Peninsula Winter Games offer family fun

Chances are kids that attend the 36th annual Peninsula Winter Games will not be bored. Whether it’s taking a ride on the ice slide, rolling a strike at ice bowling, watching the Native Youth Olympics, watching the fireworks Saturday night or competing in the Monopoly tournament, just to name a few — there will be plenty of events that will keep kids busy all day long. 


“We just have all kinds of things for kids to do,” Soldotna Chamber of Commerce executive director Michelle Glaves said.

The annual event is put on by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce at the Soldotna Sports Complex, with help from many local and state sponsors. There will be outdoor and indoor events at the complex, that way, kids can go inside and warm up and then go back outside, Glaves said.

“They can come in out of the cold and go out and do some sliding and ice bowling and all that good stuff,” Glaves said. “(Or) take a snowmachine ride and come indoors and jump in the (inflatable) house and get warm again.”

In addition to the events taking place at the Sports Center, the 9th annual Native Youth Olympics will be going on at Soldotna Middle School Friday through Sunday. The competition used to include three small teams; now the field has grown to about seven to nine teams, organizer Amber Glenzel said. Glenzel estimates about 75 to 100 participants in this year’s games. The games themselves provide a cultural perspective for participants and spectators. 

“I think one of the main things that I’ve always tried to bring the community with the (competition) is just the cultural awareness of the different cultures out there and different activities,” Glenzel said. “Most of the games were based off of traditional hunting and gathering skills and (Alaska Natives) needed those skills to survive.

“So these games are a part of Alaska Native culture and it’s something that everyone here in Alaska should be able to watch and participate in.”

This year, Glenzel was able to secure the Eskimo Blanket Toss blanket, which has been brought down from the World Eskimo Youth Olympics, she said. The blanket toss is new this year to the Peninsula.

“That’s going to be exciting to see that down here for a change,” Glenzel said.

The blanket has about 60 handles for people to grab a hold of and launch participants in to the air, Glenzel said.

“It’s phenomenal to watch,” she said. “I’ve seen people do backflips while being tossed in the air.”

Glenzel is hoping for warm weather so the blanket toss can be performed outside, but if that’s not the case, it will be inside at Soldotna Middle School around 3:45 or 4 p.m.

Glaves said there were changes to the ice sculptures this year. There are 25 sculptures between Kenai and Soldotna at local businesses, she said. Punch cards will be handed out for residents to visit at least 10 sculptures and have their card stamped by the businesses in the next couple of weeks, she said. The returned cards will be put in a drawing to receive a free round-trip ticket from Era Aviation. 


For a schedule of the Native Youth Olympics, and all of the weekend’s events visit


Logan Tuttle can be reached at



Peninsula Winter Games schedule:

Friday — Native Youth Olympics — Soldotna Middle School starting at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday — Native Youth Olympics — SMS starting at 9 a.m.

Saturday — Kids Monopoly Tournament (Ages 8-18) — Soldotna Sports Center, 10 a.m. check-in, games begin at 10:30 a.m.

Saturday — 28th Annual Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race — Mile 112 Sterling Highway, 11 a.m. official start

Saturday — Kids Carnival at the Soldotna Sports Center, noon to 6 p.m. Free Lunch for all and Dinner free for kids.

Saturday — Fireworks at the Soldotna Sports Center, 6:30 p.m.


List of events:

Ice cream social courtesy of Kenai Peninsula Food Bank

Kenai Chamber of Commerce Ice Bowling

Home Depot Craft

Fred Meyer Ice a Cookie

The Study’s Amazing Race

Skyview/SoHi Face Painting

Kenai Watershed Forum Scavenger Hunt

Sportsmans Warehouse Archery