Some Alaskans are getting their barbecues and fishing gear ready in the lead-up to Memorial Day.
Eric Packer and David Norris, meanwhile, captured video of a glorious day of cross-country skiing Thursday — the end of the seventh month of trail grooming at Hatcher Pass in the Mat-Su.
"It was unbelievable — it was great conditions yesterday," Ed Strabel, one of the Mat-Su Ski Club's groomers, said in a phone interview Friday morning. "It looks like last night we had a pretty good freeze-up there, so it's probably going to be bombproof conditions today."
The club started grooming Hatcher Pass trails in October. Strabel said relatively few freeze-thaw cycles early in the season have combined with a cool, overcast spring to leave "awesome" skiing that could stretch into June.
"It's just hanging on," he said.
The club is grooming again Saturday morning. More ambitious recreators, like Packer and Norris, can venture off the trails onto a firm crust that's formed in the pass, allowing skiers to roam all over.
Packer, who trains with Alaska Pacific University's elite cross-country ski team, filmed the video that he posted to Instagram late Thursday. It shows his teammate Norris — the winner of the 2016 men's Mount Marathon race — making smooth telemark turns in a short-sleeve shirt.
The pass is a 75-minute drive from downtown Anchorage.