Ski Land deal lands passes for students
Students taking 9 or more credits in a classroom can now get season passes for Ski Land, a local ski area located 20 miles north of Fairbanks at Cleary Summit. However, the Hulbert Nanook Terrain Park will no longer be available on campus.
Over the next five years UAF is transferring $70,000 in private funds as well as park rails, fencing, signage and the trail grooming machinery to Ski Land in exchange for the passes. Previously it cost about $35,000 per year to run the terrain park.
“Basically we gave them an evaluation of all of the equipment and goods, and we applied that so for the next five years it’s buying them season passes for all of the students,” DJ Larson, Ski Land’s general manager, said.
To receive their season pass, students can go to the SRC between Oct. 25 – 27. After Oct. 27 students can have a voucher printed at the SRC which can be redeemed for a pass at Ski Land. The season pass is not available for students only paying the $75 SRC fee and not taking 9 credits and students still need to pay for gear rentals or bring their own gear to make use of the ski area. Ski Land student passes ordinarily cost $350 for season passes and $30 for day passes, according to Ski Land’s website.
The terrain park, which consisted of a variety of jump and rail “features” for skiers and snowboarders to perform tricks on, is being moved to Ski Land in an effort to extend the life of the terrain park with its remaining funding, as well as provide a better experience for students who weren’t interested in doing tricks.
“The terrain park was started with a donation from the Hulbert family. We had gone through three-quarters of that funding and essentially had two more years left. And obviously given the budget climate I didn’t feel strongly I was going to find that funding through general funds or student fees, etcetera, so I tried to use my resources more effectively,” Mark Oldmixon, director of the UAF department of recreation, adventure and wellness, (DRAW) said.
According to Oldmixon, the deal turns two years of just a terrain park into five years of a full ski area experience.
The deal was primarily organized by Oldmixon and Larson.
“Ski Land had a lot more to offer and we then could jump start their terrain park experience so it was just really a synergistic relationship,” Oldmixon said. “They’re really community-minded and looking to grow Ski Land so it’s a win-win partnership.”
“On our side we’re going to get so many new users so it makes it a very good deal on our side too,” Larson said. “Everybody kind of ends up with the better hand in this.”
However, given the distance between UAF and Ski Land, the new location of the terrain park will be less accessible for students without reliable transportation. To mitigate this, Ski Land may offer shuttles during their busier spring months.
“In the spring months when it warms up a bit we’ll be exploring options to have a shuttle running, and that’s something we’ll work with DRAW on to have a stop on campus as well as probably at Fred Meyers to pick up anybody who’s not willing to make the drive up there,” Larson said.
In the past, Outdoor Adventures has also offered trips to Ski Land for students and they will continue to offer skiing trips this season as well.
Ski Land has been in continuous operation since it was started in 1962 by a group of Fairbanks skiers, and has been recently been purchased by local company Far North Alpine Ventures, LLC in Sept. 2015. In previous years Ski Land mainly consisted of more challenging runs for experienced skiers and snowboarders, but among other additions Ski Land now has a hike-up beginner hill.
“It will be a great time too for those who have never skied before to give it a shot for the first time. The spring months are nice and warm, it’s a great place for even those who aren’t interested in skiing to just grab some of the tasty food we have up there and sit with a beautiful view and do your homework and watch other people ski,” Larson said.
The terrain park at Ski Land will still be called the Hulbert Nanook Terrain Park, which will be reflected in trail maps and signage. The original donors support the move.