Outdoor Explorer

On “Outdoor Explorer” from KSKA-Anchorage we invite you to step outside into Alaska. Follow us to a new trail or fishing hole, learn what to pack, when to go and most importantly, how to stay safe. Learn about life-long fitness and get inspired to go outside in the back country or on the bike trails.

We’ll hear from the people who know the land best – outdoor guides, park rangers, coaches, authors, lodge owners, bush pilots, educators and you, the explorer. Listen Thursdays at 2:00 & 8:00 pm on KSKA FM, streaming live at alaskapublic.org.

We’re looking for your show ideas! Please send your thoughts for upcoming shows to: bork@alaskapublic.org

Arctic Valley Ski Area

Arctic Valley ski area has been in operation since 1941. On the next Outdoor Explorer we will be talking about the the future of the ski area and its importance to the community. We discuss the new concession agreement that will allow the Anchorage Ski Club to continue to operate the ski area as well as the resurrection of the Arctic Valley Ski Team. Thanks for listening!

Urban outdoor exploration

According to The Trust for Public Land, 54% of the nation’s residents live within a 10 minute walk of a park. In Anchorage, that number is 74%. For many residents of an urban area, access to a park near their neighborhood as a child is the first outdoor exploration of life. For adults, a neighborhood park offers a quick trip into nature to recreate and relieve stress. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll be talking with the visionaries, the planners, and the builders of our urban park space. Thanks for listening!

They came to Alaska, and stayed

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll be talking with Conor McDonald and Miranda Sheely. Conor is known as Bucky to his friends. A few years ago, Miranda and Bucky moved to Alaska for college from out of state, but they seem to have found their home here, and they decided not to leave after graduating. Miranda has found her passion exploring Alaska’s wilderness by raft during the summer, and with a dog team during the winter. Bucky recently presented his college thesis paper at the Alaska Snow Safety Summit. In it, he researched the relationship between social media and avalanche safety. Please join us for what’s sure to be an interesting conversation with Bucky McDonald and Miranda Sheely. Thanks for listening!

Women and minorities in the outdoors

Women and people of color have traditionally been underrepresented in outdoor activities. That is changing quickly. On the next Outdoor Explorer, Lisa will be talking with women and men who are in the vanguard of the movement to open the outdoors to all people. Thanks for listening!

Outdoor Explorer’s new hosts

For our first show of the year, something completely new on Outdoor Explorer. Charles Wohlforth is leaving as the program's host. On the episode, we’ll be introducing four new hosts who will carry it onward, and make it better, with more diverse perspectives and deep knowledge about the Alaska outdoors. Charles has hosted the show for 6 years and will still be listening and taking part and we look forward to where the show goes in the future. Thanks for listening!

“Arctic Solitaire” book and adverse weather gear

Paul Souders wanted see and photograph polar bears for himself, by himself, in a new way, and he did something to accomplish that no one else would have thought of. He put a 22-foot boat on a trailer and drove to the Arctic, voyaging north, through Hudson Bay, to the pack ice. The photographs he came back with are stunning, showing bears in a way I’ve never seen them. Thanks for listening!

Horseback riding and a trip across the Americas

Felipe Leite rode a horse from Calgary to Brazil, unsupported. He crossed deserts and mountains and he says he nearly starved and he saw men killed by drug lords. Leite is my guest on the next Outdoor Explorer to tell about his horseback adventures, and his next big ride, from Fairbanks to Calgary, which will complete a journey spanning the length of the America’s. Thanks for listening!

Crossing the Alaska Range

In 2017, Jen Johnston and Sam Hooper hiked the length of the Alaska Range, 1000 miles from Port Alsworth to McCarthy. It’s a tremendous accomplishment, but their story is not one of hardship and heroism. They love it out there, and on the next Outdoor Explorer, Jen and Sam talk about the privilege and pleasure of getting deep into Alaska with one another. Thanks for listening!

A conversation with Roman Dial

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we spend a full hour sitting with Roman Dial, one of Alaska’s greatest adventurers, to learn about his extraordinary life, and the tragic disappearance of his son, and how that ordeal was horribly exploited by reality TV. We’ll also get into many other tales, including how he helped start wilderness racing and developed the pack raft as a tool for Alaska travel.  Thanks for listening!

