Sven Berglund


The two West High teachers, Berglund and Friedrichs, show off their skis.

Lesley Bingham, Reporter


When school is not in session, Sven Berglund is often enjoying the luxuries of Alaska’s  outdoors. The science teacher has taught at West Anchorage High School for the past 15 years and has always found a way to balance school with the activities he enjoys to participate in outdoors. Berglund was born in Alaska, lived here for two years, then moved back in the year 2000. Activities such as skiing, hiking, biking, and more, have always been hobbies Berglund has enjoyed and even brought into his lessons at school.

As a geology teacher, Berglund is constantly teaching students about the outdoors and especially outdoor safety. Bryan Friedrichs, Berglund’s co-worker and friend, said that the two teach a lesson on avalanche safety. “In Alaska, a lot of people spend time in the outdoors, and it is one of the best things about Alaska, however there are hazards that come along with it,” Friedrichs added. The two actually first met on a ski trip hosted by mutual friends, in 2009, however Friedrichs did not start working at West until 2012. Berglund said that he and Friedrichs often go on skiing and camping trips together and that they just recently went camping over spring break.

Whether it’s biking or walking to school, skiing on the weekends, going on camping trips with friends, Berglund said, “In the winter I am restricted by my job, so I spend about 16 hours outdoors in the winter and maybe 50 hours in the summer.” Both in the winter and the summer, Berglund gets together with Kelsey Romig, another friend of his who also works at West as an Alaska Studies and Student Government teacher, and often participates in bike races or camping adventures. The two met in 2010 when Romig started working at West, but they first began to hang out outside of school about three years ago. “For the last few years we’ve been hanging out outside of school; biking, fishing, going to Cooper Landing, going on evening rides,” Romig said. He and Berglund share secret fishing spots along the Kenai River where they often go fly fishing together. A month ago, Berglund and Romig both participated in a 100 mile bike race together and trained for a while before hand.

Berglund does a great job of mixing his career with his favorite hobbies by informing his students of all the amenities Alaska provides, all while teaching them how to have fun while also being cautious and ensuring the correct tools and supplies are being provided for each trip. In his class, Berglund often includes lectures and worksheets about what types of food, tools, and other items are essential for a successful camping trip. His class is known for being difficult but also very informing about real life situations that a student might not learn in a basic high school class. For example, Berglund and Friedrichs spend a class period teaching students how to climb their way out of a snow crevasse, in case of an emergency.

Many students go to Berglund for advice whether it pertains to school or suggestions for camping and skiing trails. “Kids ask me questions all the time, even kids I don’t know, to direct them to a good place that will match their skills and personality,” Berglund said.

“It’s all about fun. If you’re not having fun in class, no one is learning anything.”