I spent the early winter casually monitoring Alaska’s big lakes for possible nordic ice skating destinations. Based on satellite imagery (see the “Tech Dork” video edit for more information… Worldview, EO Browser), Sarah and I made a quick trip to Katmai National Park/Preserve in late January. We flew frequent flier miles to King Salmon, then chartered a flight with Trygg Air to Kulik Lake.
Remote ice skating is fickle… new snow or a headwind can quickly shut down a trip. My weather research (mostly via windy.com) showed a slight west wind transitioning to strong east wind. We planned a loop to match the wind… tail wind in both directions! The final step was loading our intended route and bailout points into GaiaGPS for navigation.
Our loop consisted of 40 miles on ice, 20 overland. The tailwind was strongest on Battle Lake, probably in the 30s (mph). We snowplowed and carved on the skates, just like we would on downhill skis. We covered 9 miles of ice in less than an hour, without ever propelling ourselves forward.
The real highlight was the black ice on Kukaklek lake. Check out the photos below.