By: Billy Day
I've had the pleasure of skiing the Summit Lake area for many years. This past week my wife and I decided to stay at the Manitoba Cabin for the first time since the recent improvements. We arrived under sunny skies and were greeted by a friendly group of families already enjoying their stay at the cabin. We stayed in the Hut Keeper's room which was very comfortable. After getting settled we headed up the trail and encountered fabulous conditions. It is such a great place to ski as there is something there for all levels of ability. Though the most popular lines were well tracked we were able to find plenty of terrain yet to be skied. We enjoyed a couple of untracked runs and returned to the cabin well after the sun had dropped behind the peaks to the west. Several youngsters were still out with their sleds filling the forest with laughter. Our new friends had leftovers hot and ready for us and we traded stories of past, present, and future adventures in the area.
The next morning promised to be another bluebird day. After packing up for an early evening departure we began our ascent. A couple hours of leisurely climbing put us on the summit and our eyes were on the untracked, mellow terrain of the west facing ridge. It was perfect conditions for Sandy to hone up her skills as it had been a while since she had been on her skis. Midway down her first run it had all come back and she was ripping it up with a big smile. We skinned up after our second run for the traverse out to the down trail, stoked by the untracked lines. Near the cabin we encountered another family having a blast sledding down the trail in the late afternoon sun. On our way out we encountered a hut volunteer making a plan to get a snowmachine and sled full of propane across the precarious bridge crossing. We expressed our appreciation for his efforts and continued our climb back to the car.
We are so fortunate to have recreational opportunities like the Manitoba area has to offer. It's a fabulous place for families to get outdoors and enjoy some winter in a year when winter has been so hard to come by. I like to think that it is just the beginning of a hut system here on the peninsula where families can get out and explore our vast wilderness.
Thanks Alaska Huts!