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

Winter Fest 2018


March 1, 2018

Calvin Bell, Lucia Chapell and Griffin Culbeck take off at the start of the kids' race during the ski race at Chilkoot Lake Sunday. Jane Pascoe photo.

Haines, Whitehorse and Juneau residents came out in full force for Haines Winter Fest despite heavy snow, organizers said.

The weekend began with the Kat to Koot Alpine Adventure Race. In its second year, 44 people went up and over Mount Ripinsky. More than half of the racers were from Whitehorse, with a few from Juneau.

Organizer Lindsay Johnson attributed the success to advertising. A good friend, as well as Tracy Wirak and Liam Cassidy, advertised for the event in prime spots around Whitehorse.

"Yukoners love their races and there aren't any alpine races up there," Johnson said.

Skiers, snowshoers and split-boarders fought through snowy conditions to complete the race.

"The top of the mountain was visible from Dalton City at the fairgrounds during registration and the start of the race at 8:15 a.m., but snow clouds moved in shortly after racers started making their way to the Piedad trailhead," she said.

Johnson said participants chose either to take the Skyline trail to Young Road or go up and over the Ripinsky summit to 6 Mile Lutak Road.

"The Kat to Koot route proved more popular than the reverse in that participants could climb the steep drier side of the mountain and descend the longer, more mellow and snowier side," Johnson said.

Graham Kraft and Ray Reeves placed flagged wands through the alpine portion of the race Friday, which many participants said allowed them to take the full route in the low visibility conditions. Seven snowshoers chose the Skyline option, though at least two of them summited before descending back along the ridge, Johnson said.

Racers received awards at Saturday evening's Telluride Mountain Film Festival. Johnson said splitboarders have won both years. Graham Kraft beat his and Erik Stevens' 2017 time by 30 minutes this year with the driving force of Reeves and partner Bart Pieciul.

The Haines Winter Olympics drew contestants to the fairgrounds Saturday afternoon. Fifth grader Selby Long led an opening parade of flag-carriers to light the Olympic torch, with Tom Morphet playing Olympic fanfare on his trumpet.

Adults and kids competed in a biathlon, tea-making contest, 4X4 race, arctic survival gear race and Haines Animal Rescue Kennel's "Call Your Dog" contest.

Nolan Wald finished second in the youth biathlon, behind brother Leo Wald, in his socks, after kicking off his boots in the deep snow shortly after leaving the starting line. About a dozen delicious chilis also served as fuel for the Olympic athletes.

Winter Fest ended with Miles Klehini Ski Race at Chilkoot Lake, moved from its traditional location at 25 Mile Haines Highway for better snow conditions.

Organizer Dan Egolf said about 35 cross-country skiers completed the course and enjoyed a bonfire barbecue on the ice with hot dogs, hamburgers, chili, hot drinks and desserts.

"The adult course was a beautiful 11-kilometer loop on the lake. The children's course was two laps on 1.25-kilometer loop," Egolf said.

All contestants received a Ski Haines neck gaiter. The women's first place prize was a gift basket and certificate for one night's lodging at the Aspen Hotel, a $199 value. The men's first place prize was a case of Haines Packing smoked salmon, a $150 value.


Kat to Koot Alpine Adventure Race

First overall, first men, first splitboard - Ray Reeves; Bartek Pieciul; Graham Kraft. All splitboard. Time 3:02.

Second overall, first mixed, first ski - Petr Polivka, Whitehorse; Miriam Lukszova, Whitehorse. All ski. Time 3:09.

Third overall, second mixed, first mixed gear - Jonathan Cromwell, ski; Leslie Hundhammer, splitboard. Time 3:15.

Fourth overall, third mixed, first snowshoe - Kevin Kayser Forster; Jess Kayser Forster. All snowshoe. Time 3:31.

Second men, second splitboard - Nick Schlosstein; Zephyr Sincerney. All splitboard. Time 3:48.

Third men, second snowshoe, oldest average age - Darsie Culbeck; Matt Whitman. All snowshoe. Time 3:50.

Second ski, Yukoner from last year - Guillaume Levesque, Whitehorse; Jasmin Dobson, Whitehorse. All ski. Time 4:04.

First place women, third place snowshoe - Amanda Smith, Whitehorse; Lindsay Hutchinson, Whitehorse; Kristy Petovello, Whitehorse. All snowshoe. Time 4:09.

Third place ski, second oldest team, - Sam Miller, Juneau; Chuck Orsbourne, Juneau. All ski. Time 4:17.

Second place women's team, best dressed unicorn costumes voted by applause - Julie Thomas, Whitehorse; Joëlle Haché Whitehorse; Jaylene Goorts, Comox B.C./Whitehorse. All ski. Time 4:23.

Third place women's team full race, most powder laps - Ellorie McKnight, Whitehorse; Keltie Hicks Langley, B.C .; Victoria Wood, Melbourne/Whitehorse. All ski. Time 7:43.

Winter Olympics

Chili Cook-Off:

People's Choice: Spicy Bear Chili, Jolanta Ryan.

Judges' Choice: Creamy White Bean Chicken, Chloe Goodson; Chilkat Chili, Mary Jean Sebens; and Yummy Duck, Chuck Orsbourne, Juneau.

Best Meat Chili: First - Yummy Duck, Chuck Orsbourne, Juneau; Second - Double Moose, Dave Long.

Best Vegetarian Chili: First - Sweet Potato and Black Bean; Second - Best Ever 3-Bean; both by Deana Stout.

Grand Champion: Yummy Duck by Chuck Orsbourne, Juneau



First - Rich Chapell

Second - Alissa Henry

Third - Andy Hedden


First - Leo Wald

Second - Nolan Wald

Third - Camelia Bell

Tea-Making Contest:

First - Brad and Elias Ryan

Second - Zak Acquistapace

Third - Andy Hedden

4X4 Race:

Winning Team: Courtney Culbeck, Leslie Evenden, Sara Chapell, Tom Morphet

Arctic Survival Gear Race:

First - The Grown-ups

Second - The Kids

Call Your Dog Contest:

First - Macaroni Chapell

Second - Minnie Whitman

Third - Ruby Chapell

Miles Klehini Ski Race


First - Josie Allen, 1 hr, 5 min, 34 seconds

Second - Alissa Henry

Third - Sara Chapell


First - Nat Herz, Juneau, 36 min, 40 seconds

Second - Liam Cassidy

Third - Matt Whitman


First - Emma Dorhn, 7 min, 29 seconds

Second - Camelia Bell

Third - Lucia Chapell


First - Calvin Bell, 7 min, 44 seconds

Second - Griffin Culbeck


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