ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, NOV. 29-30 - In this photo taken on Nov. 17, 2014, Nordic ski instructor Tim Buckley demonstrates applying kick wax as he works with beginning classic cross country skiing students from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UAF during their class at Birch Hill Recreation Area in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Buckley, 70, is a lifelong skier and has been teaching both classic and skate techniques to children and adults for 15 years. Buckley is the Spotlight for the week.  (AP Photo/Fairbanks Daily News, Miner, Eric Engman)

Alaskan shares knowledge of cross-country skiing

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — More than four decades ago, Tim Buckley laced up a pair of old bunny boots, strapped them to a rudimentary pair of… Continue reading

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, NOV. 29-30 - In this photo taken on Nov. 17, 2014, Nordic ski instructor Tim Buckley demonstrates applying kick wax as he works with beginning classic cross country skiing students from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UAF during their class at Birch Hill Recreation Area in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Buckley, 70, is a lifelong skier and has been teaching both classic and skate techniques to children and adults for 15 years. Buckley is the Spotlight for the week.  (AP Photo/Fairbanks Daily News, Miner, Eric Engman)

Refuge Notebook – Thanksgiving: Remembering those who trusted, encouraged and inspired us

This Thanksgiving I recalled and was thankful that so many helped me on my way to become a (now-retired) professional wildlife biologist. These are folks… Continue reading

Luke DeCicco photographed the first Kenai Peninsula record of this Cape May Warbler in Seward on November 2, 2014. (Photo by Luke DeCicco)

Refuge Notebook: Birders flock after ‘fowl’ weather events

It was like a scene out of the movie “The Big Year” starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black. Several hotshot birding friends decided… Continue reading

Luke DeCicco photographed the first Kenai Peninsula record of this Cape May Warbler in Seward on November 2, 2014. (Photo by Luke DeCicco)
This undated image provided by Beaver Creek Resort shows Trappers Cabin at Beaver Creek near Avon, Colo. Five nights at the cabin, with a concierge and chef, is part of a $50,000 white-glove package for four offered by the resort that includes season passes to 22 mountains owned by or partnered with Vail Resorts, first-class airfare from within the U.S., a private helicopter from the airport to the resort, and ski equipment and lessons. (AP Photo/Beaver Creek)

Ski packages for the 1 percent – and for the rest

NEW YORK — Private ski lessons are so passe. The latest on-mountain perk for those with seemingly unlimited funds is spending the day with an… Continue reading

This undated image provided by Beaver Creek Resort shows Trappers Cabin at Beaver Creek near Avon, Colo. Five nights at the cabin, with a concierge and chef, is part of a $50,000 white-glove package for four offered by the resort that includes season passes to 22 mountains owned by or partnered with Vail Resorts, first-class airfare from within the U.S., a private helicopter from the airport to the resort, and ski equipment and lessons. (AP Photo/Beaver Creek)
ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, NOV. 17 - This photo taken on Oct. 29, 2014, shows a selection of Smith helmets and earphones  in Bend Ore. They come in nearly every color scheme imaginable, from camouflage to bright pink. Most skiers and snowboarders on the slopes are wearing them, and if you're not, well, you are not just reckless, you are … GASP! … unfashionable. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Andy Tullis)

Helmets have become commonplace on the slopes

BEND, Ore. — They come in nearly every color scheme imaginable, from camouflage to bright pink. Most skiers and snowboarders on the slopes are wearing… Continue reading

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, NOV. 17 - This photo taken on Oct. 29, 2014, shows a selection of Smith helmets and earphones  in Bend Ore. They come in nearly every color scheme imaginable, from camouflage to bright pink. Most skiers and snowboarders on the slopes are wearing them, and if you're not, well, you are not just reckless, you are … GASP! … unfashionable. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Andy Tullis)

Enjoy water fixtures all year by winterizing

For many people with backyard ponds, fountains and other water-garden fixtures, the arrival of cold weather means draining the pipes and pulling the plug.But water… Continue reading

Contributed photo: Donica Nash A Kasilof setnet crew on a break plays Serfs and Soldiers  between picks. (Left)   Wesley Tullis Jr., Delissa Severson, Jonathan Hane , and, Shea Nash.

Soldotna couple debuts new boardgame “Serfs & Soldiers”

There are three ways to win a new strategy game from Soldotna’s Shea and Donica Nash: hoard all of the gold in the land, build… Continue reading

Contributed photo: Donica Nash A Kasilof setnet crew on a break plays Serfs and Soldiers  between picks. (Left)   Wesley Tullis Jr., Delissa Severson, Jonathan Hane , and, Shea Nash.

