Montana Creek SOS

August 27, 2020 – Montana Cr. Update

JNSC Members,

First we apologize for yet another email. This has been a bit challenging to keep on top of this situation and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee decision making process.

Important – if off road vehicles get the green light for winter operation on Montana Cr. Road –
We will lose our ski trail.

The decision on whether to keep motorized users off the Montana Cr. Ski trail in the winter has been put off yet another month. CBJ Parks and Rec. has decided to issue a request for comments. Information from CBJ can be found here.

The new deadline is September 30. So please if you have not sent in comments please do so and tell your skier friends that may not be members. Below is the address to the new comment form for you to use.

Please also send us a copy of your comments to

Points to assist you in your comments are listed below:

– If you just want to be short and sweet – just say you want the road to be closed to motorized users from Nov 1 to May 1.

– JNSC spends hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars grooming (156 days and over 835 hours last season) the road beyond the gate for non motorized users.

– A single motorized user can destroy the groomed trail by creating deep ruts which are not only hazardous but take many hours for volunteer groomers to remove.

– JNSC has provided volunteer grooming on Montana Cr. road for the past 15 years providing thousands of skier days to the public in the only reliably snow covered area at sea level.

– Motorized users are incompatible with skiers, snow-shoers, and hikers on the narrow roadway with numerous blind curves.

– Youth skiers spend many days and evenings skiing and training on this ski trail from beginning skiers to older ski team racers.

– JNSC volunteers helped to coordinate and provide labor to repair the bridge across Montana Cr. in addition to annually keeping the road clear of brush, fallen trees, and landslides.

– ORVs create an exclusive use zone around them just by their operation thereby excluding non-motorized users.

If you want to add anything further go for it. We look forward to reading your comments.

Thanks for your help,
JNSC Board

Thank you for the great year, JNSC news

Thank you for your membership for the 2019-2020 Nordic ski season!

June 2020

Thank you for your membership this Nordic ski season! This message is sent with hopes that you are well, hunkering down and enjoying the new ‘normal’, as much as possible, with outdoors activities. This message also contains very important information regarding Montana Creek Kaxdigoowu Héen trail, our ‘go to’ snow hole. Please read to the finish.

First the fun data that we collect: The JNSC experienced another leap in membership,topping out at around 659 members! Your membership dollars, combined with tremendous volunteers, maximize grooming. The data on how much was groomed is impressive: 156 days at Montana Creek Kaxdigoowu Héen, 135 at the Campground, 22 days at the North Douglas Pioneer Road, 15 at Eaglecrest. Over 1020 hours of volunteer time, 8,136 km groomed. Our ‘snow hole’ at Montana Creek Kaxdigoowu Héen was last groomed on May 7! Give a loud howling thank you to our volunteer groomers who consistently groomed, leading to hours of skiing and community building, outdoors, in the winter. And there is another cadre of the groomers who make sure the JNSC equipment is maintained, fueled, transported, and eventually stored for the summer and ready in fall for grooming. We are very grateful to them all. The JNSC continues to groom under agreements with the CBJ at the Pioneer Road, Montana Creek Kaxdigoowu Héen, and Eaglecrest, the USFS for the Mendenhall Lake and Campground and as a Generally Allowed Use on ADNR lands as well.

Before leaving the topic of grooming the JNSC Board wants members to know there is potential of losing Montana Creek Kaxdigoowu Héen as our ‘go to’ ski trail. This season, the trail was tracked by ATV’ers, multiple days, which destroys the grooming, and adds more hours of volunteer time to smooth and regroom. ATV and snowmachine users are professing it is their chosen location to build a road access to Spaulding Meadows for year round use which, if allowed in winter season, would destroy the JNSC grooming. The JNSC has been and continues work to untie the ‘Gordian Knot’ of land managers who can affect this through active conversations with ADNR, ADFG, CBJ and USFS. Here’s where you can help, we need your voices to chime in. If you are concerned about losing this seasonal ski zone please speak to your elected officials, agency permitters or favorite ATV’ers to insist that the trail be non-motorized during the winter season for JNSC grooming.

