A little thing like no snow wasn’t enough to stop Sunday’s Ski For Women, an annual event benefiting Haven House. Changing ski boots for running shoes, a crowd of about 75 people of all ages — some in strollers, some pushing strollers — showed up at the snow-free Homer High School track and continued to show their support.
“We raised $1,450,” said coordinator Kris Holderied.
This is the 11th year of the event, which has raised between $1,000 and $2,000 every year for a total over the years of about $14,000 for the local shelter for individuals from domestic violence and sexual assault. A link shown in some studies between the Super Bowl, which also happened Sunday, and increased domestic violence was a driving force behind the date Ski For Women was held.
“It wasn’t just the Super Bowl, but major sporting events, things where people get revved up and then their team loses,” said Holderied.
Even though follow-up studies have not been conclusive of that connection, Holderied said it is important to remember the event is not just to raise funds for program, but to raise awareness that “we have a big issue with domestic violence” and that “the long-term goal should be that we make the changes as a community so we don’t need as many services. That would be the utter success as a community.”
The event, which is sponsored in part by Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, also encourages people to enjoy the out-of-doors during the winter.
“This is an incredible time to get outside and do things you can’t do in the summertime, places where you can’t get to in the summertime,” said Holderied. “There’s this whole amazing opportunity that skiing lets you do. Part of that is that you’re outside, you’re less likely to be depressed, more physically fit. All of that. It fosters a positive feedback loop.”
Even with bare ground, there was one set of skis in evidence at Sunday’s event, thanks to Amy Holman. There also was a ski-like event: smooshing. Rubber toe straps stapled to lengths of two-by-fours allowed for some ski-like team competition.
As always, there also were plenty of costumes and prizes:
• Best individual costume: Nicky Szarzi and her ski bunny outfit; judges’ comment: “Most courageous of all winter pretty this year.”
• Best individual creative costume: Amy Holman; judges’ comment: A teleskier that will walk as far as it takes.”
• Best award: One Billion Rising Group, group leader Tera Schmidt.
• Wishful thinking group: Lost Snowflakes, group leader Judy Gonsalves.
• Making the best of global warming: Beach Bums Jane Miles, Lolita Brache and Peggy Ellen Kleinleder;
• Most retro: 80s Bettys, group leader Olympia Peidra.
• Partner award: Unfortunatelys Rhonda Ecker and Barb Hrenchir, who will keep the award if they can predict lots of snow for February.
Participation in Ski For Women — whether by entrants or by sponsors that include Homer’s Jeans, Homer Day Spa, Ulmer’s, Free Spirit Wear, Fat Olives, Captain’s Coffee, K Bay Caffe, Smokey Bay Air and Homer Saw and Cycle — gives Holderied cause to celebrate.
‘It’s that whole coming together of community that is incredibly heartening to me and one of the best reasons you should live in Homer,” said Holderied. “We have the most incredibly gifted, funny and generous group of people. I get reminded of that multiple times a year, but for sure at Ski For Women.”
Holderied also noted two upcoming events, one focused on bringing domestic violence to an end and one encouraging skiers to get outdoors:
• Feb. 14: One Billion Rising, a global cry with a local emphasis for women survivors of violence and those who support them. It includes a gathering at WKFL Park at 3:30 p.m., a community meditation at Many Rivers from 4-5:15 p.m. and a free meal at the Art Barn at 6 p.m.
• Feb. 16: Kachemak Nordic Ski Club’s Wine and Cheese-Wooden Ski Tour, noon-4 p.m. on Lookout Mountain trails. For more information visit kachemaknordicskiclub.org.