THE HISTORY OF
Skeetawk is derived from the Dena’ina word Shk’ituk’t, which means “where we slide down,” and was the original Dena’ina name for the village before it was later renamed Kenai. The name was chosen after narrowing down hundreds of name submission ideas from the community and then the membership voted on the final name.
Hatcher Alpine Xperience (HAX) is the 501c3 not for profit organization that manages Skeetawk; a skiing, snowboarding, and alpine recreation facility in Hatcher Pass Alaska. HAX was incorporated as a not for profit organization in 2015 and has worked closely with the Matanuska Susitna Borough to develop the recreation facility. Skeetawk is located at mile 10.6 of the Palmer-Fishhook road in the Hatcher Pass State Management area, in the Northern Government Peak Sub-Unit of the detailed 2010 Hatcher Pass Area Management Plan. The parking lot sits at about 1,450 feet above sea level and our new beginner (triple seat) chair for runs about 1,250′ long and has a vertical gain of about 300 feet, giving us access to about 30 skiable acres.
Hatcher Pass has an extensive history of both backcountry skiing and lift serviced ski facility development projects. A ski area has been proposed in the Northern Government Peak Sub unit for over 40 years. Most of the development plans have focused on development of the same tract that Skeetawk is currently located in. Many national and international development firms failed to deliver a viable plan for development of a ski area in Hatcher Pass. The grassroots efforts by HAX have taken a dream to a reality in 5 short years by developing a multi phased plan to build a regional alpine recreation facility on land leased from the MatSu Borough.
In 2016, HAX entered a land management agreement with the MatSu Borough. By 2017, enough funds had been raised to build the first facility; Dave’s SnoCat Haus. This first facility served as a grooming facility and base of operations for further construction work on site. Trail clearing, additional parking improvements, and additional utility infrastructure work took place through 2018. By 2019; HAX had raised enough funding to begin construction of the first ski lift, warming facility, and support buildings for Phase 1A of operations. In the summer of 2019 construction of the ski lift and warming facilties began. After some delays, the ski lift and associated facilities where completed in spring of 2020. HAX signed a 40 year lease agreement with the MatSu Borough for the property in the summer of 2020.
Skeetawk will formally operate for the 2020/21 season, as well as continue to plan and develop the next phases of ski area development. Skeetawk has two year-round professional staff members and a crew of seasonal staff to work alongside dedicated volunteers to operate and develop the facility for the benefit of the community. Skeetawk will remain a community driven ski area directed by a volunteer board of directors; and managed by professional recreation and ski industry leaders for the foreseeable future.
We have completed phase 1a of our plan. We will continue to fund raise for snowmaking, lighting, and phase 1b. If you are interested in contributing to the project, please send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org