Ohlson Mountain’s Rope Tow opens

The Ohlson Mountain Rope tow has been running at its current site since the 1970s.

Homer’s Ohlson Mountain Rope Tow, operated by Homer’s nonprofit Kachemak Ski Club, opened for the season Sunday with skiers, snowboarders and telemarkers turning out to enjoy the foggy afternoon.

The Kachemak Ski Club was founded 74 years ago and is the oldest nonprofit in Homer. The Ohlson Mountain Rope tow has been running at its current site since the 1970s. The system provides access to 20 acres of property via a 850-foot mechanical tow. It is a completely volunteer operated organization and each open Sunday takes seven volunteers to run the system.

Karen Northrup, a volunteer and board member who was signing people in at the registration kiosk Sunday, said that although the day started slow, things had picked up by mid-afternoon.

“It’s going great,” she said. “We had a little bit of a slow start. Usually it’s the teenagers who show up first but this year it was the adults.”

By about 1 p.m., about 75 people had signed in for access to the slopes.

Northrup, has been participating at the Rope Tow for about 16 years, said due to a parking lot expansion project, the ski club is encouraging visitors not to park on the road and instead to park in the Snomads Snowmachine Club parking lot. The ski club has been working with Snomads on the parking expansion all fall.

“We’re teaming up with them this year,” she said.

This year the existing Watermelon Trailhead parking lot will be dedicated for Rope Tow users driving single vehicles without trailers on Sundays during the ski season.

“Parking on the road creates traffic congestion and this is a better alternative. We’re trying to avoid that,” Northrup said.

The Rope Tow, located off Ohlson Mountain Road at about Mile 3.5, will now be open every Sunday from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Daily passes are $20 for a family, $10 for adults and $5 for students 18 and under, as well as value priced season memberships for individuals and families. Minors need a signed participation waiver on file for the season.

Updated conditions and information about openings will be posted to the Kachemak Ski Club’s webpage at homerropetow.org, on Facebook (Homer Rope Tow) and by calling 235-SNOW.

Emilie Springer can be reached at emilie.springer@homernews.com.