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Whiteout Glacier Cross Country Ski Training

Early to Mid 1970's

Name of Ski Area: Whiteout Glacier
Location: Western Chugach Mountains
Type of Area: Large glacier, with gentle and crevasse-free terrain that allowed for good cross country skiing.
Dates of Operation: 1970's
Who Built It?: The Whiteout Glacier Cabin (later remaned Han's Hut), on the edge of the Whiteout Glacier, was built by the Mountaineering Club of Alaska in 1968.
Base/ Vertical Drop:

Elevation: ~6000'

Lifts: None
Facilities: Simple mountaineering hut for overnight shelter
History: Lowell Thomas Jr. popularized trips to the Whiteout Glacier in the early 1970s for cross country ski training.  Lowell, Paul Crews and other pilots would fly skiers to the glacier and skiers would often stay at the newly built Mountaineering Club of Alaska's Whiteout Glacier Cabin.

The military had been using the Eklutna and Whiteout Glaciers for ski training since the 1950's.

This was the first summer glacier ski training site in the Anchorage area for cross country ski racers.  Later (mid 1980s) a site for summer training would be established on the Eagle Glacier to the south, by Bill Spencer, Jim Galanes and biathlon skiers of the Alaska National Guard.  The Alaska Pacific University would eventually take over this facility and it would eventually be named the Thomas Training Center (after Lowell Thomas and his family).

Sources of Information:

Mountaineering Club of Alaska log book for the Whiteout Glacier Cabin, as seen on vilda.alaska.edu., Tim Kelley


~  PHOTOS  ~


Mountaineering Club of Alaska log book entries for the Whiteout Glacier Cabin, as can be seen on vilda.alaska.edu.  These entries were made by cross country ski racers that flew to the Whiteout Glacier for summer ski training.

Training Camp July 16, 1970  Sven Johanson, Ella Bain, Lin McGovern, Deb Johnson, Jean Mucha, Bela Bodnar, Jim Johnson 19 people all together  July 17, 1970  Nordic skiers flew in for summer x-c training.  Flying by Paul Crews, Sr. and Lowell Thomas (Cessna 2343-C + Helio Courier 6319-V)
John Mucha, Anne Thomas, Milly Mucha, Scott Liston, Jean Mucha, Deb Johnson, Dale Wanamaker, ???
July 17, 1970  Dale Carr, Margie Mahoney, Jim Johnson, Dave Thomas, Lin McGovern, Chuck Johnson
Weather turned bad night of 17.  Howling snowstorm until noon of 18.  Two plane trips made out that night, rest out Sun morning.
July 25-26, 1970
Anne Thomas, Bella Bodnar, Katy Spivey, Dave Thomas, Tay Thomas, Lowell Thomas
X-C ski training.  Flew in Courier 6319-V.  Gorgeous hot sunny weather, light northerly breeze.
July 10, 1971  Anne Thomas + Lowell Thomas  Flew in for x-c ski training.  Weather - clear + warm; corn snow.  Noticed some aluminum siding blown off. 4th of July, 1972  Lowell Thomas, Stan Wagoner, Anne Thomas
Flew in for sun, fun + skiing in nice corn snow.  Beautiful sunny weather, light breeze from SE.  Helio-Courier 6319-V
June 28, 1974  Flew in with Merrill Wien in his C-185 to practice landings and takeoffs.  Nice evening.  Be back soon for x-c ski training.  Lowell Thomas Sept. 2, 1978  Flew in for first visit in 4 years (too much time spent in Juneau!!) -- a gorgeous afternoon with corn snow the texture of velvet.  Landed out on mid glacier, ski toured alone for an hour, pulled like a magnet back to my old friend, this cabin.  Hope to return again soon with a few others -  Lowel Thomas  N-6319-V

The Whiteout Glacier is part of the popular Eklutna Traverse mountaineering ski route.  In 1993 Bill Spencer, Tim Miller and Tim Kelley did the first ski traverse, including summiting Whiteout Peak, while using cross country skate (racing) skis.
Girdwood food special in 1993. Reaching the Eagle Glacier. The Eagle Glacier ski training center in 1993. Ascending the Whiteout Glacier, Eagle Glacier in the distance.
Nearing the summit of Whiteout Peak. On the summit of Whiteout Peak (in cross country ski racing boots).
Whiteout Glacier, May 31, 1993. Whiteout Pass, looking south. Preparing to hike the moraine of Eklutna Glacier. At the terminus of the Eklutna Glacier.


This large scale map shows where the Whiteout Glacier is located to the east of Anchorage.

(click on this map to expand it)

On this map the Whiteout Glacier is identified.  The "x" is the approximate location of Han's Hut (formerly known as the Whiteout Glacier Cabin).

(click on this view to expand it)

Research Correspondence 
vilda.alaska.edu - Whiteout Glacier Cabin log book



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