging options for those who want to stay close to the action. The stadium area is at an elevation of about 900 feet, which often receives snow when other lower elevation trail systems may be getting rain. Because the GPRA trails are tucked up against the Talkeetna Mountains, we often are spared from the destructive force of the winds. Have you seen the view of Pioneer Peak from the parking lot at GPRA?

There might be 30 people or there might be 130 people ready to go when you get to the start line. One thing for sure is that the crowd will be diverse. Multi-generational families with kids in backpacks, kids on hand-me-downs, adolescent high schoolers, caring parents and grumpy grandparents line up next to each other at the start. Solo recreational skiers, college team members, dedicated master skiers and elite professional racers make up the front of the pack. Do you have what it takes to finish the course, or do you have what it takes to make the podium?

Over the summer, the MSSC constructed 5K of new homologated (wider and steeper) trails at GPRA. The stadium is bigger. The climb out of the stadium is impressive. The climb up to the finish is decisive. If the Valley gets enough snow, then the Icicle Double will incorporate these new trails with our existing trail system to make a 10K loop, which means a 3-lap course for the 30K event. If you sign up for the 10K, then every minute will be on a different part of the trail. Lap courses are good for spectating, and they allow the participant to become familiar with the course. Too many laps and things get confusing. Three laps provide just the right mix of new and predictable. Will there be enough snow to use the new trails?

At the end of the second day, there will be an awards ceremony and snacks in the warm chalet. The sponsors for the raffle are pouring in, which means your chances of leaving with good memories and swag are increasing. There will be cash prizes for the top three men and women for 30K overall - $300 for first, $200 for second and $100 for third. Ribbons will be awarded to the top three men and women overall in the 10K and 5K divisions. Do you need a new t-shirt or water bottle?

The Icicle Double is the premier event hosted by the MSSC. This 2-day event is held at the perfect time for you to do lots of skiing during the darkest days. Weather going to Hatcher Pass or GPRA, the Valley is easy to get to and often provides the best early-season conditions. Bring the family or wax with HF, either way you will be in good company.  

We are very proud of our growing trail system, and want to share them with you. Thank you to the wonderful community support in the form of prizes, money and participation.  

“It’s a great day to be a skier!”