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: cwohlforth@alaskapublic.org

KSKA: Thursday, July 20, at 2:00 p.m. The main guest for this show is one of the world’s greatest polar explorers. Dr. Mikhail Malakhov has skied to the North Pole 16 times, including an expedition in 1995 when he made it there and back unsupported. Malakhov is leading an expedition to retrace some of the greatest expeditions of Russian America, a project he has been working on since 2009. It’s a great year for it, as we mark the 150th anniversary of the Alaska Purchase, when Russia sold Alaska to the United States. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Thursday, August 17, at 2:00 p.m. It’s late summer in Alaska, so of course the topic of Outdoor Explorer is ski jumping! We'll visit ski jump practice on a warm summer day so you can hear how remarkable it is to hear the wind in the skis. We'll also talk with the head coach to learn what it takes to get up the courage to go down those ramps. LISTEN HERE

This edition of Outdoor Explorer comes to you from the backcountry of Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Earlier in the summer, Charles flew with friends to a mountain pass in the massive, incredibly spectacular Wrangell mountains where they spent an extended weekend on dayhikes in the alpine environment, near the Russell Glacier. We'll learn about the park, the trip, and how you can do a backcountry adventure in this amazing park. KSKA: Thursday, August 6, at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Listen now:

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

As the summer winds down, Outdoor Explorer looks at one of the worst years of salmon fishing in memory in southcentral Alaska. We’ll review what happened, why it happened, and talk about the impacts on anglers and communities. Thanks for listening!

Iditarod dog teams have as much in common with your pet as an Indy car and a tricycle, but there is something in between. Dog mushing is a recreational sport for families, too. On this Outdoor Explorer, we’ll learn about using sled dogs for fun and transportation with the mom of a local mushing family, and a Denali guide who takes out newbies daily. KSKA Thursday 3/7 at 2:00 pm, repeating at 7:00 pm

On this next Outdoor Explorer, meet Mikah Meyer who traveled to every national park. And not only the big ones, but also all the historical parks and the obscure places, a trip that has taken years. We’ll also be chatting with legendary Alaska hiker Shawn Lyons, who is publishing a completely encyclopedic set of books covering every route in southcentral Alaska. Yea parks!

Alyeska Resort is an amazing place to have as our backyard ski hill. On this edition of Outdoor Explorer, we’re talking about how it got that way. Recording in Girdwood, we have Chris Von Imhof, the father of Alyeska, at the Roundhouse museum up on the mountain, with many good stories. And we’ll have Rosey Fletcher, who became an Olympian on the runs that Von Imhof built. KSKA: Thursday, March 24, at 2pm and Thursday, March 31 at 8pm DOWNLOAD AUDIO

KSKA: Thursday Dec. 29 at 2:00pm & 8:00pm. Here’s an Alaska moment. It’s a weekend afternoon, you’ve been stuck indoors all day, you see that beautiful winter light in the sky, and you say, ‘let’s go skating.’ Half an hour later, you’re gliding over a frozen pond with your neighbors. We're talking about ice skating, the casual community kind, where everyone can participate and enjoy a winter day with friends.

Chuck Sassara first arrived in Alaska in a VW bus in 1955 with his wife Ann. They built a life that encompassed aviation, government and business and witnessed the beginnings of statehood and the growth of the Alaskan community. We'll talk with him about some of his adventures and about his book, “Chuck Sassara’s Alaska – Propellers, Politics and People,” on this weeks' next Outdoor Explorer. KSKA: Thurs., Jan. 21, at 2:00 p.m. and Thurs., Jan. 28, at 8:00 p.m. LISTEN HERE

Alaska’s outdoors people may think they’re tough, but how about paddling 40 days in a dugout canoe in the rains of Southeast Alaska in October and November, dressed in wool, without modern gear? That’s what John Muir did, and his writings about the experience changed science and started the Alaska tourism industry. On the next Outdoor Explorer, join host Charles Wohlforth and guests to talk about Muir’s historic expedition and others. What these guys did will amaze you. KSKA: Thursday, January 14 at 2pm and Thursday, January 21 and 8pm

KSKA: Thursday, November 30, at 2:00p.m. What goes on inside those tents you see on the frozen lakes around town? On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll find out. The topic is ice fishing. Folks do it on stocked lakes all through the city – that’s another unique thing about Anchorage – and in the backcountry they catch great big fish through the ice. What’s the attraction of fishing in the middle of winter when the water is frozen? We’ll find out how to do it and why as we revisit this great show from a few years back. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Thursday, January 18, at 2 & 8 p.m. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re talking about a key part of the body for your outdoor explorations, the brain. I’m Charles Wohlforth. New research shows that being active can make you smarter, growing parts of the brain, and keep your brain healthy as you age. But we’re also going to talk about brain injuries. We’re learning the serious impact they can have on every aspect of life and how important it is to protect your head when you are doing outdoor sports. LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Thursday, August 31st, at 2:00 p.m. We’re going a little bit off the reservation with the next show's topic-- we’re talking about rugby. We got the idea to cover something that you do on a field rather than out in the wild when we saw a photograph of a new rugby pitch right here in Anchorage. It is the product of one man’s imagination and drive, and we’ll have him here to talk about this amazing personal project. This may be the last thing you thought you wanted to know about, but the enthusiasm of these rugby players is totally contagious, and as you listen to our interview it's a sure bet you’ll pick up on it too. LISTEN HERE

This Outdoor Explorer is dedicated entirely to two of the most impressive people we’ve recently met, both military veterans whose service became deeply linked to the outdoors. We’ll hear from Kirk Alkire, who has made climbing in the Chugach Mountains a form of therapy for other grieving veterans. Then we'll talk with David Shuman, who retired from a long career as a pararescuer, doing the most difficult and daring rescues in Alaska’s wilderness.

KSKA: Thursday, January 18, at 2:00p.m. On this Outdoor Explorer, we're excited to have two national champions in cross country skiing. Caitlin and Scott Patterson also happen to be siblings, and totally charming and real. You’re going to love them. We'll also have a discussion about avalanche awareness and forecasting. After an accident in December killed an experienced skier, what do we all need to know?  LISTEN HERE

KSKA: Thursday, April 13, at 2:00 p.m. Probably, like a lot of cyclists in Anchorage, you know our trails pretty well, especially the ones closest to home, because that’s where you ride on a regular basis. But bikes these days can go a lot farther than that. On our next show, we’re talking about mountain biking opportunities beyond the bowl, including in the Mat-su and on the brand new trails just finished near Eagle River, at Mirror Lake. LISTEN HERE

The summer season for sleeping outdoors is short, but there’s still a lot of Alaska out there in the winter with wonderful backcountry recreation and easy travel on snowshoes, when the rivers are frozen and it almost never rains. We’ll be talking about winter camping and snowshoeing. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. You can be comfortable, have great access to the backcountry, and sleep under the most amazing dome of stars. KSKA: Thursday 1/23 at 2:00 pm and 9:00 pm Listen Now

One of the great joys of hiking in Alaska is seeing the plants and flowers, watching how they change as you pass through different ecosystems and elevations, and learning the names and characteristics of the species you see. The mountains and woods where we hike are always beautiful, but when you understand what you are seeing the pleasure is greatly increased. Join host Charles Wohlforth and guests to learn more about Alaska wildflowers. KSKA: Thursday, July 31, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

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. We'll speak with three guests about what it's like being truly alone in the great outdoors. KSKA: Thursday, Jan. 15, at 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Listen now: