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Gov. Sean Parnell is urging Alaskans this winter to get off the couch and into the outdoors.
He is one of 15 governors across the nation backing January as "Learn-A-Snow Sport Month."
With Alaska's long winters and often harsh weather, it's easy for most to keep their jackets in the closet. But experts say it's equally important to stay active year round, and January is as good a month as any.
And in honor of "Learn-A-Snow Sport Month," Eaglecrest Ski Area is boosting it's efforts to motivate locals to "get out, learn, participate and improve."
"(We) recognize that Alaskans need to get out and move, especially with our winters," Jeffra Clough, Eaglecrest director of sales and marketing, said. "So in January, we're encouraging people to join us in winter."
Clough said Juneau's local ski hill is the only ski area in Alaska to participate in the month-long awareness effort.
In it's second year, "Learn-A-Snow Sport Month" encourages children and adults to try a snow sport such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing or snowboarding, and also encourages those already involved to try something new. This year's spokesman is Glen Plake, a long-time alpine enthusiast and colorful character perhaps best known for his always-there mohawk and extreme antics.
And while Clough said the ski area already has many instructional programs in place, there's a few special deals out there for folks interested getting active.
One is a trio package that includes three lessons, three lift tickets and three rentals for around $100. Clough said if participants complete the three sessions, they can buy a season pass for half off the regular price.
"What the industry has found, is that three times usually will get (skiers/riders) hooked," she said.
Or they'll find it it's not for them. And if that's the case there's a few other options being offered in January. There will be a "Try Nordic" workshop held Saturday, Jan. 2, an adult Sunday Special held every weekend during the month and a discounted "Learn to Ski or Ride" package.
Local groups are also planning on participating. Discovery Southeast is holding a snowshoe class on Monday, Jan. 18. Elementary students in third, fourth and fifth grades will have a chance to ski during the annual Learn to Ski Free Weekend beginning Jan. 29, and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters and CBJ employees will also get a chance to slip the slopes.
Clough said the area heard about the "Learn-A-Snow Sport Month" through their "associations with various national organizations" and felt it fell right in line with their goals.
"We want to attract new and what I call 'casual users' or forgotten users to Eaglecrest," she said. "Plus, it's just about getting people outside."
• Contact Outdoors editor Abby Lowell at email@example.com or 523-2271.