Sure the weather was uncertain, but it wasn’t enough to stop the 44 skiers, bikers and runners crossing the Homer Epic 100 starting line Saturday morning.
The weather did open up some options, however.
“Unique to this year because of the conditions was a 100K event and a 50K,” said Jan Spurkland, race director and president of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, sponsor of the event.
The race began Saturday morning at McNeil Canyon and looped around a 50K course, with checkpoints along the way.
The city of Homer Community Recreation co-ed volleyball league ended its season with an action-packed, double-elimination tournament over the weekend. New this year to the community recreation calendar, the co-ed league boasted seven teams that spiked, blocked and dove with varying levels of athleticism, through a 14-week season. Teams were seeded according to overall win-loss records and volleying for league champs began Friday.
The Homer Hockey Association Bantams and their families are hosting the Annual Alaska State Hockey Association's Bantam Tier III State Championship at the Kevin Bell Arena on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Thirty-nine Homer skiers made the trip north to participate in the Tour of Anchorage on Sunday. Due to a lack of snow, the race was shortened from its normal 50-, 40- and 25-kilomter distances to 26K and 19K. That will be the only and last community ski race of the season as the Homer Marathon recently was canceled.
Last-minute snowfalls made for good skiing for the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club’s Wine and Cheese and Wooden Ski Tour on Sunday.
“We were really sweating bullets,” said organizer Kevin Walker. “Thursday it was glare ice. Then there was an inch (of snow) here, an inch there, three inches Saturday morning, three more inches Sunday morning, so it turned out to be really good conditions.”
The annual event serves as a fundraiser for the club, usually bringing in around $2,000 and attracting 75-100 skiers. This year, the crowd was a bit smaller.
Local snowshoers celebrated the annual Special Olympics Winter Local Competition on Saturday. Among those participating were, front row from left, Brent Escolta and Krissy Norton, and back from from left, Nick Kvasnikoff, Coach Nalani Schroeder and Jeremey Day enjoy some fresh snow. Events included 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, 800- and 1600-meter races.
The Homer Mariner Nordic ski team took one step closer to state competition at the Region III Nordic Ski Championships on the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna last week. The Feb. 14-15 event included skiers from Colony, Grace, Homer, Kenai, Palmer, Skyview, Soldotna and Wasilla.
Now that there’s some snow on the southern peninsula, Snomads, a local snowmachine club, has announced its annual Fun Run on March 8.
Registration begins at noon that day at the Homer High School parking lot and the race begins at 1 p.m. Early registration is available at All Seasons Honda, Homer Saw and Cycle, Lower Peninsula Power Sports, The Gear Shed and Spenard Builders Supply.
For more information, contact Steve at 399-0122.
The Homer High School Mariner ski team found some snow Friday and Saturday, as well as blasts of wind and breaks of sunshine, at the two-day Boroughs competition. Held at the Tsalteshi Trails, behind Skyview High School, skiers from Kenai, Skyview, SoHi and Homer competed. In overall team competition, the Homer girls took third place and the boys took fourth.
Friday was a 10-kilometer skate race for the boys and an eight-kilometer skate race for the girls. Saturday was a five-kilometer classic race for both boys and girls.
Five teams turned out for the Homer Winter Carnival Wiffle Ball Tournament, a fundraiser organized by Mike Illg for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
The Homer High School Mariner cross country ski team was dealt a change of plans last weekend, when warm weather caused cancelation of a scheduled event at Colony High School. More changes may be ahead.
“Looking at the weather forecast, there also is a very high probability that the Seward Invite will be canceled,” said HHS Head Coach Eric Groth of an event scheduled for Saturday.
“The weather we’ve been having is essentially a skier’s worst nightmare come true.”
The Homer Women’s Hockey Jamboree Tournament was a huge success last weekend, with 90 women participating from Soldotna, Fairbanks, Juneau, Anchorage and Homer. Eight teams were divided into two divisions competing for the championship title. The final breakdown after regulation play was:
The Diamonds and Hearts Division
(team, wins, ties, losses):
Enforcing Elvises: 2, 1, 0
Bankrolling Backheckers: 2, 1, 0
With an eye to the sky, the Besh Cup ski races got a green light for Saturday and Sunday. The weekend weather offered a little bit of everything. Skiers and spectators dealt with a little rain, a little sunshine and a lot of snow.
That did little to dampen enthusiasm, however. More than 200 skiers signed up for the event. Cars filled the parking lot at the Lookout Mountain Trails, with the overflow of vehicles lining Ohlson Mountain Road.
Filling in while the Mariner hockey team is away this weekend, the Kenai River Brown Bears, a Junior A hockey team based in the central peninsula, will play a game at the Kevin Bell Arena on Friday and hold an open skate on Saturday.
The event raises awareness, funds and food for the Homer Community Food Pantry. It is being held through a cooperative effort involving the Brown Bears, Homer Hockey Association, Kevin Bell Arena, Alaska USA and Land’s End Resort.
The annual ski and winter swap will be held in the Homer High School commons from 5:30-7 p.m. Jan 23. This is an opportunity to barter, trade, sell or give away winter-fun equipment, skis, snowboards, boots, clothing and other items for enoying winter. Remember to take home whatever items aren’t exchanged. No early bird and private business sales. For more information, call the Homer Community Recreation Program at 235-6090 or email email@example.com.
The second part of the Besh Cup’s three-weekend series of races happens at Homer’s Lookout Trails near Ohlson Mountain this Saturday and Sunday.
The races attract hundreds of skiers from across the state, with the first of the series held in Anchorage in December and the final weekend of races in Fairbanks next month. A Besh Cup trophy is given to the male and female skiers earning the most Junior Olympic qualifying points. The event also helps determine the Arctic Winter Games cross country ski team.
Rainy weather may have dampened the originally scheduled Friday Night Lights, a Friday and Saturday evening fundraiser for the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, but it didn’t dampen local skiers enthusiasm when it finally happened.
Initially set for Rogers Loop Trail on Jan. 3-4, it was rescheduled due to weather to Jan. 10-11, and moved to higher ground, the Sunset Trail, where there was a better covering of snow.
“Welcome to the Warrior dome,” the voice of Bea Klaich, head coach of the Nikolaevsk High School girls basketball team, boomed across Nikolaevsk School gym the evening of Jan. 2.
Full bleachers, thundering music and a strong current of excitement made it clear something big was about to happen. Indeed it was: the high school basketball teams’ battle against alumni teams.
Attracting hundreds of skiers and with a lengthy Homer history, the Besh Cup continues on Homer’s Lookout Mountain Trails Jan. 18-19.
“It’s been around for a long time,” said Jan Spurkland, president of the Kachemak Bay Nordic Ski Club. “In the 1980s, it was called the Tang Cup and then in the 1990s, it got dedicated as the Besh Cup as a memorial to Tom Besh.”
Growing up in Anchorage, Spurkland skied in the Besh Cup and participated in both the Junior Olympics and the Arctic Winter Games in the early and mid-1990s.
Oh, what a difference a few hundred feet in elevation can make.
At sea level Sunday, it was spring-like. Green grass poked through melting layers of snow on front yards and temperatures actually reached the low 40s. Up on East Skyline Drive, the sun was shining, but there was definitely more snow and the warm bonfire at Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies’ Wynn Nature Center marked the beginning of CACS’ Sunday bonfires, a free, family-friendly event.