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Hatcher Pass Snowcat Operation

1990s

Name of Ski Area: Hatcher Pass, name of snowcat operation: Glacier Snowcat Skiing and Tours
Location: Palmer, on mountains in the Hatcher Pass area, operations based at the Motherlode Lodge on the Hatcher Pass Road.
Type of Area: Ski-able mountain slopes
Dates of Operation: 1990s
Who Built It?: The owner of Glacier Snowcat Skiing and Tours was Chris Nettles
Base/ Vertical Drop:

Base: ~1700' / Vertical: Up to ~3000'

Lifts: Snowcat
Facilities: The Motherlode Lodge
Miscellaneous: Parties at the Motherlode Lodge where skis were burned in huge bonfires as offerings to Ullr, the god of snow.  Russ Gregston was a Snowcat driver for this operation.  Katie Palmer and Jay Bennett worked as guides.
Sources of Information:

Tim Kelley; Russ Gregston; Katie Palmer

Photos: Does anyone have pictures of Glacier Snowcat Skiing that they would like to contribute to ALSAP ?

~  MAPS  ~
 

1992 Glacier Snowcat Operation Pictures Courtesy of Russ Gregston

    Snowcat can be seen in the distance, above the helmet of the man on the right.  Katie Palmer in center.

~  MAPS  ~

This large scale topo shows where the Motherlode Lodge (formerly the Little Susitna Roadhouse) and Hatcher Pass is located relative to Palmer and Wasilla.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_hatcherpass.jpg (145230 bytes)

A zoomed in topo view shows the areas around the Mother Lode Lodge.  Depending on snow conditions various slopes to the north, west and southwest of the lodge would be used for the snowcat operations.

(click on this map to expand it)

topo_zoom_hatcherpass.jpg (182099 bytes)

Research Correspondence 

[Katie Palmer - 30 June 2016 email] 

My name is Katie Palmer. I was a guide for Glacier Snowcat and want to set the record straight.

Russ Gregston was one of our drivers and the best for sure but the cat would of never moved without our head guide, who's hard work and efforts were constant. His name is Jay Bennett and it's pretty much BS that Russ didn't even name us considering he slept at our house and ate our food for many seasons. I am the woman in the picture. There is no picture of Jay I'll send you a couple soon if you would be so kind as to add them. Jay was also on several safety teams in Thompson Pass back in the extremes and King of the hill days and is an all around great guy. The cat is parked in his driveway to this day as he was one of the owners....

 

 

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