Help Wanted: Levitation 49 is Hiring Summer Jobs

Brush trimming is part of the job for Levitation 49 summer paid and volunteer trail and grounds crews. The organization is also looking to hire a campground host for Blueberry Campground and water taxi boat captains to take guests to and from Shoup Bay public use cabins.

Brush trimming is part of the job for Levitation 49 summer paid and volunteer trail and grounds crews. The organization is also looking to hire a campground host for Blueberry Campground and water taxi boat captains to take guests to and from Shoup Bay public use cabins.


VALDEZ, AK - Gearing up for summer State Park operations, Levitation 49 is seeking a variety of positions to help operate and maintain the local state park units: Worthington Glacier and Blueberry Lake State Recreation Sites, Shoup Trail and the Shoup Bay public use cabins.By contract, the State Park units are open May 15 - September 15, weather permitting. The following positions are available for the coming season.

Campground Host. The campground host provides camper relations and maintenance for this small 15-site campground on scenic Thompson Pass, 24 miles north of Valdez. Situated on the shores of a high alpine lake with sweeping views down valley toward Valdez.  Blueberry Lake campground features picnic and camping sites for individuals and groups.

Special Projects: Visitor contact, campground maintenance and light janitorial for vault toilets at Blueberry and nearby Worthington Glacier SRS.

Season: 4 weeks minimum shift or all season, 5/15 – 9/15; weather permitting.

Amenities: Monthly subsistence payment and expenses.

Shoup Bay Water Taxi Service. Now accepting proposals for dedicated water taxi service to/from Valdez Small Boat Harbor to three public use cabins in Shoup Bay State Marine Park: Mcallister, Kittiwake and Moraine. User information from 2016 shows increased prospects for cabin reservations if dependable, affordable water taxi service is available. The cabins are located on the north side of Port Valdez, approximately 8.5 miles from Valdez. The park encompasses most of Shoup Bay and the southern half of Shoup Lake, also called the inner lagoon. There is an underwater moraine that stretches across the mouth of the bay and creates shallow shoals off the spit and on the opposite western side. The bay is connected to the tidally influenced lake by a shallow river that flows either way, depending on the tide. Ice from Shoup Glacier calves into the lake. Applicants should provide a detailed proposal including daily shuttle schedule, proposed fees and any value-adds, e.g. occasional cabin maintenance, kayak or SUP rentals to guests, or your ideas. Successful applicant will keeps all fees for water taxi service and/or rental gear; L49 keeps 100 percent cabin rental fees. Minimum six-pack captain’s license and proof of insurance are mandatory.

Trail and Grounds Crew. L49 is seeking general and lead trail crew position for the 2017 season. Trail work includes constructing and maintaining trails using both traditional hand tools (rakes, shovels, Pulaskis, etc.) and mechanized equipment (brushers, chain saws, etc.) as well as other tools necessary for trail projects. Trail work provides an exciting opportunity to work outdoors as part of a team to accomplish trail projects that facilitate the access and enjoyment of public trails and State Parks grounds. The work can be both physically and mentally demanding, but ultimately very rewarding. Minimum age 18; jobs require ability to perform physical labor for extended periods in frequently adverse weather conditions, push, pull, and lift heavy objects as well as walk long distances over rugged terrain. Pay ranges from $15/hr to $20+/hour based on experience.

All positions are considered contract labor; no benefits are paid. Pay is negotiable, based on experience. As a permittee of the State of Alaska, Levitation 49 complies with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Levitation 49 is an equal opportunity employer.

For more info visit the website, Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume with proof of relevant experience to


Nationwide Trends Inspire L49 to Host Confluence

A growing trend of state's recognizing the value of the outdoors and outdoor recreation inspired Levitation 49 to host a statewide conference next month that will explore possibilities in Alaska.

Confluence: Summit on the Outdoors will be held June 3 at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage. The one-day event seeks to assess and explore the political will to provide a louder more consistent voice for the economics of the outdoors.

Recommended reading for all Confluence attendees, and others who can't be there in person, include a white paper from the Outdoor Industry Association and an industry report on the quickening pace of state-level outdoor advocacy published by SNEWS, a leading media outlet for the outdoor trade.



Conference Shines Spotlight on Economic Potential of Outdoors

Anchorage, AK - Elected officials, businesses and leading environmental non-profits are expected attendees at an upcoming one-day conference dedicated to taking a closer look at the wide-ranging economic benefits of Alaska’s great outdoor.

Confluence: Summit on the Outdoors is scheduled to be held Friday, June 3 on the campus of Alaska Pacific University. The event is hosted by Valdez-based non-profit Levitation 49 and supported by the Outdoor Industry Association, Recreational Equipment Inc., adidas Outdoors, The North Face, Agnew Beck Consulting and Denali Brewing.

L49 Executive Director Lee Hart said the inspiration for the summit is two-fold. An 17-year veteran of the outdoor, snow sports, bike and adventure travel industries, Hart believes in the benefits of the outdoor industry to economic diversification and rural economic development.

