Outdoor Explorer

On “Outdoor Explorer” 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

Skiers head down a snowy valley.

“Snow Stories” | Outdoor Explorer

Get stoked on winter with these stories about avalanches, skiing and mountaineering.

Hope for Prince William Sound | Outdoor Explorer

The Prince William Sound Stewardship Foundation and Mission Blue have teamed up to designate PWS an Ocean Blue "Hope Spot."
Outdoor Explorer

How a love of design helps this graphic artist promote outdoor accessibility | Outdoor Explorer

Along with placing winter single track trails, Aurora Hablett uses geographic data to create maps in shapes with GPS visualization.

Made in Alaska: Revelate Designs | Outdoor Explorer

Eric Parsons started designing bags that fit on bike frames to enable his epic trips. Eventually he quit his day job and made it a business.
A log cabin with a green metal roof with two birch trees in a snowy clearing.

Public use cabins and huts in Alaska | Outdoor Explorer

There is a rich history of public cabins in Alaska. Hear how two organizations are working to make more huts and cabins available to the public.

Outdoor Explorer: New book examines how hunting and being outdoors with your dog can nurture the human spirt

Authors of "The Land We Share" discuss their holistic approach hunting and their relationship to the natural world.

Outdoor Explorer: Creating an outdoor clothing company in Alaska

Jen Loofbourrow started Alpine Fit to produce base layers for Alaskans. She discusses her path to building a thriving business.

Outdoor Explorer: The Chugach Park Fund

On this episode of Outdoor Explorer we're joined by Haley Johnston, the co-chair of the Chugach Park Fund’s Citizens Advisory Board. The Chugach Park Fund was established in 2016 under the umbrella of The Alaska Community Foundation and since that time has been a critical part of improving trails, signs and facilities in Chugach State Park. Haley fills us in on past, present and future projects.

Outdoor Explorer: Hear what the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage has planned for the upcoming season

Our guest on this episode of Outdoor Explorer is Kikkan Randall, executive director of the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage. The conversation is wide-ranging, from the programs and events NSAA has planned for the upcoming ski season to impacts of climate change and NSAA's upcming 60th anniversary.

Outdoor Explorer: Burning Man 2023

Every year at the end of August in the Black Rock Desert of northwest Nevada, Black Rock City is built. For about a week it becomes the third largest city in Nevada, with around 60,000 inhabitants. It is the host city for the annual event called Burning Man. On this episode of Outdoor Explorer, host Adam Verrier speaks with the race director of the annual Burning Man Ultramarathon and two artists who used recycled and biodegradable materials to create and art piece.

Outdoor Explorer: What makes an outdoor trip successful?

What makes an outdoor expedition successful? Most trips in the outdoors, whether one day or two weeks, are enjoyable and fun, that's why Alaskans, even on wet summers like this one, flock to the outdoors. But some outings turn into epics and even tragedy. On this Outdoor Explorer host Paul Twardock talks about what makes a good expedition happen with retired Denali Mountaineering ranger Daryl Miller and current South District Ranger for Denali National Park Tucker Chenoweth. They discuss what made some of their expeditions succeed despite life-threatening weather and what they've learned advising and observing expeditions on Denali.

Outdoor Explorer: Author Don Rearden on writing about Alaska

Alaska author Don Rearden grew up in Southwest Alaska living and observing rural life. His books "Raven's Gift," a novel, and "Without A Paddle," a collection of poems, reflect his Alaska experiences and life. Don also co-authored books featuring two of Alaska's professional military rescuers. Don joins host Paul Twardock to discuss Alaska's culture, history and environment and how they influenced his writing.

Outdoor Explorer: Mountain biking Eagle River and the Mat-Su, the Alaska Mountain Bike Summit

On this Outdoor Explorer host Paul Twardock welcomes Will Taygan with the Chugach Mountain Bike Riders and Rene Dervaes with the Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers to discuss what is happening in Mat-Su Valley and Chugiak/Eagle River and the upcoming Alaska Mountain Bike Summit.

Outdoor Explorer: A field geologist’s life with Joe Kurtak

Joe Kurtak embodies a modern day Alaskan. He was raised at a remote mining camp in eastern California, went to college, then came to Alaska in 1971 for a summer job. He quickly fell for everything the Great Land had to offer, especially its geology. Joe worked for 40 years mapping Alaska's geology while working for both private firms and the federal government. Along the way he also pursued his love of skiing and sea kayaking. On this Outdoor Explorer Joe shares his wealth of knowledge of Alaska's geology, including Prince William Sound, and some of his many adventures with host Paul Twardock.

Outdoor Explorer: Petra the Adventure Cat

On the next Outdoor Explorer our guest is Nicole Chamberlain and the Meowtaineer, Petra the Adventure Cat. Petra is a Siberian Forest Cat, well-adapted to the cold, and Nicole has taken her on many adventures on the snow and the water. They recently spent time at the Sheldon House in Denali and Petra became the first cat to ski on the Ruth Glacier.

Wheels on Ice: Cycling in Alaska 1898-2021

This Outdoor Explorer features the book "Wheels on Ice," a collection of stories from the gold rush to present day. The book is a compilation of stories edited by Jessica Cherry and the late Frank Soos. Jessica and author Andromeda Romano-Lax join host Paul Twardock to discuss the book and its stories.

Outdoor Explorer: “Running While Black: Finding Freedom in a Sport That Wasn’t Built for Us”

On this Outdoor Explorer we're joined by author Alison Mariella Dèsir. Her book unveils the running movement as being centered around and represented by White people, not only ignoring the foundational work and performances of Black distance runners but also not acknowledging that running while Black can be dangerous.

Movers and Shakers: Peg Tileston

Peg Tileston has been active in organizations including the Alaska Center for the Environment (now called the Alaska Center), the Alaska Women’s Environmental Network, the Alaska Conservation Foundation, the Alaska Water Resource Board, Trustees for Alaska, the Alaska and Alaska Common Ground. She has also been on the board of Chugach Electric Association, the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Council, and the Anchorage Recycling Task Force to name a few. She has received numerous awards including being inducted into the Alaska Women's Hall of Fame. Along the way she explored much of Alaska. She joins host Paul Twardock to discuss her many contributions and adventures.

Fireweed bike race returns this weekend

This 200-mile race makes its comeback this weekend taking riders from Sheep Mountain Lodge to Valdez! This week on Outdoor Explorer, we talk with president of the board of directors, Sara Wendling about all things race details and catch up with the a few members of the 1wheel1ders, a unicycle team that will be participating in this years race.

50 Years of Photography with Mark Kelley

People come to Alaska for a variety of reasons. Award-winning photographer Mark Kelley came with the hopes of meeting a whale, and almost 50 years later, he’s still here. On this episode of Outdoor Explorer host Martha Rosenstein and Kelley talk about the challenges of photographing wildlife in Alaska, turning his passion into a career and what it’s like to return to a special spot year after year to observe and photograph bears.