Taking to the trails

by • March 24, 2015 • All about AnchorageComments (0)111

Choose your method: ski, bike, foot, or train

No matter the season, on foot, on wheels or on skis, it’s hard to beat Anchorage trails. While you might be tempted to imagine the trails as a summer pursuit, there’s no wrong time to get out and explore the network of paths and parklands that knit Anchorage together.
Whether you prefer to stick to groomed stuff or forge a path all your own, the trails beckon, especially this time of year, when the snow usually still covers enough land to allow off-trail exploration that might otherwise be swampy and wet in the summer.
You would have to try incredibly hard to ignore the new king of winter in Anchorage. Before our eyes, fat-tire biking has gone from fad to famous. And now anyone can give it a try before buying. The guys at Downtown Bicycle Rental have dipped their toes into the rental market for fat bikes. In addition to studded mountain bikes, they now have a limited number of chunky fat-tire snow bikes for those ready to give it a try. Several area bike shops offer rentals as well. A little secret: Alaska Pacific University rents outdoor gear to the public as well as students and staff. They’ve got a two-wheeled winter fleet as well.

The Alaska Railroad’s Ski Train event sells out quickly each year. It offers a train ride to some of the best backcountry skiing  close to Anchorage. COURTESY THE ALASKA RAILROAD

The Alaska Railroad’s Ski Train event sells out quickly each year. It offers a train ride to some of the best backcountry skiing
close to Anchorage. COURTESY THE ALASKA RAILROAD

Not all trails come gorgeously groomed, but sometimes that’s the appeal. Once a stopover on long, steam-powered train rides, the old town of Curry is still on the map today for one very big reason: ski train. The special Alaska Railroad train heads up the rails packed with backcountry skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts on March 14. The destination is a big draw; rail is the only practical way in or out for most. But the ride itself is something to see – a whole lot of folks with a shared love of the outdoors, packed into a train. There’s even a little polka in the mix. If you can score last-minute tickets, you have awesome, generous friends! If you can’t hop aboard in 2015, start planning for next year’s ski train; the event sells out very quickly every year.
Regardless of season, it doesn’t take specialized equipment or a ticket to enjoy the city’s trails. In fact, the same day as the ski train, there’s another annual event: A sign of spring, the Shamrock Shuffle is just around the corner. The 5K running race serves as an earlyseason tune-up for some, and a jog that ends at a pint for all. The run starts off Spenard Road and circles back for celebratory toasts at Bear Tooth Theatrepub. After all, it’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day.
“I could never resist the call of the trail,” Buffalo Bill said, reflecting on his life. While Cody had the American West on his mind, don’t be surprised if you hear that same phrase on the lips of someone here in Anchorage.

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