Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he is concerned about the lack of defensive cover in his squad.The Gunners were without first-choice defender Per Mertesacker for their Premier League opener against Crystal Palace, with the German international yet to reach full fitness following the summer’s World Cup.Summer signing Calum Chambers, 19, put in another impressive display as a makeshift centre-half in the last-gasp 2-1 win over the Eagles, though an injury to Kieran Gibbs proved another blow to Wenger’s already stretched defensive resources.And the Frenchman did confess he isn’t satisfied with his options at the back, suggesting he could dip back into the transfer market before the end of the month.“Yes, I am concerned,” said the Gunners boss.“We’ve had to be creative with buying a right-back [Chambers] and playing him as a centre-back, that shows you it’s difficult to find the right quality in that position.“As I’ve said many times, we’re still on the market and should the right opportunity present itself we will take it.”Asked if the club have made any offers, he added: “No, but it’s possible [they will before the window closes].”Arsenal left it late to secure three points against a plucky Palace, Aaron Ramsey tapping home in stoppage-time to secure victory over the managerless side.The Eagles were left devastated following Tony Pulis’ exit as boss less than 48 hours before their trip across the capital, but Wenger praised the spirit of his opponents, who took the lead through debutant Brede Hangeland in the first half.“Credit to Palace, they fought hard,” he said. “They were physically strong and well organised.“We still lack a little bit a change of pace, but they gave us big problems in defence. But we keep going, that’s one of our strengths, and it paid off today.”Ramsey seems to have continued his match-winning form in the new top flight season and the Welshman, too, was impressed with their London neighbours.The midfielder added: “It was very difficult. They came out and defended really well and were very tough to break down.“They lost their manager earlier in the week but you’d never have known that the way they played. But that’s irrelevant. The result is what we were looking for and we got the three points.”
A comparison of the old Hatcher Pass chairlift and the planned expansion. (Photo courtesy of Hatcher Pass)Hatcher Pass is now a half-million dollars closer to having a chairlift for snowboarders and skiers.Listen nowThe recreation area in the Talkeetna Mountains north of Palmer has long been popular among snow sports enthusiasts, and there have been rope tows that pulled skiers up-slope there in the past.More recently, supporters of lift-access skiing in Hatcher Pass got a huge boost when the Mat-Su Health Foundation announced a $500,000 grant toward the goal of building a chairlift on the lower slopes of Government Peak.The money goes to a nonprofit formed in 2015 called Hatcher Alpine Xperience. Known as “HAX,” the group announced the funds Tuesday.Gil Carr is vice chair of the HAX board.“This is by far the closest to having an operating ski area in Hatcher in literally decades, so we’re pretty stoked about it,” Carr said. “The potential here is real, and we’re moving along quite nicely, I think.”The ski area’s supporters have already cleared some trails, and initial plans call for the installation of a refurbished, three-person chairlift to access beginner terrain. Later, HAX hopes to have enough money to purchase a high-speed, four-person chairlift called a “quad” that’ll go higher into the mountains. And Carr says more advanced skiers and snowboarders will be able to ride the lifts up to where they can start human-powered alpine touring ascents in the Government Peak side-country.Carr says the health foundation awarded the recent grant because the funding helps fulfill its mission of improving the well-being of a wide range of people in the Mat-Su region, in this case through skiing.“That’s a healthy activity, right? And so, think about having a ski hill in the Valley that is accessible and safe for kids, teenagers, families,” Carr said.With the recent grant, Carr says the first lift could be installed as soon as next summer and be in operation by the following winter. He says the timing depends on continued fundraising and whether the board decides to commit to a timetable of putting down deposits for construction.The Hatcher Alpine Xperience board’s next meeting is Monday in Palmer.