Darth Vader, taco sauce packets, men in drag and black widows weren’t the strangest sights at the eighth annual She Can Ski on Sunday.
That designation went to the snowshoers, a new participant in the race, and relative newcomer to the Tsalteshi Trails system.
Tom Seggerman said that snowshoers were invited to the event for the first time because last fall, the Tsalteshi Trails Association decided to allow snowshoers to use the Wolverine trail. Now, the board is working with snowshoers to create access to other trails for that group of outdoor enthusiasts.
Sunday’s event schedule included five-kilometer classic and skate ski races, a three-kilometer snowshoe and a five-kilometer drag race. The classic, skate and snowshoe races were for women only. Men dressed as women competed in the drag race. Proceeds went to the Tsalteshi Trails Association and LeeShore Center.
Robin Nyce, a co-founder and organizer of the event, said the goal was to reach out and get more of the community on the trails.
“Some women are intimidated to ski and race,” she said. “... Anybody can come out, snowshoe, and have fun with a great group of women.”
Snowshoes were provided for those who didn’t have their own, making the race even more accessible, Nyce said.
Nyce, Sue Seggerman and Brenda Dale started the race eight years ago.
“We just thought this would be a really fun community-building thing,” Nyce said.
Wilma, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm — also known as Lauri Lingafelt, Julie Williams and Donna Lester — said they liked the addition of snowshoes. All three were participating for the first time, with friend Laura McIndoe, who wore fake glasses with a nose and mustache attached.
“I was really glad they put snowshoes out on the trails,” Lingafelt said.
Not all of the snowshoers were newcomers to the event.
The Skanky Grandmas of the North said they’ve skiied in the past, but enjoyed the addition of snowshoeing Sunday.
“We had fun with that,” said Janice Habermann.
She and her teammates, Jenny Olendorff and Susan Pfaffe, frequently get together for trips and races outdoors.
“We want to be able to do stuff with our grandkids,” Habermann said.
“There’s no excuse when you get older not to just have fun and do stuff,” Olendorff added.
Outdoor adventures might not be anything new for the trio, but wearing costumes to She Can Ski was definitely out of the ordinary.
Habermann said they wound up with sparkly black tops and colorful wraps around their waists after she made a last-minute trip to Fred Meyer for trash bags before the race.
Kenai Central High School ski team members Olivia Fair and Eve Ferguson said switching to snowshoes offered the best option for their costume.
“We had to carry our light sabers and the only way to do that was on snowshoes,” Fair said.
The duo took first place for snowshoeing teams.
Fair and Ferguson weren’t the only high school pair to capture a title as a team.
The Ostrander sisters — Taylor and Allie — finished first in the skate ski race. Like the other winners, they were dressed for the occasion.
Allie showed up in footie pajamas. They were warm — maybe a little too warm, she said.
Taylor’s costume required a wider variety of pieces — suspenders from her dad’s fishing gear holding her shorts too high, glasses taped together, bright green polka dot socks, and a tie-dye T-shirt.
“I recently had a friend tell me I was very nerdy so I just decided to embrace my inner nerd,” Taylor said.
She and Allie have participated in She Can Ski in the past, but haven’t been this competitive, she said. They started out just skiing for fun, but then realized they had the energy to power to the finish.
“When we were going up Angle Hill, I just decided to go for it,” Taylor said.
The first-place classic team was Glitz and Glitter, the duo comprised of Elaine Rainey and Orie Moore, who skiied with Yvonne Leutwyler.
“We’re skiing in remembrance of loved ones,” Rainey said.
Their costumes — gold clothing with jewelry jangling as they skied — honored Orie’s mother-in-law, Peggy Moore.
“This is her,” Orie said gesturing to her glittery attire. “She was just flamboyant.”
The solo winners were Carly Reimer for the classic race and Jenny Neyman for the skate race.
Both skied both events, for a total of 10 kilometers by the time they finished Sunday. Like the rest of the winners, they showed up in costume. Neyman was part of Girls Gone Mild, eight women in the classic race wearing the witty sayings and spice levels normally found on a packet of Taco Bell sauce. Reimer turned out in a pea suit.
Because the two races used different trails, Neyman and Reimer got a change of scenery for each race.