Numbers from a 2013 market research study conducted by the Outdoor Industry Association bear out Hart’s assertions. In Alaska alone, outdoor recreation contributes $9.5 billion in consumer spending, 91,600 direct jobs, $2.6 billion in wages and salaries and $711 million in state and local tax revenue.

An early supporter of the Summit is Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. While collaborating with fellow legislators to resolve the state’s fiscal crisis, Kreiss-Tomkins contemplates sustainable solutions to grow local and state economies and make Alaska more resilient to fluctuations to the price of oil.  An avid runner and kayaker, the Sitka-born legislator believes the outdoors and outdoor recreation have epic potential to grow and make Alaska’s economy more sustainable.

Another leading proponent of the Summit is former Gov. Tony Knowles. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail named in his honor is a perfect case in point illustrating the benefit of investing in outdoor recreation. Now considered a jewel of Anchorage the trail is a wellness benefit to locals as well as attracting visitors. “As a longtime supporter of trails and public lands, the data is clear,” Knowles said. “Communities benefit economically, socially, and physically from the outdoor recreation and the many businesses that directly and indirectly benefit from their relationship with Alaska’s outdoors.”

Hart said the goal of Confluence is to finish the day with actionable outcomes and next steps. Elected officials, businesses and non-profits interested in attending can find further conference details and online registration on the L49 website.


Levitation 49 is a non-profit sports commission dedicated to economic diversification through events and projects that enhance the mountain sports lifestyle in Valdez, AK. To that end, L49 hosts the Valdez Ice Climbing Fest, Chugach Fat Bike Bash, Valdez Rock Climbing Fest and Confluence: Summit on the Outdoors.

Levitation 49 Makes Headlines

Levitation 49 has been making waves in the local media. Check out these stories from our friends at Alaska Dispatch News and KTUU-TV2.

Alaska Dispatch News, April 10, 2016, Trans-Alaska Pipeline Trail: A World-Class Tourism Draw with a Clear View of Responsible Development

KTUU-TV 2, April 7, 2016, Extreme Alaska: Chugach Fat Bike Bash

Backpacker magazine, April 2016, Is the Trans-Alaska Trail America's Next Great Long Trail? 

Alaska Dispatch News, March 28, 2006, Could a 'trans-Alaska trail' Parallel the Pipeline? A State Lawmaker Hopes So

KTUU-TV 2, Feb. 18, 2016, Extreme Alaska: Valdez Ice Fest

Alaska Dispatch News, Feb. 16, 2016: Does Valdez Ice Climbing Festival Signal Renaissance for an Outdoorsy Alaska Town? 

Outdoor Industry News, February 2016, Levitation 49 Brings New Perspectives on Fat Bike to Valdez

Alaska News, Dec. 18, 2015 Levitation 49 Set To Start New Year With New Partners

Outdoor Industry News, Oct. 13, 2015 American Alpine Club Partners with Levitation 49 to host Valdez, AK Climbing Events

Outdoor Industry News, Oct. 1, 2015, Levitation 49 Partners with National Park Service to Develop Master Rec Plan for Valdez

Valdez City News, June 15, 2015, Valdez Has a New Non-Profit. Meet Levitation 49

Valdez Star, June 3, 2015, Levitation 49 Forms to Make Sports Coalition


Fat Bike Summit is now Free

Levitation 49, hosts of the regional Fat Bike Summit in Valdez, March 18, have re-located the venue in order to be able to make the event free of charge.

The new venue for the Summit is The Fat Mermaid restaurant on the harbor in downtown Valdez. There will be no fee to attend the event but participants are still asked to register for a free ticket online.

"Alaska being the birthplace and capital of fat biking means we are expecting a very lively and engaging session," said Levitation 49 Executive Director Lee Hart. "We didn't want price to be a hurdle in to participation."

The Summit will be led by Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, Gary Sjoquist, who is arguably among the leading voices of fat bike advocacy. From 9 .m. to approximately 5 p.m., Summit participants will share information on trends, best practices, user conflict mitigation, advocacy and more. 

The Summit immediately precedes the opening night of the Chugach Fat Bike Bash, a three-day festival by and for fat bike enthusiasts in the beautiful port town of Valdez. 


New Fest in Valdez Puts a Different Spin on Fat Biking

Valdez, AK – Organizers of a new festival in Valdez is hoping to transform the way people think of fat biking competitions by putting an emphasis on adrenaline more than the more-common endurance-oriented races of the genre.

The headline feature of the three-day Chugach Fat Bike Bash, March 18 - 20 is what organizers are calling the world debut of a fat freeride competition. A vertical venue on Thompson Pass is luring riders like Anchorage downhill specialist Kevin Murphy to test their riding skill on some of the steepest terrain ever biked on snow. Like the World Extreme Skiing Championships of the 90’s that put Valdez on the map as the birthplace of big mountain skiing, the Fat Freeride competition will judge riders on a combination of time, creativity, and originality of line. A cash purse of up to $2,000 is at stake, provided primarily by Copper Valley Telecom.

