NSAA History

Pattern of Community Inspiration

Home of the Ski Bear


Anchorage’s Nordic skiing community is built on pride, passion and stewardship of the shared world-class trail system and countless miles of off-trail skiing adventures that inspire Alaskans and visitors from around the world. At the heart of this community is the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage. For 55 years, NSAA has led the events, programs and community advocacy that has bolstered and unified the community. In winter, and all seasons, NSAA staff and volunteers maintain and sustain Anchorage’s trails and lead the wide-ranging programs and events that bring our community closer.

Skiing has been a part of the Anchorage lifestyle since the early 60s. Skiers used trails wherever they could: potato fields, prison farms, camper parks, animal shelter property and military bases. Winter Trail grooming prior to 1976 was all voluntary.  It wasn’t until 1976 that the city of Anchorage funded a contract to groom ski trails.  Less than 7 years later, a tax cap in 1983 eliminated that funding.  NSAA assumed the trail maintenance and grooming, supported primarily by individual donations and volunteers.

Anchorage grew, trails were built. Behind these efforts were motivated parents and those who found joy investing in their community prioritized their kids’ health.  Dirt, sweat and tears have led to many of Anchorage’s trails and outdoor recreation options for the community.  NSAA’s focus has now shifted to taking care of our existing trail system with regular, extensive maintenance that ensures sustainability for years to come.

NSAA’s community spirit, tenacity and volunteer driven work ethic perfectly reflect Anchorage’s ”live, work, play” vision, with NSAA having a significant role in the PLAY piece. Today, thousands of enthusiastic trail users frequent the trails year long, but most have no idea who created and is responsible for the trails they love.  Many assume taxes cover grooming and year around maintenance costs, but NSAA is responsible for most of the soft-surface trails in our community with help of individual contributions, volunteer time and local support.  NSAA is committed to healthy living and enhancing the quality of life for Anchorage, one trail at a time.