The Nordic ski season is well under way at Hatcher Pass and Government Peak, where groomers have already been out, creating great early-season conditions. Last week's snow has stuck around at the higher elevations, giving skiers an early opportunity to enjoy the backcountry.

According to trail reports, there is 8-10 inches of snow in the Hatcher Pass area, providing enough cover to hit the trails. Archangel Road, Independence Mine and Government Peak have all been groomed, according to the Mat-Su Ski Club's web site.

Government Peak, located at the base of Hatcher Pass off Edgerton Parks Road, is a Nordic skiers paradise, with groomed, lighted recreation trails for 4.5 miles through a series of interconnected loops. The Matanuska Loop is 1.36 miles and the Susitna Loop is 1.29 miles. There are also 3.9 miles of challenging, advanced level trails known as the Denali loops that feature long, steep uphills and fast technical downhills. The Pioneer Loop is 1.32 miles and is the only winter trail that allows skijoring, fat bike riding, and snowshoeing.

Further up the pass, Archangel Road has an 8-kilometer trail, of which the first 4 kilometers are typically groomed. At Independence Mine, groomed trails begin at the A-frames and wind up the road and around the historical buildings.

Throughout the winter, you can follow the trail conditions at the Mat-Su Ski Club's web site.

If you prefer downhill skiing, mark your calendar for December - that's when Skeetawk, the Mat-Su Valley's first-ever triple chair lift ski area, is set to open!