Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for April 29, 2013

Home Brew Fest fans see Skagway trip extended

Avalanches on the South Klondike Highway have left a number of Yukoners stranded in Skagway. Many were there for Saturday’s annual Home Brew Fest.

By Chuck Tobin on April 29, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Avalanches on the South Klondike Highway have left a number of Yukoners stranded in Skagway. Many were there for Saturday’s annual Home Brew Fest.

Avalanches and strong winds have caused issues on both sides of the border since last Thursday.

The highway was closed Thursday afternoon because of avalanche activity on both sides of the border.

It was reopened Saturday but closed again Sunday and remains closed because of more avalanche activity on both sides of the border.

Jennifer Gehmair, a spokeswoman for the Yukon’s Department of Highways, said Yukon crews were hoping to have this side of the border clear by this afternoon.

“But crews still have to go out and check to see if there are any more risks of avalanche before the road is opened,” she said this morning.

Missy Tyson, Skagway’s highway maintenance foreman, said she fully expected the American side would be clear by noon today.

She said when she went up the highway early Sunday morning, the road was impassable, and the wind was howling so much that visibility was down to zero at times.

“It blew hard like that all day Sunday,” she said. “So I did not open the road at all, and I did not send my guys up to work under those conditions.”

Tyson said her crews have been knocking down threats of avalanche at various locations since Thursday using their Avalauncher cannon.

Jasmine Viehe, with the Skagway Recreation Centre, said this year’s Home Brew Fest attracted some 300 participants for Saturday’s event, approximately 70 per cent from the Yukon.

“It was a pretty good event and a lot of people were here,” she said.

“Yukon Jack (from Whitehorse) was the band that was playing and they were really great.

“We ran out of beer at nine o’clock and good fun was had by all,” she said. “People are still talking about it.”

Teri Valentine of Skagway’s Sgt. Preston’s Hotel said she had 12 rooms that had to stay another night, and there’s no telling what tonight will bring.

A number of people decided to catch Sunday’s ferry to Haines and drive back to the Yukon from there, but it was one of the smaller ferries, though still able to accommodate 20 of the 21 on the standby list, she said.

Valentine said this afternoon’s ferry, the Columbia, is much larger and should have ample room for anyone choosing to travel back across the Haines Highway.

Blowing wind also closed the Dempster Highway between Eagle Plains and the border on Friday, but it was reopened on Sunday evening, according to the 511yukon website, which tracks the travel status of Yukon highways.

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