In May of 1998, the town of Skagway was the center of a remarkable turning point in my life. I was hired for $6 an hour to work at your fine Westmark Inn. A week later the O’Daniel family took me in for a second job at Skagway Air Service. At some point that summer Karl Klupar hired me too. After just three months of fishing for pinks in Pullen Creek, borrowing local dogs for walks to the point and hikes around Lower Lake, Skagway had left a very deep mark on me. I’ve since worked half a career in the Alaska visitor industry, and I owe you each so much for the memories and lessons of hospitality. Although I’m now employed by Visit Anchorage to promote my hometown, I’ll never stop encouraging travelers from including Skagway in their trip of a lifetime across Alaska.
To Dyea Dave, Jim Sager, Joe Warchuck, Gregg Kollasch and so many others – I miss you and your beautiful valley more than I can express in this paper. Before the 2016 summer season arrives, I want to thank the businesses of Skagway for giving me the biggest start of my life. As other seasonal workers return to employee housing and area campgrounds, I wish you another magical (and profitable) summer together.
Warmest wishes from Anchorage,
Skagway seasonal grunt: 1998-2001