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Bear Lake Ski Trail

1941 to ????

Name of Ski Area: Bear Lake Ski Trail (actual name not known)
Location: Bear Lake area to the north of Seward, Alaska (exact location not known).
Type of Area: Ski Trail
Dates of Operation: 1941 to ????
Who Built It?: Local loggers, maybe Seward Ski Club
Base/Vertical Drop:


Lifts: None
Facilities: None
History: Not much is known about this lost ski area.  The Chugach National Forest Archives Department has a Special Use Permit (SUP) card that was issued in 1941 to Gentry Schuster, the president of the Seward Ski Club.

According to Oscar Watsjold, who was the president of the Seward Ski Club at this time, there was likely no ski area here.  Just some rough trails that were used for cross country skiing access to the high country.

Also, in Mary J. Barry's history book, "Seward, Alaska: A History of the Gateway City - Vol. III: 1924-1993", she mentions:  "In November 1941, a new ski course was prepared near Bear Lake."

Sources of Information:

Lesli Schick, Chugach National Forest Archaeologist;  Mary J. Barry, author of "Seward, Alaska: A History of the Gateway City - Vol. III: 1924-1993; Oscar Watsjold; Seth DePasqual


Does anyone have pictures of skiing at the Bear Lake Ski Area (or current pictures of the vicinity) that they would like to contribute to ALSAP ?

~  MAPS  ~

This large scale topo map shows the location of the Bear Lake to the north of Seward, Alaska.

(click on this map to expand it)

This zoomed in topo map shows area around Bear Lake north of Seward.  The exact location of the ski area is not known.

(click on this map to expand it)

Research Correspondence 
[Seth DePasqual - 27 February 2006 email excerpt, notes from an interview with Oscar Watsjold] 

My meeting with Oscar and Nell produced little in the way of the Bear Lake Ski Area. Oscar said that no such resort/area/trail system ever existed mainly because Seward was unreliable for snow. He said that he used to ski up in the mountains behind Bear Lake, utilizing a tie-hacker's road found near the north end of the lake. No rope tows or anything. Simply a backcountry access point.

He said that people probably cross country skied around some of these logging road systems but they were by no means formalized under any ski-club initiative. The first big "to do" concerning Seward skiing was the Divide Ski Area.


Do you have further information, stories or pictures that you would like to contribute about this ski area?