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Beth Bragg

The hit-and-miss ski season at Alyeska picks up again Friday, when the Girdwood resort will open after a four-day closure.

So far Alyeska has been open 10 days, with the longest stretch a five-day span earlier this month.

The entire mountain has yet to open during this snow-starved winter. The bottom of the mountain remains brown, but the upper mountain got seven inches of new snow early Thursday for a total depth of 54 inches, according to the resort's snow report.

When Alyeska reopens Friday, the Glacier Bowl Express will be the only chairlift running, and skiers will need to upload and download on the tram.

"Unfortunately we still don't have the coverage to open the entire mountain," Alyeska spokeswoman Amy Quesenberry said in an email...

Beth Bragg

Holly Brooks began her solo act with flair Friday.

Brooks, the two-time Olympic skier from Anchorage, made her debut on the FIS Marathon Cup circuit by capturing second place in the first race of the season.

Skiing in a mixed-gender 42-kilometer freestyle race in Livigno, Italy, Brooks edged a skier from Belarus by eight seconds to grab runnerup honors in the La Sgambeda Loppet. She finished in 1 hour, 43 minutes, 54.9 seconds, trailing winner Riitta Roponen-Liisa of Finland by 3:12.

"I was nervous," Brooks told fasterskier.com. "It was the first race of the season for me and I usually don't wait this long to start racing."...

Beth Bragg

Anchorage's cross-country ski community was rocked Friday by the death of Lars Spurkland, president of the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage and former head ski coach at East High.

A race will be held Saturday at Service High in honor of Spurkland, a 1993 graduate of Dimond High.

Spurkland, 39, suffered a ruptured aneurysm on Wednesday that caused cranial hemorrhaging, friend Jerry Ross said. He died Friday morning.

"No matter what the environment was, he was always very chill," said Tamra Kornfield, program director for the NSAA. "You could rely on him to settle everyone down. He was really humorous, easy to work with...

Beth Bragg

News of the death of Erik Peterson, who was killed in an avalanche Saturday while skiing not far from the Richardson Highway, hit hard in Anchorage, where Peterson coached sports at two high schools and was a recent student teacher at another.

Peterson was an assistant coach for the West High football team, an assistant coach for the Dimond High track and field team and a former student teacher at South High.

"He also worked up in Barrow and Delta Junction," said Tim Davis, head coach of the West football team. "He loved Alaska because he was able to coach sports and still get into the backcountry and just enjoy that Alaska lifestyle that we all love."...

Beth Bragg

After two weekends of World Cup competition, the U.S. Ski Team heads this week to Davos, Switzerland, where Alaska's Kikkan Randall and Sadie Bjornsen hope to keep improving.

The leader of the team so far has been Bjornsen, who on Sunday had the best finish in a classic-technique pursuit race, the last of three races in a World Cup mini-tour in Lillehammer, Norway. Bjornsen placed 18th after starting in 17th place.

Randall, the World Cup's reigning sprint champion who battled illness at the start of the season, improved from 63rd place in Saturday's skate race to 58th in the pursuit...

Beth Bragg

The theme of the latest class of inductees for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame?

Trailblazers.

Dick Mize is a builder of trails, a man whose passion and sweat helped give Anchorage a network of world-class nordic ski trails.

Nancy Pease is the queen of Alaska trail running, a woman who blazed her name into the record books at Mount Marathon, Crow Pass and Bird Ridge with performances that years later remain unequaled.

Michaela Hutchison blazed a trail for girls and women in wrestling in 2006 when she became the first girl in the nation to win a state championship against boys...

Beth Bragg

In a battle of conference heavyweights Saturday night, the UAA women's basketball team delivered a knockout punch.

The 18th-ranked Seawolves remained undefeated by pummeling 23rd-ranked Seattle Pacific 85-58 on the Falcons' homecourt.

UAA (7-0 overall, 2-0 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) raced to leads of 5-0 and 17-6 to put Seattle Pacific on the ropes early in the game at Royal Brougham Pavilion.

"I am a little surprised that it was like that," UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said. "They're a very good team. We came out and jumped on them and got some easy baskets right off the bat."...

Beth Bragg

A summer's worth of work paid dividends Saturday for Anchorage's Sadie Bjornsen, who crafted her best performance in a World Cup freestyle distance race.

Bjornsen, a member of the 2014 Winter Olympics team, skied to 20th place in a 5-kilometer freestyle race in Lillehammer, Norway.

Though it wasn't her best result of the young season -- she placed 17th in a 10-K classic last weekend in Finland -- Bjornsen was excited about her performance. Until Saturday, she had never cracked the top 30 in a World Cup freestyle distance race...

Beth Bragg

The night before the biggest race of her career, Allie Ostrander dreamed she was a national champion.

A few hours later, she was.

Ostrander, the marvel from Kenai who is setting new standards for Alaska high school distance running, won the 5-kilometer girls race at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.

Running against some of the nation's most talented high school runners, Ostrander established a lead about two miles into the 3.1-mile race and widened it in the final mile to win by six seconds.

"There's nothing like it. It's the best feeling I've ever had," Ostrander told reporters after the race...

Beth Bragg

For the second time this year, Anchorage snowboarder Ryan Stassel will help make history in his sport.

One of two Alaska snowboarders named this week to the U.S. Ski Team's freestyle squad, Stassel is scheduled to race when the World Cup goes to Turkey for the first time in history later this month.

More than $100,000 in prize money will be up for grabs at the big air competition, which will be doubly historic. Not only will it be the first World Cup event in Turkey, it will mark the first time women have competed in a big air competition sanctioned by the International Ski Federation...

Beth Bragg

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