No snow? Snow what!
Mother Nature sure has a way of evening things out. Last winter, Southcentral was blessed with seemingly endless amounts of snowfall, providing winter recreation enthusiasts with mountains of fun, fluffy white stuff in which to play.
Not this winter.
Instead, we’ve endured either bone-numbing cold or rain-bearing Chinooks — neither of which are good news if you’re interested in hitting the slopes or trails.
So what’s one to do when there’s no snow to be found?
Luckily, Chugiak-Eagle River is a community with lots to do if you know where to look. Here’s a few ideas to get you out and about while we wait for the snowfall to arrive:
Curl up with a good book. Our local branch of the Anchorage Library (12001 Business Boulevard) is one of the municipality’s hidden gems, with friendly staff and a huge selection of titles. Why pay expensive fees to download e-books when there’s thousands available at the library for free? If you do want to spend some money, check out The Book Shelf (694-4660) in the Eagle River Shopping center. The cozy store keeps a variety of titles in stock, including a wide selection written by local authors. There’s even book signings on occasion!
Join a gym or take a fitness class. The New Year is a great time to get back into shape. If you’ve been off your skis for a couple years and are anxious to get back at it, it’s a good idea to get your motor running before hitting the trails. There are several gyms in town that offer a variety of membership packages, as well as yoga and dance studios that offer a wide variety of fitness options. Try the Alaska Club (694-6677) or Body Renew (336-2639) if you’re looking for a place to pump some iron or get your cardio fix. For other workout options, All Life is Yoga/Eagle River Ballet (www.eagleriverballet) is always accepting new students, as are the Stars Dance Studio (www.starsdancealaska.com) and the Alaska Moving Arts Center (694-8915). All of these places are conveniently located in downtown Eagle River.
Take a hike! The Eagle River Nature Center (694-2108) offers a variety of outdoor events for all ages. Events range from nature hikes to astronomy classes to wilderness seminars. A listing of upcoming events at the center, which is located at the end of Eagle River Road, can be found in the Star’s online calendar at www.alaskastar.com
Embrace the ice. Although the winter has been tough on those who love snow, the freeze-thaw cycle has helped make for some good outdoor skating. Try Town Square Park’s small, intimate rink. If you’re looking for something bigger, the Harry McDonald Center (www.mcdonaldcenter.net) offers open skating and skate rentals. “The Mac” also has a new indoor turf field, and offers open time for both youth and toddlers. Check the center’s website for details. If skating on ice isn’t your thing, the lack of snow has made ice fishing conditions ideal. Try Mirror Lake or Fire Lake, where plenty of locals have been gathering in recent days to take advantage of stocked trout populations.
Get involved. Our area is home to six community councils (Birchwood, Chugiak, Eagle River, Eagle River Valley, Eklutna Valley and South Fork), all of which are always looking for more public input — and sometimes even new members. Visit www.communitycouncils.org to find meeting times and more information about the councils, which are tasked with providing the municipality with grass-roots input on issues that affect our neighborhoods.
This is by no means a complete list of things to do and places to see here in Chugiak-Eagle River. But it does prove that there’s more to do around here than sit around praying for snow. If you’re looking for more events around town, check out our online calendar at www.alaskastar.com, where folks can also post upcoming events for others to see.
Now get off that couch and go find something to do! The snow will arrive soon enough.