Ski for Women promotes safety, silliness

  • From front to back: Homer residents Reba Temple, Marin Lee, Morgan Edminster and Clarie Neaton prepare to ski the 2018 Homer Ski for Women in their attached ensemble costume Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 at the Lookout Mountain Ski Trails. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
  • Claire Neaton holds a frozen salmon as part of the attached ensemble costume she and her friends wore to the 2018 Homer Ski for Women on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 at the Lookout Mountain Ski Trails. The ski is a fundraiser for Haven House, with prizes for the best costumes. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
  • Alina Rykaczewski prepares for the 2018 Homer Ski for Women in her kayak costume Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 at the Lookout Mountain Ski Trials. Her costume was dedicated to the late Barb Hrenchir, an avid local skier and kayaker. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
  • Ana Reid, dressed as Xena, makes her way through the 2018 Homer Ski for Women on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 at the Lookout Mountain Ski Trails. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

While a purple people eater pulled on her protective warm clothing, a group of commercial fishermen coordinated how they would hold their large fish net while skiing and a viking warrior princess skipped by on her way to registration.

The costumes and creativity abounded at this year’s Homer Ski for Women. The event is held throughout Alaska, with the largest ski being in Anchorage, as a way to support women and raise money for those in need or at risk. In Homer, the funds raised through the event, which is not timed, are donated to Haven House.

The Homer race is open to men, women and children. As skier Taz Tally (who showed up Sunday in a full-body minion suit) put it, “skiing for women is skiing for everybody.”

Dozens of Homerites took that sentiment to heart, showing up with toddlers in tow and in costumes ranging from homemade to punny.

“It’s really a family event,” he said. “… It’s a benefit for Haven House and all the money goes to help stop domestic violence and abuse, and also support the families who are victims.”

Kris Holderied has been an organizer for the ski for the last 12 years. She said that addressing such a serious topic through such a lighthearted event can be a good way of broaching the topic for some people. She said a major function of the event, for her, is promoting a shared respect in the community through a fun way to stay healthy and feel good about oneself and one’s neighbors.

“There’s always something different every year,” she said. “I mean, I kind of think that I’ve seen everything. (But) no!”

The attached group category has elicited some of the most creative costumes over the years, Holderied said. One group came as an entire sled dog team.

“I think there’s two reasons. One is, Haven House is an amazing organization that provides an unfortunately necessary service in our community,” she said. “And we need to support that. On the flip side, one of the reasons the (Kachemak Nordic) Ski Club supports this event is because it’s also about empowering people — women, men, children — to be mentally and physically healthy, right? And in the wintertime that can be a challenge, except if you ski.”

Chessie Sharp and Loretta Brown said it’s a great event that supports a good cause, and that the fun people have is what keeps them coming back for more.

Holderied said the Ski for Women is also great in the sense that it provides an easy in for people who might not be familiar with the Lookout trails system. She called it a wonderful set of trails maintained by the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, but said some people might be intimidated by them. Hosting a fun, no pressure event is a good way to introduce people to the sport and the trails in a low-key way.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@homernews.com.

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