Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ohlson Mountain--Local Ski Slope

Aurora got a new snowboard recently, so we finally decided to check out the local ski slope: Ohlson Mountain. We were very glad a friend was our guide to the place, since there is no sign announcing the place. The only clues are a plowed widening in the road and a packed trail leading off the road between two private residences. Once you get up the trail a ways you see the sign you see here: Rope Tow ----> We must be on the right track, but the packed trail leads all the way to the bottom of the hill, past a shack (which I found out is the warming hut) to the bottom of the tow rope where an attendant takes people's lift ticket money. It is all so casual and small-townish that I was a bit startled, yet it is a great place for kids learning to ski or ride to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Ohlson Mountain is run by volunteers with the Kachemak Bay Ski Club. Lift tickets are $125 for a season pass for the whole family, or $5/day for students, $10/day for adults, or $20/day for families. What you see on the picture here is the whole mountain. It doesn't get crowded, and there's not a lot of pressure--it's just a fun place to hang out. The tow rope does, literally, zoom you up the mountain. I was startled when we first walked up and I saw people cruising UP the mountain. I didn't realize tow ropes went quite that fast! It was a bit tricky and took Aurora numerous tries to get the hang of it. On top of that, the rope can rip your gloves up, so they have a box of leather workgloves in the warming hut to wear to protect your nice gloves.

The warming hut is, well, it is just a shack, but it does the job and it is full of small town ambiance! It is heated with a wood stove, so whoever is in there just keeps the fire going. There are some board games to while away the time while warming up, and picnic tables that have been around the block a few times, but do the job. It is all one really needs.

The biggest bummer of this place is that there are no rentals, so you have to own your own equipment (or borrow from a friend) to go here. Plenty of people in Homer make the 3-4 hour drive up to Alyeska for a day or weekend, but this is a local option that plenty of people are grateful for--my new 'boarding daughter is one of them!


Lady of the Lake said...

That sounds just like the ski area we lived next to in Joseph, Oregon. It was called Ferguson Ridge, and if you didn't know where it was - you wouldn't find it.

It had a T-bar, 700 foot of drop, a warming shack with old tables, a barrel stove, and games, and it was the locals hang out.

You could ski all day if you wanted to and never wait in line. However, ours did have ski rentals :-)

MichelleW said...

Little nooks and crannies of "locals only" places like this add to the fun of a small town. My aunt & uncle came here every weekend 30 years ago as they were raising their 6 kids.

Elle Knowles said...

I'm putting my mothers letters and journal from our homesteading days in Homer Alaska in the late 50's - 60's. into a book. She mentioned the view of Ohlson Mountain so I googled it and here I am! Nice to meet you! ~Elle

MichelleW said...

Elle, So glad you found my blog. The view from Ohlson Mountain is more gorgeous than the view of it!
What a fun project putting together your mother's memories!

Nicholas Shamis said...

I was stationed at Ohlson AC@W site in 1959 and helped build the the ski tow. went down one time, never put skis on again. As a/2c i took my discharge went back home to Dayton Ohio in 1960 and been here ever since. But i still remember lots of good times in Homer as a young boy.

Michelle Waclawski said...

Yes, Homer can most definitely be a place for great memories made, though it is growing and changing! But my kids will hold dear the many great hikes, skis, runs, races and adventures they have had here, and so do we!