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

Kids and sports

On the next Outdoor Explorer we have a variety of stories about organized sports and kids. We’re starting with a discussion of Ultimate Frisbee. If you thought it was a disorganized hippie activity, you have much to learn. We’ll also talk about biking for girls, a triathalon that benefits a sick child, and much more.  

Revisiting train and ferry adventures

We Alaskans have a unique way to get into the backcountry, on our state-owned railroad or ferry system — two of the most fun forms of transportation around. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll celebrate how the train and ferries can get families out to adventures hiking, skiing, paddling, floating and exploring in some truly exotic places. Thanks for listening!

Checking in with our elder athletes

We humans can live a long time, long enough to do a lot and see a lot. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we have a climber who topped some of the world’s greatest peaks... 50 years ago and then never stopped. We’ll also be joined by one of Alaska’s toughest runners, who completed more than 60 marathons and helped start some of Alaska’s biggest races. In both cases, they’re fun and inspiring for any age. Thanks for listening!

The 12-Peak Challenge and Chugach trails

The Chugach Mountains behind Anchorage might be as familiar as your bedroom wall, but they’re still big, rugged peaks with plenty of hard miles in them. Our guests on the next Outdoor Explorer have done those miles. We'll talk with mountain runners who have completed the 12-peak challenge, an incredible ultra-marathon that links a dozen summits in the front range on a single very long day. We'll also hear some personal stories about the local trails we cherish so much. Thanks for listening!

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!

Prince William Sound

We have two visions of wilderness a bit different than the gritty version you’re used to hearing. In the first half, we’ll hear from an author and photographer who created a new book about Prince William Sound. We'll also hear about new ways for people with disabilities to get out and enjoy nature. Thanks for listening!

Outdoor art

On this Outdoor Explorer we’re talking about art. Alaska’s nature is a powerful inspiration for many artists, like painter Steve Gordon.  Steve’s vivid images of birch trees and stream banks are among our favorites, capturing the light and grace of quiet places and somehow heightening the feelings they create. Steve will talk about how he makes those paintings and how his many years of boy scout camping trips influenced that work. Thanks for listening!

Sailing into retirement

What’s your retirement fantasy? How about sailing from Alaska to Mexico and exploring the warm waters there? On the next Outdoor Explorer, we'll feature a couple who did just that, sailed away the day after finishing work, and returned back into port in Alaska four years later. Along the way, they tested their boat and their marriage. And they came back with the stories and experiences of a lifetime. It's an inspiring tale you won't want to miss. Thanks for listening!

A visit from Kikkan Randall

If Alaska were a country, she would be our national hero. Kikkan Randall, the Olympic gold medal skier, joins us on the next Outdoor Explorer. Randall is, of course, a household name in Alaska, where we’ve been watching her progress over the course of an amazing international career. As she retires from skiing and settles down with her family, we’ll have a chance to learn about her life, her racing career, her future--and, of course, that thrilling relay in Korea when she brought home the gold. Thanks for listening!

Salmon fishing closures and restrictions

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently closed or restricted king salmon fishing for the coming season in the Susitna River and Little Susitna drainage, and cut commercial fishing in the northern Cook Inlet. The problem is not enough kings. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’ll explore why this is happening and the impact of this decision, as king catches have sagged in various areas of the state for several years. Thanks for listening!

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!

Trail Tales, storytelling events from Alaska Trails

Alaska Trails is excited to present the Trail Tales storytelling series. With a new format and partnered with a different community trail group each time. ​In the spirit of Arctic Entries, storytellers will share seven minute stories about their trail experiences, adventures and life in general. Enjoy listening to your fellow active and outdoorsy Alaskans.

Veterans outdoors

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.

Outdoor activity and the human brain

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

Snow machine assisted skiing

KSKA: Thursday, Jan. 11, at 2 & 8 p.m. We have some fun people to introduce you to on the next Outdoor Explorer: twin brothers came in to talk with us. They're beer brewers, who are fanatic for snow machine-assisted backcountry skiing. This is where you ski or board remote powder slopes, but without spending the sweat to get there on foot or the money to get there on a helicopter--you ride out on a snow machine. There’s a ton of skill involved and a lot to learn, and these guys are great at talking about it. LISTEN HERE

Beachcombing and ocean currents

KSKA: Thursday, March 01, at 2 & 8 p.m. We're excited that we got to sit down with the guests on this week’s Outdoor Explorer to learn about the strange, circular ocean currents swirling around the North Pacific. These currents sometimes carry Asian debris to Alaska shores and, as we’ll hear, bring pieces of Alaska shipwrecks to Hawaii. We have a serious beachcomber and an oceanographer who used this information to change our view of how the ocean’s work. LISTEN HERE

Birds of prey

KSKA: Thursday, Feb. 22, at 2 & 8p.m. Birds of prey are much more than symbols, like the bald eagle, they’re with us as apex predators atop the food web. They’re inspiring in their fierceness and their amazing physical abilities, with their sharp claws and eyes, and they are among the most exiting birds to see in the wild. On the next Outdoor Explorer, join us as we focus on raptors, their natural history and care here in Alaska. LISTEN HERE

Youth downhill ski racing & raising Olympians

KSKA: Thursday, February 15, at 2 & 8 p.m. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we’re focusing on winter sports and, for all those Olympics junkies listening, the question on your mind, how do I get my kid on a Wheatie’s box? The best answer seems to be-- cool it. Those amazing elite athletes create themselves. We’ll learn from the people who know best, with tips on how parents can -- and should -- give kids the opportunity to get outside and compete. LISTEN HERE

The Olympics, athletes and their moms

KSKA: Thursday, Feb. 1, at 2:00 & 8:00 p.m. The winter Olympics are here, and Alaska is sending the most athletes ever. Half the nordic ski team is from Alaska, and six of those skiers are going with their siblings. We’ll talk with America’s top skiing siblings, Erik and Sadie Bjornsen, and their mom, Mary, and I’ll have Rosie Brennan and her mother, and Rose Mancari’s mother, too. LISTEN HERE

Women’s athletic events

KSKA: Thursday, February 1, at 2:00 & 8:00 p.m. The next Outdoor Explorer focuses on women, and specifically events for women athletes. The Alaska Ski for Women is coming up soon, and after that the Gold Nugget Triathlon, and there are others too. We’ll be talking with competitors and organizers to find out what these events are like, how they feel different from co-ed races, and why it is important to have events specifically for women. LISTEN HERE