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Steve Herschbach
12-02-2010, 06:30 AM
Snowmachiners get more room to roam

Anchorage Daily News / adn.com
(12/01/10 20:10:03)

Riding options for Alaska snowmachiners are expanding. On Wednesday, most snowmachining areas in the Chugach National Forest management plan were to be opened. But poor snow cover kept four closed: the Lost Lake and Primrose trails as well as the Twentymile and Placer River drainages.

These areas will be evaluated daily and opened once enough snow accumulates. A day earlier, much of Denali State Park opened to snowmachines. But the wind-scoured Curry and Kesugi ridges remained closed because snow cover blew away during recent storms.

Farther north, snowmachines can now be used for traditional activities at Denali National Park and Preserve in areas of the 1980 park additions south of the Alaska Range -- except for lands between Bull River and Windy Creek at the north end of Broad Pass near Cantwell, where snow cover is thin.

Areas north of the Alaska Range that were part of the 1980 additions remain closed. Park officials warned of thin ice and open water in some areas, frigid temperatures and the danger of rapidly changing conditions.

Meanwhile at popular Turnagain Pass -- where avalanche forecasters measured 113 inches of snow Nov. 1-12 -- the avalanche danger dipped to low, the safest measurement on a scale that ranges from low to extreme.

Forecasters cautioned that the wind slab on top of a snow crust can still pose dangers. Snowmachines must be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles to operate on public land.