An Outdoor View: Worms

Earlier this week, while mining the Internet for material to use in this column, I learned that earthworms are now considered an invasive species in… Continue reading

In this Oct. 21, 2014 photo, Ruk Kuchenbecker takes some jumps at the Beacon Hill jumps at Camp Sekani, in Spokane, Wash. The fat bike - a seemingly typical mountain bike frame with tires ranging from 3.7 to 4.8 inches wide - owes its origin to Fairbanks, Alaska. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Jesse Tinsley)

Fat bikes go where no bicycle has gone before

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The first thing people notice: The tires, wider than the forearms of most grown men. Then, the inevitable first question: Where’s… Continue reading

In this Oct. 21, 2014 photo, Ruk Kuchenbecker takes some jumps at the Beacon Hill jumps at Camp Sekani, in Spokane, Wash. The fat bike - a seemingly typical mountain bike frame with tires ranging from 3.7 to 4.8 inches wide - owes its origin to Fairbanks, Alaska. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Jesse Tinsley)

Cooking salmon

The salmon I cooked for dinner Tuesday night earned a thumbs up and a “Mmm-mmm!” from the in-house food critic, so I thought I’d share… Continue reading

A brown creeper probes for insects behind the bark of a birch tree. (photo By Ted Bailey)

Refuge Notebook: Elusive, inconspicuous brown creepers favor old growth forests

I have seen more brown creepers on the Kenai Peninsula this year than in the past two years when I saw none. Brown creepers are… Continue reading

A brown creeper probes for insects behind the bark of a birch tree. (photo By Ted Bailey)
Dale Flick, of Portland, left, helps Carol O'Bryant, of Bend, Ore., practice fly casting during the Casting for Recovery retreat on Oct. 19, 2014 at Black Butte Ranch. The weekend-long retreat focused on fly fishing is for survivors of breast cancer. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Joe Kline)

Breast cancer survivors fly fish as therapy

SISTERS, Ore. — In her first year of recovering from breast cancer, Carol O’Bryant, of Bend, was plagued with anxiety over whether the disease was… Continue reading

Dale Flick, of Portland, left, helps Carol O'Bryant, of Bend, Ore., practice fly casting during the Casting for Recovery retreat on Oct. 19, 2014 at Black Butte Ranch. The weekend-long retreat focused on fly fishing is for survivors of breast cancer. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Joe Kline)

An Outdoor View: The old man was a meat fisherman

In the past 10 or 15 years years, I’ve found myself thinking more and more about my dad. The old man was a meat fisherman… Continue reading

Kenai Refuge has new Visitor Services Manager

Kenai Refuge has new Visitor Services Manager

The other day I was in the garage unpacking boxes from our recent move from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to work as the Visitor Services Manager… Continue reading

Kenai Refuge has new Visitor Services Manager

Andy Hall attempts to clear up Denali’s history

In Denali’s Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak former editor of Alaska magazine Andy Hall’s presentation responded to a four-decade old hole… Continue reading

Semi-Southeast Adventure: Paddling the Nisutlin River

It’s fast becoming a fall tradition for my boyfriend Bjorn Dihle and me to head north and do a week-long paddle on a Yukon river… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Tyler Peek Nikiksi resident Tyler Peek takes a break in Lamont, Iowa during his bike trek accross the country through all the Lower 48 states, a distance of 6,850 miles.

Man bikes through all Lower 48 states in 111 days

Like most recent college graduates, Nikiski resident Tyler Peek wanted to embark on an adventure before settling into the reality of the working world. Peek,… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Tyler Peek Nikiksi resident Tyler Peek takes a break in Lamont, Iowa during his bike trek accross the country through all the Lower 48 states, a distance of 6,850 miles.
Boardwalks protect sensitive hot spring pools from foot traffic damage at Changbai Mountain's Julong Hot Springs (USFWS/Leah Eskelin)

Refuge Notebook: Thousands of feet on the ground are a challenge in Changbai Mountain, China

I had the honor of serving as one of six delegates representing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Region, at the second annual Changbai… Continue reading

Boardwalks protect sensitive hot spring pools from foot traffic damage at Changbai Mountain's Julong Hot Springs (USFWS/Leah Eskelin)

From field to freezer: hunters learn proper care for meat

Some of the 16 students in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Field to Freezer meat processing class Oct. 11 had hunted caribou, moose,… Continue reading

An Outdoor View: Boats

A friend recently told me that he might sell his boat next year. He was doing so, he explained, so he would no longer have… Continue reading