Homer Rope Tow slush cup celebration takes place this weekend

This weekend Homer’s Rope Tow will host two days of events at the annual Homer RopeTowPalooza.

Saturday is scheduled for the banked slalom competition and Sunday is the Rowan Springer Memorial Slush Cup. Registration for the events begins at 11 a.m. each day and the events start at noon. The registration fee is $20. The celebration will include a community meal, beer garden, silent auction and costume contest. The Facebook post for the event states that “a helmet, waiver and costume are required.”

The Homer Rope Tow is a recreational club and facility on Ohlson Mountain Road. According to the organization’s website, for more than 70 years the Kachemak Ski Club has been introducing children and adults in the Homer area to downhill skiing and snowboarding through instructional programs based at the Homer Rope Tow.

The Rope Tow is located 10 miles from downtown Homer and has been based at a site owned and maintained by the club just off of Mile 2.5 Ohlson Mountain Road since the 1970s. Earlier renditions of the club and facility were located at different locations nearby. Additional recreation opportunities in both the summer and winter on Ohlson Mountain Road including snowmachining, cross-country skiing, hiking and horseback riding are typical also.

Sarah Banks, secretary for the Kachemak Ski Club (a nonprofit separate from the local Nordic ski club) said the organization is one of the oldest nonprofits in Homer. RopeTowPalooza has hosted for several years but actual culmination of the event is always weather dependent. She said it didn’t happen last year.

“The event brings out the best of Homer snowboarding and skiing, though traditionally it originated as a snowboarding event,” Banks said. Garret McCarthy, a long-term volunteer at Ohlson Mountain, came to the board to suggest the banked slalom event, modeled after a similar event that occurs at the Mount Baker mountain facility in Washington.

“The event, now in its third or fourth year at facility, tours through the gully — you have to bank around the slopes of the gully and the award is gold-spray painted fishing gloves,” Banks said.

The slush pond at bottom of the ski hill is filled with hosing apparatus with water from a nearby fresh water spring. The pond is 3-4 feet deep and the snow was dug out by volunteers Doug Malone and Tom Klinker so that it wouldn’t take as long to fill. The slush pit is lined with a pond liner that the Kachemak Ski Club purchased a few years ago, Banks said.

The Slush Cup is a big fundraiser for the Homer Rope Tow. It brings in a lot of spectators and there is music, an announcer and beer garden.

“Rowan Springer was an avid user of the Rope Tow and since he passed away, the Slush Cup in his name has seen it as an opportunity to donate on his behalf and honor Rowan. It’s a time to have fun and enjoy life. All in all, the board decided that Rowan would have appreciated the Slush Cup and supported the event,” Banks said.

The Homer Rope Tow’s 2024 season will remain open on subsequent Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in April as long as there is snow available, Banks said.

Information on the event and other Ohlson Mountain Rope Tow details are available on the website: www.homerropetow.org.