Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Mountain race caps Winter Fest


Winter Fest saw a strong local turnout in its inaugural year, despite cancelled ferries and a closed Haines Highway that blocked out-of-town participation.

“We anticipated quite a few from Yukon and Juneau, so yes, it did impact the turnout,” said tourism director and event organizer Leslie Ross of the windy, snowy weather. “I think next year with just word out to a few groups in other communities, we will grow.”

But Ross said she’ll seek to separate the winter festival from the Dick Hotch Basketball Tournament. The events coincided this year.

“Upon planning, we thought that the two events would benefit each other and not be in conflict. However, we probably lost some folks to the film fest as the women’s teams were playing and took the same audience. We also lost some potential skiers. It would be best to separate the two events next year,” Ross said.

Ross said event planners will probably look to hold Winter Fest in February next year, hoping for more snow to work in other winter events.

The weekend started with a First Friday celebration, plus an added open house at the American Bald Eagle Foundation. Also Friday, about 100 people attended the Telluride Mountain Film Festival, 10 short films about outdoor adventure.

At Saturday’s Miles Klehini Ski Classic at 25 Mile Haines Highway, 30 people competed in men’s, women’s and children’s divisions to finish the 10K.

Sunday included the first Koot to Kat Alpine Adventure race up and over Mount Ripinksy, which Ross called “the sleeper event.”

Organizer Lindsey Johnson said 25 participants on 11 teams from Haines, Skagway and Whitehorse, Y.T., donned snowshoes and skis to make the trek. The groups started at 6 Mile Lutak Road, came down the Piedad trail and took the highway to the fairgrounds to feast on chili at the Haines Winter Games. Johnson said the race raised more than $300 for Haines Huts Takshanuk hut project.

At Sunday’s Haines Winter Games, youths paraded with flags and a lit a “cauldron” to open ceremonies as a trumpet played Olympic fanfare. Events included a chili cookoff, a snow sculpture contest, a youth biathlon, HARK’s “Call your Dog” Race, tea making, partner curling, an arctic gear relay, Haines Avalanche Info Center Beacon Rescue and two hockey tournaments.

Ski Race Results: Men – 1. Liam Cassidy 42:48, 2. Thom Ely 47:15, 3. Matt Whitman 49:50. Women – 1. Alissa Henry 1:07:08, 2. Sue Libenson 1:07:13, 3. Leslie Evenden 1:07:35. Kids - Koa Doddridge, Calvin Bell, Emma Dohrn.

Koot to Kat Results: 1. Graham Kraft and Erik Stevens, 3:31, ski/splitboards; 2. Spencer Douthit and Ray Reeves, 3:43, splitboards; 3. John Hindrichs and Erik Wortman (Skagway), 3:51, skis; 4. Tracy Wirak, Lizi Wirak, Liam Cassidy, 4:09, snowshoes; 5. Mori Hays and Shawn Asquith, 4:18, showshoes; 6. Zephyr Sincerny, Nick Schlosstein and Jeremy Reed, 4:20, splitboards; 7. Jason Eason (Haines) and Guillaume Levesque (Whitehorse), 5:16, skis; 8. Adam McMahan, Brad Ryan and Chorus Bishop, 5:33, snowshoes; 9. Thom Ely and Sue Liebenson, 6:03, skis; 10. Abbey Collins and Ashleigh Reed, 6:45 snowshoes, Dustin and Katie Craney, 8:08, skis.

Winter Games Results:

Chili Contest - 1. Mary Jean Borcik, Bison Chili, 2. Dave Long, Moose Chili

Biathlon (Youth only) - 1. Leo Wald, 2. Nolan Wald, 3. Logan Borcik

HARK “Call Your Dog” Race - 1. Ruby Chapell, 2. Olive Ross Hirch

Tea Making - Zack Acquistapace

Partner Curling - Team of Genevieve Bell, Camelia Bell and Calvin Bell

Arctic Gear Relay - Team of Sara Chapell, Sally Andersen, Sylvia Beiberich, Kim Sundberg, Alissa Henry

Haines Avalanche Info Center Beacon Rescue - Camelia Bell, Calvin Bell, Mary Bell, Anna Bell, and Nolan Wald

Hockey Tournaments:

Saturday - Team of Paul Wheeler, Riley Kosinsky, Krista Kielsmeier, Michael Wald, and Matt Whitman.

Sunday - Team of Paul Wheeler, Riley Kosinksy, Rosalie Loewen, Michael Wald, and Matt Whitman.


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