37 years ago Sterling missionary Al & Bernice York felt the community needed a winter event for kids to get them outdoors and experience traditional Alaskan winter fun and games. This year despite the chilly temperatures the Peninsula Winter Games (PWG) still drew in well over 1,000 participants, according to January Yaeger, event coordinator for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, "We moved a lot of the games indoors due to the cold, but they were a huge hit with, the Puck Shoot, Jumpin' Junction bounce house, Face Painting, Archery, Home Depot craft, Fred Meyer Ice A Cookie, and many more! The Kid's MONOPOLY Tournament was a hit with over 30 participants. Cody Quelland, the Grand Prize Winner, won a $100 gift Card courtesy of Fred Meyer and over 800 Corndogs were served to kids and parents and dinner was free too thanks to our sponsors. Outdoors the double headed dragon ice slide got kids all the outdoor fun they could handle at -20 below zero," reported Yaeger.
Award winning ice carvers, Scott Hansen, John Iverson and Deric Stanton, created the massive ice dragon that will provide outdoor fun until break-up comes. On the inside ice at the Soldotna Sports Center, the hockey tournament hosted by the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association was the largest PWG tournament ever with 26 teams - 9 local, others from Anchorage, Homer, Eagle River and the Valley competing in 50 games during three days that included 4 Divisions; Mite, Squirt, PeeWee, Bantam and a T4 recreational level, about half the games took place at the Kenai rink. Over all the tournament put over 400 kids on the ice.
For many years ConocoPhillips has been the major PWG sponsor, "We enjoy sponsoring the Peninsula Winter Games because our employees live here year round and their kids are active here as well and the event is about getting kids out and getting them something to do. Activities may be limited in the winter but clearly there is a need when families load their kids up at thirty below to come to the Peninsula Winter Games and have a great time," said Peter Micciche of ConocoPhillips and Mayor of Soldotna. "It was terrific having the Native Youth Olympics at Soldotna Middle School this year and our first ever blanket toss and at the end of a long tiring day the fireworks display was a perfect finishing touch, thanks to all the Chamber sponsors and volunteers that made the weekend possible and keep enjoying the ice sculptures. Remember to pick up your stamp card and when you get it complete you can be entered to win a round trip ticket on ERA," added Yaeger.