Catching up on Eklutna, ski prep & helping young girls

This week we’re checking in with the outdoor community here in southcentral Alaska, which is all about getting ready for the coming winter and being involved in the positive stuff that so many of our neighbors do for one another. We’ll have segments on reviving fish runs in the Eklutna River, getting your skis ready for winter, and volunteering to help girls in Guatemala stay active through puberty.  Thanks for listening!

Outdoors and activism

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we have an interview with one of the world’s top professional snowboarders, Jeremy Jones, who has made more than 50 films about his exploits in Alaska alone. But that’s not all Jeremy is about anymore. As he saw winter eroding, he has become an activist to do something about climate change, and recruited other top skiing and boarding pros to become activists as well. Thanks for listening!

Spruce beetles and climate change

The spruce beetle has changed the forests of southcentral Alaska, and it’s not done. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll examine the forest changes driven by a warming climate. The most important factor has been these beetles. We’ll learn about their life cycle, impact, how to fight them, and what their explosion means for the places we recreate. We’ll also go deeper, learning what the best science predicts is next. Thanks for listening!

The outdoors and personal growth

On this Outdoor Explorer, we’re going to talk about how time spent outdoors can help us grow. Adrienne Lindholm has written a book about her path from mountain newbie trying to prove herself to becoming more interested in the journey. Carey Carpenter is campaigning for longer recess for Anchorage school children, and she’ll also talk about how outdoor adventures helped her cope with breast cancer. Lastly, we'll hear a story about getting more minorities to be interested in going outside. Thanks for listening!

Winter predictions and activities

Will winter bring snow, or will we wait through thaws, rain and darkness? On the next Outdoor Explorer, we have a climatologist to talk about the predicted El Nino that is expected to bring warm, gloomy conditions this winter. So that’s the prediction. For the response, we’ll have two other interviews. We’ll be talking about hibernation, not the best option, and about indoor ice... it's the sport of curling. Thanks for listening!
sled, sledding, dogs

Dog training

In Alaska, dogs can be team members with mushers and also with hunters, using their abilities to extend our own. But first, someone has to let the animals know how to do those jobs. Judging by the dogs we've seen around Anchorage, many of us are not very good at training-- but our guests on the next show are. They work with upland hunting dogs and sled dogs to create an effective dog/human team. Thanks for listening!

Enjoying the fall season

Some Alaskans think fall is an in-between season when we’re waiting for winter and the skiing, skating and snowmachine riding that is coming. But that’s a mistake. Fall lasts a long time around here these days-- we can easily get three full months of it. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re talking about the joys of autumn, when the tourists are gone and many good days remain, if you know how to dress for them. Thanks for listening!

Caribou migration

One of the most spectacular biological events in the world is going on in Alaska right now, the migration of hundreds of thousands of caribou from their northern calving grounds to wintering areas to the south. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll learn how do they do it, and why, and what makes them change the routine sometimes, using new areas after many years on the same course. Thanks for listening!

Using your feet

This Outdoor Explorer is about feet. If you’re a runner, a hiker, a skier, a skater, if you do almost anything active, we should have your attention because when your feet are happy, you are. When they’re messed up, your fun is over. We’ll talk with a physical therapist and a podiatrist about healthy bodies and healthy feet, and hear some stories about hiking and the joy and misery it can bring. Thanks for listening!

Rockwell Kent centennial

Rockwell Kent was one of the most important artists to picture Alaska. And the legendary winter he spent with his son on Fox Island, in Resurrection Bay, happened 100 years ago. On the next Outdoor Explorer we’re joined by an expert on those events, and on Kent’s colorful life in general, to learn about landmarks in fine art and writing about nature that were created right here. Thanks for listening!
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Organic gardening and beekeeping

Gardening without chemicals turns out to be the right way, according to our next guest. Jeff Lowenfels has been growing things in Anchorage for a very long time, and through that experience he learned to get rid of anything that doesn’t naturally belong in his garden. We’ll also hear from a longtime beekeeping expert in Anchorage, who is even breeding bees able to make it through our cold winters. Thanks for listening!