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

Outdoor Filmmakers

If you really love what you do outdoors, its natural to want to document that with pictures or video. Outdoor filmmaking is exploding as young people deploy equipment that is much less expensive than it used to be. This week on Outdoor Explorer we talk to adventure filmmakers. It goes beyond strapping a GoPro to your helmet. KSKA: Thursday, Dec. 11, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

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!

Outdoor photography

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll be discussing outdoor photography with mountain photographer Charlie Renfro. There's a lot to talk about. Later in the show, we’ll be talking with Gus Schumacher, an Anchorage cross-country skier who recently won gold at the World Junior Championships. Thanks for listening!

Non-profit bike programs

KSKA: Thursday, July 13, at 2:00 p.m. On the next show we’re learning about a couple programs started by leaders in the cycling world to help young people become fit, confident cyclists. In the first half of the show, Lael Wilcox, an amazing athlete of world caliber, will be talking about her adventure with middle school girls. In the second half, we’ll learn about a new bike school, which aims to teach bike repair skills, and to turn underprivileged kids into bike riders and racers. LISTEN HERE

Iditarod Trail Invitational

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we're talking about the Iditarod Trail Invitational race, which claims to be the longest winter ultra marathon in the world, sending racers by foot, bike or ski either 1000 miles from Knik to Nome, or 350 from Knik to McGrath. KSKA: Thursday, Feb. 19, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now:

Gray Whale Migration

One of the first signs of spring in coastal Alaska is the appearance of gray whales, who pass our way on their annual journey from Mexico to the Bering Sea. Along our uninhabited shores, the whales get a lot more privacy than they do down south, but you can see them from boats and coastal towns, and tour boats from Seward go out to view the whales through April. On today’s show, we’re talking about going out to see the whales this spring, and the biology of the whales and their amazing migration. KSKA: Thursday, April 9, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now:

Trap Shooting

Trap shooting is a sport at which Alaskans excel, having produced a national champion and Olympian in Cory Cogdell, formerly of Eagle River, and other top competitors. On today's show we learn about the community of trap shooters in Anchorage, how shooters learn to hit the fast-moving targets, and what it takes to get into the sport. Watch Video KSKA: Thursday 9/26 at 2:00 pm and 9:00 pm Listen Now

Sea otter numbers

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll talk about otters and try to understand how they may have changed the coastal ecosystem. We’ll also meet a tribal leader in Sitka who is doing something about it, with a sea otter hunt that also provides furs for Native handicrafts, which seems to be bringing back shellfish.  Thanks for listening!

Iditarod doping, ski prep & the Eklutna dam

KSKA: Thursday, Jan. 04, at 2:00 p.m. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we take a look at one of the biggest sports and outdoor stories in Alaska in the last year: the Iditarod drug doping scandal that hit the race in the fall, with a positive drug test and the surrounding controversy.  We’ll also learn about getting your skis ready for the season, and about a big dam removal project in Anchorage, which was funded completely by donations. LISTEN HERE

Active vacations

In 2017, Men’s Health named Anchorage the most adventurous city in the United States. We do love to adventure in our state with our friends. We also love to travel; why  not combine adventure, travel and friends into a vacation? On this week’s Outdoor Explorer we’ll be talking with avid swimmers, bikers and runners who combine their vacation with activity. And although we all love to spend some time on the beach doing nothing, there is no better way to see the world than through movement in the outdoors. Thanks for listening!

Sailing the Aleutians on the MV Tustumena

Purser Maggie Hennigan is to the left. The M/V Tustumena, docked in False Pass. Photo by Adam Verrier.

Revisiting being alone in the wilderness

Whereas having somebody else along is often safer and more fun, solo trips into the wilderness can sometimes be the most memorable. Whether by choice or necessity, these experiences offer a chance to get to know oneself better. In this episode we'll  talk about what it’s like being truly alone in the great outdoors. This episode first aired in January of 2015. Thanks for listening!

Eklutna Traverse: A Changing Adventure?

The Eklutna traverse is a popular spring trip for local and visiting mountaineers. But the 38-mile trip is changing. Host Annie Feidt and her guests will explore whether changing glaciers means a changing adventure on the next Outdoor Explorer. KSKA: Thursday, March 20, at 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

Revisiting adventures in field science

Alaskan geologists, biologists, archeologists, and lots of other kinds of ologists cover the wilderness in their work, in search of knowledge but avoiding something many outdoor folks are looking for: adventure. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll hear from field scientists about their challenges studying Alaska, and how they keep safe and work effectively in places where other people go to test themselves against the elements.

Public Use Cabins

On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re talking about public use cabins. Why now? Well, they’re open in the winter, and perfect for a ski or snowshoeing weekend. Perhaps more importantly, the season for reserving cabins for summer will soon be upon us. Believe it or not, it’s time to start planning your cabin trips for 2014. We learn about remote cabins you can rent, how to do it, and personal favorites across the region.

Listen Now

KSKA: Thursday 11/21 at 2:00 and 9:00 pm

Hiking in southcentral Alaska

With our long days and easy accessibility to the mountains, many residents of southcentral Alaska look forward to hiking as a main summer activity. Whether you want some great views, you are training for Mount Marathon, you are looking for a place to take visiting friends or you just want some solitude, there are guidebooks to help plan your hikes. In the first segment of our next show, we’ll be talking with Lisa Maloney, who has authored the most recent guidebook, “Day Hiking in Southcentral Alaska.” In the second segment we’ll hear from Corrie Smith and Greg Martin, a couple who decided on the challenge of completing all the hikes in one book, “50 Hikes in Alaska’s Chugach State Park.” Thanks for listening!

Getting Tweens Outdoors

For outdoor families, it can be tough when children leave elementary school and suddenly don’t want to go outside anymore. There are plenty of exceptions, but middle school coaches and parents of tweens know that this is a critical age to keep young people going outside and active. We’ll be talking with parents and educators about how the outdoors can compete with the screen or the couch in the lives of tweens as we struggle to help them build independent lives that are healthy and active. KSKA: Thursday 10/17 at 2:00 pm and 9:00 pm Listen Now

Avalanche equipment and rescue

KSKA: Thursday, Jan. 19, at 2:00 p.m. Everyone knows that winter backcountry travelers need to know how to avoid avalanches, how to prepare for them, and what to do if someone is caught in one. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we talk to experts about the right gear and how to use it, we'll also get a step-by-step scenario of what an avalanche recovery is like and what you should do in that terrible event. LISTEN NOW

Invasive plants

KSKA: Thursday,June 15, at 2:00 p.m. Invasive plants on land and water can spread rapidly. Weeds entering a new system are something like viruses, or cancers, that can be dealt with relatively easy in the early stage, but become unmanageable if they go too far. The hopeful news is that Alaskans are tackling this challenge, and it is not too late to make a difference. LISTEN HERE

Backcountry skiing

KSKA: Thursday, Feb. 9, at 2:00. Backcountry skiing comes in many varieties. On the next show, we’re looking at two extremes. On one end are the alpine daredevils who look for the hardest, steepest, most dangerous lines. On the other end are the touring skiers exploring our glorious mountain scenery by the most practical means available. These two ways of looking at skiing are for different personalities and different kinds of athletes with different goals, but Anchorage is prime for either option. LISTEN NOW