 “It’s like the Red Bull Rampage, a test of skill and guts. On snow” said Lee Hart, Executive Director of Levitation 49, the non-profit sports commission producing the event. “As fat bike technology evolves we’re beginning to see riders experimenting with air and inverts on fatties. This event is intended to nurture this direction of fat biking, the fastest growing segment in bicycling.”

 Other festival events leading up to the freeride comp are designed to showcase the beauty of Valdez in a carnival-like atmosphere. Costumes are strongly encouraged and fat tires are recommended but not necessary especially for the criterium and bike rodeo.

The opening night Ursa Major Northern Lights Criterium will take place Friday night, March 18 from 9 – 10 p.m. along the Valdez harborfront. Light and reflector bedecked riders will run laps and have an opportunity to earn time credits by stopping at participating venues offering tasters of Ursa Major craft libations. Prizes for best costume and other fun categories will be awarded. The night concludes with a bonfire at Dock Point.

 Saturday’s events begin with a cross-country race that will begin and end at Kelsey Dock, on the harbor. The main route is a 10-mile circuit over the river and through the woods; a shorter and easier out and back beginner route will total about 4 miles. In the afternoon, balancing skills will be on display during a Fat Bike Rodeo held at Kelsey Dock. A Bunny hop limbo, wheelie drag races, foot-down demolition derby, gap jump, and a snowy BMX track highlight Rodeo events that will conclude with a thrilling finale (details TBA). Prizes will be awarded for each event; photos should be priceless. After-party sponsored by Hoodoo Brewing is at The Fat Mermaid, official festival headquarters.

The event will be photographed and filmed for distribution on traditional media and social channels. Participants and spectators are encouraged to share their pics and vids with the world by using the hashtag #fatbikebash.

Online registration is currently open for passes to the event. Same-day registration for Friday and Saturday events is $10 for the crit and xc race; $5 per rodeo event or $10 for the full rodeo. Entry to the freeride competition is for experienced riders comfortable with off-piste riding. For complete event details and online discounted registration visit

The Chugach Fat Bike Bash is a production of Levitation 49, a non-profit sports commission dedicated to promoting mountain sports culture in Valdez. Proceeds from the event support L49 projects.

Valdez Hosts Regional Fat Bike Summit March 18

Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Gary Sjoquist

Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Gary Sjoquist

VALDEZ, AK – Trends and best practices will be the focus of a Regional Fat Bike Summit here March 18 led by Mountain Bike Hall of Famer and leading national fat bike advocate Gary Sjoquist.

The Summit is designed to bring together retailers, manufacturers, non-profits, trail builders and state and local parks and land use managers to learn and share information and success stories about the fastest growing sector of the cycling industry.

The Summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Valdez Civic Center, 110 Clifton Court, overlooking Prince William Sound. Registration, which includes lunch, is just $25. UPDATE 3.5.16: THERE MAY BE A CHANGE OF VENUE AND LOWER PRICE. For the most update info visit

Levitation 49, the new non-profit sports commission in Valdez, organizes the Summit. The Summit is followed immediately by the opening night of the Inaugural Chugach Fat Bike Bash, a fun-filled weekend of races and competitions. The festival will mark the world debut of the Fat Freeride World Championships.

The event brings to life a two-year-old dream by Levitation 49 Executive Director Lee Hart. “The Fat Free Worlds is designed to shine a spotlight on the emerging gravity-fed adrenaline side of a sport that, until now, has mostly focused on endurance events.”

Complete information about the Summit, Fat Bike Bash, lodging in Valdez and online registration can be found on the Chugach Fat Bike Bash website.




Levitation 49 Set to Start New Year with New Partners


VALDEZ, AK - Non-profit sports commission Levitation 49 is set to start the new year with two new significant partnerships. The Valdez City Council has fully funded a grant request that Levitation 49 get off the ground and the International Mountain Bicycling Association welcomes Levitation 49 as its first chapter in Alaska.

The City of Valdez Community Sustaining Organization grant for $150,000 will support L49’s mission to diversify the local economy through events and projects that support the mountain sports lifestyle. 

“Beyond thankful, we are humbled to enjoy the unanimous support of a very forward-thinking City Council that supports this new direction for Valdez,” said L49 Executive Director Lee Hart. L49 Founder and President Nick Weicht added, “Now comes the good but hard work of bringing all our plans to life.”

A significant portion of the grant will pay to shine a media spotlight on these three L49 events next year: 

L49 is also leading the process of developing a community-driven master trail plan encompassing greater Valdez from Prince William Sound to 54 miles up the Richardson Highway. The highway is the only road that connects Valdez to the rest of Alaska. That effort is supported by a National Park Service Rivers Trails Conservation Assistance grant that was awarded this past fall.

On December 12, IMBA confirmed L49’s chapter status. Representatives of IMBA are planning to celebrate the chapter and host a membership drive during L49’s Chugach Fat Bike Bash in March.

ABOUT LEVITATION 49. Levitation 49 is a non-profit sports co,,is soon dedicated to economic diversification through the development and promotion of events and projects that enhance the mountain sports lifestyle in Valdez, AK. For more information about Levitation 49, it's projects and events, visit the website Http://