The skate race was held on the Moose and Wolf trails, as it has been in the past. The classic race started on the new Squirrel trail, which was put in last fall, and then moved to the Moose. The snowshoe race was held solely on Squirrel, which is normally closed to snowshoers.
Reimer and Neyman weren’t the only two who competed in both races.
Hannah Pothast, an eighth-grader at Soldotna Middle School, took second in both races. She liked racing the Squirrel trail, she said.
“I loved it,” she said.
“It was excellent,” she said. “A little bit of everything — some sprinting, some hills.”
Molly Dischner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She Can Ski
Sunday at Tsalteshi Trails
Team Classic Ski (2 5-kilometer loops)
1. Orie Moore, Elaine Rainey, 59 minutes, 5 seconds; 2. Susan Pfaffe, Janice Habermann, 1:00:27; 3. Patti Berkhahn, Mary King, 1:09:59; 4. Robyn Sullens, Gretchen Kraus, 1:25:32; 5. Jenny Neyman, Michelle Turinsky, 1:26:40; 6. Tanya Lautaret, Angie Brennan, 1:27:13; 7. Kristine Moerlein, Katy Moerlein, 1:27:44; 8. Kerry Nelson, Unknown, 1:27:46; 9. Simone Owens, Sasha Fallon, 1:29:08; 10. Brenda Ahlberg, Johna Beech, 1:30:01; 11. Colleen Sinnott, Judith Eckert, 1:35:01; 12. Madison McDonald, Dana McDonald, 1:41:59.
Individual Classic Ski (5 kilometers)
1. Carly Reimer, 20:56; 2. Hannah Pothast, 22:13.6; 3. Gigi Banas, 24:22.3; 4. Joy Wannamaker, 26.39.7; 5. Yvonne Leutwyler, 29:34.6; 6. Melissa Linton, 34:29.3; 7. Carmen Stephl, 35:07.3; 8. Amber Kraxberger, 36:59.2; 9. Kirstin Mitchell, 39:59.2; 10. Mary Ellen Summer, 40:12.5; 11. Katharine Veh, 43:33.7; 12. Unknown, 43:52.3; 13. Mary Glynn, 46:27.6; 14. Barbara McNinch, 46:29.0; 15. Deb Pollock, 46:59.1; 16. Tiffany Wilkes, 51:47.7; 17. Jane Churchill, 1:00:37.3; 18. Janell Grenier, 1:00:40.0.
Individual Skate Ski (5 kilometers)
1. Jenny Neyman, 19:06.8; 2. Hannah Pothast, 19:37.8; 3. Madeleine Michaud, 23:28.7; 4. Teresa Ostrander, 23:37.5; 5. Stephanie Ferguson, 25:38.2; 6. Sara Hepner, 26:28.0; 7. Gail Moore, 26:28.4; 8. Courtney Stroh, 26:36.6; 9. Kathy Nikolas, 30:03.6; 10. Michelle Saner, 36:30.1.
Team skate ski (2 5-kilometer loops)
1. Team Ostrander (Taylor Ostrander, Allie Ostrander), 38:53; 2. NyBerg (Alexandria Bergholtz, Kristen Nyquist), 42:01; 3. Mor-Ban (Gigi Banas, Laura Mohorcich), 42:58.9; 4. Hab-Pfaf (Janice Habermann, Susan Pfaffe), 53:51; 5. Ithaca&CB (Ithaca Bergholtz, Christine Bergholtz), 1:04:48.
Team Snowshoe (2 3-kilometer loops)
1. Eve Ferguson, Olivia Fair, 54:10; 2. Lauri Lingafelt, Donna Lester, 1:05:59; 3. Kellie Trolz, Keri Hiler, 1:15:26.
Individual Snowshoe (3 kilometers)
1. Regina Theisen, 22:59.3; 2. Carol McCormick, 25:32.6; 3. Chelsea Springer, 27:02.2; 4. Jenny Olendorff, 30:14.0; 5. Julie Williams, 33:52.5; 6. Laura McIndoe, 33:53.1; 7. Sarah Mohorcich, 36:44.6; 8. Deb Nyquist, 37:19.4.