Eaglecrest Ski Area is working to improve its lower Nordic trails, hardening them to provide a better base for grooming equipment during the winter season, among other improvements this summer. (Courtesy photo / Charlie Herrington)

Eaglecrest Ski Area is working to improve its lower Nordic trails, hardening them to provide a better base for grooming equipment during the winter season, among other improvements this summer. (Courtesy photo / Charlie Herrington)

Eaglecrest uses summer to make widespread improvements

The ski area is making improvements for both summer and winter activities.

Hardening Nordic trails, completing mountain bike routes and improving snowmaking efficiency are some of the summertime improvements Eaglecrest Ski Area is undertaking this summer.

The summer’s improvements are intended to add or expand activities both in and out of summer, said Eaglecrest marketing director Charlie Herrington in a phone interview.

Replacing the decades-old pipelines that supply water for the ski area’s snow machines is one of the biggest improvements being made this summer, allowing for snowmaking at higher altitudes, according to a news release.

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“In each of the last three winters, snowmaking improvements have helped Eaglecrest open earlier, stay open longer, and bridge the snowfall gap between the middle and lower mountain,” the ski area said in a release.

This summer, the ski area intended to replace main water lines from Cropley Lake, which have serious corrosion problems, Herrington said.

“That’s sort of the most exciting one,” Herrington said. “We’re also probably going to have the bike trail complete this week.”

That bike trail, starting at the top of the Hooter Chairlift, has been an ongoing project, Herrington said.

“We almost finished it last summer and we just had a little touching up to do,” Herrington said.

The ski area is also working on improving the Lower Nordic Trails, according to a news release from Eaglecrest. Personnel are hardening the trails with rock from the quarry near the parking lot, as well as adding drainage and culverts.

“The Lower Nordic Trails are classified as forested wetland or open peatland. Due to the nature of these ground conditions, it takes a very deep snowpack to support Eaglecrest’s snow grooming equipment,” according to the news release. “The boggy ground also tends to quickly erode natural snowfall during mid-winter warm spells.”

Hardening the trail will allow grooming equipment to compact the snow, allowing for better conditions, according to Eaglecrest.

The ski area will also service all equipment for the upcoming winter season later in the summer, according to the release, including a full overhaul of the Ptarmigan drive hub.

Season passes for the upcoming season are on sale now, Herrington said, including the payment plan options for adult, senior and college passes, which will only be available till July 31. Discover Eaglecrest day scheduled for Aug. 28 beginning at 11 a.m.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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