Juneau needs more trails for cross-country skiing

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2008

You're skiing along a groomed trail, which has not yet been touched by another pair of skis. The snow sparkles and glitters, dusting the trees and covering the ground in a thick, fluffy blanket. You glide down the trail with ease, the rhythmic pace of your skiing never faltering, as the trail ahead sings to you, twisting and turning through the snowy woods, uphill and downhill.

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This is a perfect cross-country skiing day. Too bad there are so few trails in Juneau.

I used to cross-country ski every day, until last year when I moved to Juneau. In Anchorage, the trails were great. They were long and always fun. But Juneau is lacking in both quantity and quality for good cross-country skiing trails. We need more.

Sure, some people might argue that it is too wet and there is not enough snow, but, if there is enough snow for a downhill ski area, then there is enough snow for more cross-country trails.

There are some trails by the Mendenhall Glacier and there is a loop on Eaglecrest, but neither set of trails is good. All the trails are circles that aren't groomed enough. When you ski on the lake, you sink in the snow, so it's very difficult to ski. On all of the trails, you go around and around in circles, seeing the same exact scenery, making it boring. If Juneau had more trails, cross-country skiing would be longer and more fun here.

In Anchorage, I skied 40 kilometers without ever going on the same trail more than once. I could even go 50 kilometers if I liked! In Juneau the longest loop is 5 kilometers. If we had more trails, we could switch trails when they intertwine or finish the loop (only doing it once) and start another.

Not only is cross-country skiing fun, but it's great exercise, too! According to www.alive.com, exercise keeps your immune system strong and is good for your vital organs. It also supports your circulatory system and is one of the best ways to help your body relax and relieve stress. Cross-country skiing does all these things and more. Cross-country skiing is also very low impact, unlike running. When you're running, your knees and feet are under constant strain, but in cross-country skiing, somebody with bad knees can easily ski.

If Juneau had more trails of better quality, people could learn and experience this great and wondrous sport for themselves. Cross-country skiing is a great sport for people who want a fun and healthy way to enjoy the winter. So go ahead, Juneau, make more trails!

• Savannah Desatoff is an eighth-grader in Sarah Brooks' Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School writing workshop. From the Hallways is a monthly column showcasing the thoughts and opinions of students in McKenna's high school journalism class and Brooks' middle school writing workshop.

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