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

Arctic Winter Games | Outdoor Explorer BONUS EPISODE

It's Alaska's turn to host the biennial event celebrating the sports and culture of the people who live in the circumpolar north.

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!
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.

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!

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.

Ski swaps and Hatcher Pass Lodge

Winter is coming, and that means it’s ski swap time! This week on Outdoor Explorer, we'll talk to Sparky Anderson about how to buy and sell your outdoor winter gear at your local ski swap. Sparky is the head coach of the UAA Ski Team. And in the second half of the show, we’ll be speaking with Hap Wurlizer, proprietor of the Hatcher Pass Lodge.

Bringing Your Dog Along

Our biggest dog park in Anchorage seems to be Chugach State Park. On any sunny day on the trails into the mountains, you will encounter a lot of dogs and their people. Host Charles Wohlforth and guests will talk about enjoying the outdoors with your dog, fun stuff you can do, what to be careful of, and how to avoid being a jerk around non-dog people. KSKA: Thursday, June 12, 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

Learning about the solstice, Susitna River and gun safety

KSKA: Thursday, December 21, at 2:00 p.m. The next Outdoor Explorer is on the solstice, a truly outdoor event, as I try to really understand what happens in space to bring us the shortest day of the year. This will be your opportunity to hear me be confused as part of our celebration of the soon to be lengthening days. We’ll also be talking about protecting the Susitna River, winter diving, and safety with both guns and bear spray. LISTEN HERE

Minimizing Your Impact

"Leave only footprints" -- it's an ambitious philosophy. Most of us who recreate outdoors like to think we do a good job of this. We pack out our trash. We travel across landscapes with a light footprint. But how good are we? We'll have some experts in studio to talk about what it really means to leave no trace -- from scattering your fire circles to packing out human waste. Minimizing your impact in the outdoors helps ensure others who travel after you get the same wilderness experience. KSKA: Thursday, July 10, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:
A line of hikers ascend a ridge.

Honoring the lost and hiking Gold Star Peak | Outdoor Explorer

Many mark Memorial Day by taking to mountains and trails. That includes the challenging journey up Gold Star Peak.

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.

Entomophagy: Eating insects

Entomophagists are people who eat insects, and Chris Gilberds is a chef who has a lot to say about why we should start incorporating more bugs into our diet. We even snacked on crickets, ants and scorpions during our talk.

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

Outdoor Filmmakers

If you really love what you do outdoors, its natural to want to document that with pictures or video. Outdoor filmmaking is exploding as young people deploy equipment that is much less expensive than it used to be. This week on Outdoor Explorer we talk to adventure filmmakers. It goes beyond strapping a GoPro to your helmet. KSKA: Thursday, Dec. 11, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

A Tongass Odyssey: John Schoen

John Schoen spent 20 years working for Alaska's Department of Fish and Game as a scientist studying Sitka black-tailed deer, mountain goats and brown bears in the Tongass National Forest. He is a wealth of knowledge for anyone interested in field science and conservation. John joins host Paul Twardock to discuss his fascinating career and memoir titled "Tongass Odyssey: Seeing the Forest Ecosystem Through the Politics of Trees, A Biologist's Memoir."

Revisiting biathlon training

KSKA: Thursday, Dec. 28, at 2p.m. What’s more Alaskan than skiing? Shooting things, of course. So biathlon must be the most Alaskan sport of all--it's skiing fast and shooting accurately, combined. We’ll spend time at the range as young people and newcomers learn about the sport. And we’ll talk to an Olympian and a former World Cup competitor about the top of level of biathlon, where our community shines. LISTEN HERE

River stories

The summer season is here and Alaska’s waterways beckon.  We’re taking the topic from four perspectives. An interview with a pioneer who made a lifelong career of floating remote rivers with inflatables. A story by a Minnesotan who got in some trouble on an Alaska river. A buyers guide to pack rafts. And a bear story that comes from an epic float trip. Thanks for listening!
trail crew

Youth Employment in Parks

Youth Employment in Parks offers Anchorage High Schoolers the opportunity to work on trails and parks in Anchorage. Host Paul Twardock visits a trail crew at University Lake to learn about the program

Hunter Education

There's a lot to know to be a successful hunter or angler, and not everyone learns it from a parent or family friend. That's especially true for women, who may not have been treated as potential outdoors people as girls. As the fall season begins, we will explore the opportunities for hunter education, including classes created for women, and learn what it is that you really should know. KSKA: Thursday, August 28, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen now:

Trapping in Alaska

When Russians first came to Alaska in the 1740s, they were seeking fur, and fur-bearing animals were an important element of Alaska's economy for more than 200 years. Today, Alaska still has thousands of trappers, both those who make a living at it and those who do it for fun. On the next Outdoor Explorer, we'll hear more about an activity as old as Alaska itself. KSKA: Thursday, Feb. 5, at 2:00 and 9:00 p.m. Listen Now: