Stiles Creek Trail day ski

On a nippy Monday morning Tom and I set off for a day ski out to Stiles Creek Cabin in the Chena River SRA. It was fairly cold (-20f according to the thermometer at Pleasant Valley Store) but otherwise quite an excellent ski.

The Stiles Creek Trail had undergone some re-routing and we were looking forward to skiing the new sections.  The re-route made for some fantastic skiing.  Before the reroute the trail dropped off the final hill and descended steeply.  The new sections cut back and forth though the old trail and make the steep sections (once described to me by a fairly good skier as “the most terrifying thing I have ever skied”) very ski-able and quite fun.    This was quite a contrast to the original trail which could be quite terrifyingly fast.

Polar and Remus had a wonderful time running around and enjoying the smells.

Once we reached the top we were treated with fantastic views of the nearby ridges.    Once of the nice things about this trail is that it crosses a wide variety of the forest types that the greater Fairbanks area offers – it goes though birch groves, poplar trees, black spruce forest swamp, white spruce stands, and a small section of alpine ridge top.

The trail has a lot of climbing on the way into the cabin but the reward for this is a fair number of fun downhill sections on the way out.

After 8 miles or so we reached Stiles Creek cabin and ducked inside to warm up.  After about 30 minutes we had the cabin above freezing..  Which was enough to start drying off Toms pants.

The rest of the ski out was quite fun and much faster as there is a lot of downhill.
As mentioned earlier, the reroute makes for much more fun skiing. There were two sections on the old trail that were quite unpleasant. On the way in the drop off the ridge to the cabin was pretty hairy – it was steep and the trail was canted downhill which when combined together made for less than fun skiing. On the way out the final drop off the ridge was very steep and fast, with mistakes potentially rewarded by the trunks of large birch trees – this also made for less than fun skiing. Both these issues are fixed with the reroutes – the final decent to the cabin was rerouted with enough switch backs such that it is easily ski-able and the drop off the main ridge on the way out was also rerouted such that it is a lot less steep and with wide enough turns for easy skiing. Hurray! Major kudos to DNR for improving this trail!

More pictures follow, for the photo inclined.

The trail at the its high point.

Afternoon sun.

The sunset as we skied out.  We skied the last couple of miles in the dark, alas.

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One Response to “Stiles Creek Trail day ski”

  1. Jeremy Sylvester says:


    Thanks for such a neat post about this trip. I am thinking of taking my family up there this weekend. I was wondering which mile marker trailhead you put in at?



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