Notable this season was the expansion of ‘events’ that included the Community Race Series, a 3-evening series of ‘Women Ski’, a Drag Race, Southeast Snickerdoodle Skiathlon and Ski Tour, Border2Border and what turned out to be very popular, the ‘Ski S’more for Strudel and Soup’ at Skaters Cabin. We have to thank two special volunteers that made that day a success: Malou Peabody turned out tasty apple strudel for the masses (before Covid) and Franz Mueter provided hot carrot-curry soup.

Youth Nordic skiing continues on a growth path in Juneau, encompassing grades 1-12. The JNSC continues to support and develop the partnership with JNST and Sunday Recreational programs, and to plan for future growth. The program served 68 youth skiers this season.

Many JNSC members ask about ways to volunteer other than grooming. The JNSC Board is working on a fun project trying to find support and funding for a multi-sport and multi-season biathlon (skiing and shooting) range near Hank Harmon Rifle Range at Montana Creek on CBJ lands. We are in the early stages of seeking support. The JNSC has a subcommittee working on this and if your interest has been piqued please reach out to see how you can assist it moving forward. Keep an eye on the website and the Facebook pages year-round for upcoming opportunities and contacts. In the fall, we’ll need volunteer trail brushers. We’ll call it the Lopper Loppet!

We are replacing a 13 year old snow machine! The groomers feel a tracked Can-Am, like the one we own, is the best choice as it’s flexible for varied trail conditions and has good maneuverability. Thank you to those members who already contributed when we put out the plea in April for an additional contribution to the equipment renewal fund which is always open. Please contribute if you can and make a note when you contribute online or in the memo section of your check.

The JNSC continues to look at the sustainability of Nordic skiing in Juneau and the future of increasing kilometers: what trails can be extended or where can we add new kilometers? One way you can help ensure the future is sustainable beyond annual membership dollars is by donating to the JNSC Agency Stewardship Fund under the umbrella and guidance of the Juneau Community Foundation (JCF). This is a three-year effort to raise $100,000. The future earned interest would help smooth dips in membership dollars. This Fund could use your financial support. Please go to the JNSC website or contact JCF directly at 523-5450.The JCF can provide explicit information regarding stock transfer, required minimum distributions, etc.

Thank You for another great ski season, JNSC Board of Directors:
Frankie Pillifant, Mike Hekkers, Tim Blust, Erik Boraas, Bart Watson, Mo Michels, Wayne Carnes, Ray Imel, Nancy Jones, Odin Brudie, Fred Hiltner.

Allow 15-30 feet distance while following other skiers

If skiing behind another skier, keep 15-30 feet back depending on speed so you’re not in their breath slipstream. With an abundance of caution we’re basing this recommendation on one model for active sports. While stopped, 6 feet is a good minimum distance. No large groups of skiers, enjoy the spring skiing, and stay healthy! We’re lucky that we have the space to social distance on our trails and in the woods. We’ll keep grooming (Eaglecrest starting 3/21, Montana Creek, Mendenhall Campground) as long as conditions permit and as long as we can keep our groomers safe since they are all sharing grooming equipment. Please refer to CBJ’s Covid-19 website here for updates and recommendations.

SPAM -update on foreign posts

You’ve probably seen some Russian and other SPAM posts on the JNSC website. Weirdly enough these are actual humans that are posting on our website that of course have nothing to do with skiing or Juneau. We were manually deleting them until we instituted a country blocker which is now blocking these posts from the offending countries. We’ll continue to modify security as needed.

Annual dogs on trails etiquette reminder

We are at peak ski season now which means that the thaw will reveal land mines. For dog owners please pick up after your pet whether they are in front or behind you. Poop karma: if you see a land mine pick it up because likely you missed one in the past. Try to keep dogs out of the classic tracks if possible. Your “always friendly” pooch may not be seen as such by the 5 year-old they bound up to; unless your dog never gets rambunctious or hostile to other dogs, they should be on a leash. The Trail Etiquette is under About Us.