Extreme ski championships in Valdez run out of money, volunteers

Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The World Extreme Skiing Championships are dead for now, according to Valdez organizers.

Ten years after the first event was put on to promote winter tourism, volunteers who've kept the dream alive finally ran out of energy, said former executive director Karen Stokes.

The lone paid employee of the Extreme Championships, Stokes left this year to take a job with Alyeska Pipeline Services Co.

''They stopped paying me last spring,'' Stokes said, ''and I ended up putting more personal money back into WESC than what they actually paid me. Legally, they had to have a paid position, but it was a joke.''

Stokes is optimistic the event, famous for its hair-raising cliff jumping and tight lines carved down narrow gorges, can be revived.

''There is great interest in getting it together for next year,'' she said. ''We've been talking to a sports marketing company. It takes a year or two years to get a big sponsor, a minimum of about $130,000 to run an event like this.''

Some revenue is expected from sales of a video of last year's highlights. It aired on ABC Television last week and got good reviews -- better, Stokes says, than the Winter X-Games video. Those games are a rival for attention.

''Special events are so competitive now,'' Stokes said. ''There's too many big events out there, and they're backed by big-dollar people. It takes money to get money.''

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