‘Ski Your Age’ proves valuable in reversing post-holiday slump

Some people may have awakened Dec. 26 feeling drained of energy and sluggish from too much holiday eating. Not Margit Andersson. 

The 100-year-old, with the help of her son, Ole, strapped on a set of skis and joined in the fun at “Ski Your Age,” an annual event held at Lookout Mountain Recreation Area. 

 “She got on the skis and slid one half meter,” said Ole Andersson of his mother’s entrance into the Ski Your Age Century Club, with the requirement that skiers complete 100 kilometers minus their age. “I wanted her to do it last year, but she as only 99, and I figured she’d have to go too far.”

No stranger to winter sports, Margit Andersson grew up in Norway, on the eastern side of the Oslo fjord. Her grandparents had a farm near Lillehammer, site of the 1994 winter Olympics, where Anderson frequently visited.

“She used to ski a lot when she was growing up and when she lived in Norway,” said Andersson of his mother’s experience as a skier. “We asked her how far she’d go and she didn’t exactly know, but said she’d go for the whole day.”

Andersson’s mother recalled that Christmas through Easter was the big ski season in her homeland, with Easter being the highlight, “when everyone tore out of the cities and skied,” he said.

In 1950, Margit Andersson came to the United States. Last March, family and friends gathered at the Homer Senior Center to celebrate her 100th birthday.

“She had a spirit of adventure to try new things,” said her son, Lars, at the birthday party.

As one of eight skiers this year to join the Century Club, that spirit of adventure is something Margit Andersson has retained.

A total 75 area residents turned out for “Ski Your Age,” logging a total 1,239 kilometers, the equivalent of 769 miles, 1546.9 yards, according to Jan Spurkland, who, along with wife, Megan, organized the event.

“It was pretty fabulous,” said Jan Spurkland. “The snow was really good. There wasn’t a lot of it, of course, but the skiing was great. It was almost a perfect day.”

The Spurklands began the event as a fundraiser for the Homer High School Nordic ski team when they were coaching the team. Although no longer coaching, they have continued to organize the event in support of the high school skiers. There is no entry fee, but donations to benefit the team are accepted. 

“The best story (this year) was Margit Andersson. She hadn’t had skis on in 30 years, but she put the skis on yesterday,” said Spurkland of the Dec. 26 event. “I talked to her while she was sitting in her car and she was totally together.”

For Ole Andersson, his mother’s achievement means a new goal for the year ahead.

“I haven’t joined the Century Club yet. We missed it this year, but next year I’m kind of obligated now,” he said. “It’s kind of like a forced New Year’s resolution.”

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.

Ski Your Age 2013

Dec. 26, Lookout Mountain Recreation Area

Total number of
participants: 75

Total kilometers
recorded: 1,239


Skimeisters (skied their age in kilometers):  Megan Spurkland, 80.3;Michele Stenger, 53.6; Mike Gracz, 53.1; Pete Alexson, 50; Fred Dickerson, 43; Stacey Buckelew, 40; Brian Rowe, 36; Mia Alexson, 23; Jacob Davis, 23; Jordan Beachy, 23; Katie Miller, 23; Emily Schmidt, 22.5; Denali Critchett, 22; Katie Schmidt, 20.25; Katie Davis, 20; Alaine Miller, 20; Tiahg Scholz, 18; Caleb Rauch, 17.5; Elend Badajos, 9; Jai Badajos, 9; Syliva Clemmens, 9; Clyde Clemmens, 5.5.

Century Club (skied 100 minus their age in kilometers): Margit Anderson, 1 meter; Megan Spurkland, 80.3; Michele Stenger, 53.6; Mike Gracz, 53.1; Atz Kilcher, 50; Ruth Dickerson, 42; Alan Gnad, 34; Ken Jones, 32.

Sundowners (skied 50 kilometers during daylight hours): Megan Spurkland, 80.3; Michele Stenger, 53.6; Mike Gracz, 53.1; Pete Alexson, 50; Atz Kilcher, 50.

People that skied someone else’s age: Jane Wiebe, 44; Cindy Sisson, 25; Tara Schmidt, 20.25; Leonard Miller, 20; Marie Schmidt, 17; Kali G., 15; Catie Bursch, 14; Richard Burton, 12; Scott Hauser, 12; Janna Davis, 11.25; Paul and Liam Gutzler, 11; Marylou Burton, 11; Kristin Vantrease, 11; Chris Mitchell, 10.5; Loulou Tymrak, 10; Mariah Vantrease, 10; Jan Spurkland, 10; Gary Scholz, 10; Bonnie Dupree, 10; Maggie Bursch, 10; Claire Laukitis, 10; Emma Laukitis, 10; Frances Bursch, 10; Carlin Rauch, 9; Kaya Morelli, 9; Saanti Steyer, 8; Cassidy Soistman, 8; Becky Hauser, 7.5; Bill Steyer, 7; Judy Steyer, 7; Charlie Trowbridge, 7; Ori Badajos, 7; David Clemmens, 6.75; Rich Corazza, 6.72; Sonja Corazza, 6.72; Hillary Seger, 6.3; Morgan Sicilia, 6; Kara Clemmens, 5.5; Reid Rauch, 2.25; Lee Davis, 2.25; Elsa Gutzler, 0.5; Quetzal Hauser, 0.5; Carl Seger, no distance given; Cynthia Morelli, no distance given.

Family ski challenge (kilometers skied as a family): Stenger/Gracz, 106.7; Corazza/Spurkland, 102.7; Dickerson, 85; Schmidt, 80; Davis, 73.5; Alexson, 73; Miller, 63; Dupree/Kilcher, 60; Bursch, 34; Rauch, 28.75; Sicilia/Gutzler, 28.5; Scholz, 28; Clemmens, 26.75; Badajos, 25; Burton, 23; Vantrease, 21; Laukitis, 20; Morelli, 9; Seger, 6.3; Hauser, 0.5.