The Wooden Ski Classic is an annual event put on by the Sons Of Norway and the University of Alaska Anchorage Ski Team at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. Alaskan skiers are encouraged to pull out their wooden skis, bamboo poles, and three-pin boots, as well as their finest wool sweaters & knickers to celebrate the coming of another winter. While it is a fun event (“It's not a race, its a CLASSIC”), skiers are assessed time penalties for such things as non-wooden skis, carbon fiber poles, or any lycra clothing.
This year's event took place on Sunday, November 21. Fortunately, everyone was in the old-time spirit and no time penalties were levied, but the snow was not as cooperative. This year the course at Kincaid Park looked more like winter had already come and gone. Two weeks of snow melting and refreezing had left a treacherously icy course – and a few spots as well. The one day when metal edges would have been advisable, and we were out there trying to get around on wooden boards!
But not even lack of snow could deter the Norwegians and friends from hosting a very successful Wooden Ski Classic. Close to 100 people came out to ski and enjoy Norwegian treats such as rice porridge and waffles.
The race featured a Le Mans-style start (ie running across a field to get to the snow). Once on the snow, the course was a maze of groomed ski trails and narrow paths through the woods, with a mandatory stop at the halfway point for more Norwegian food and drink, of course. Perhaps the funniest moment of the race (of many) was when the four leaders misread a course marker and ended up crashing on top of each other about 10 feet off the trail.
But everyone eventually made it to the finish line. After all, they wouldn't want to miss the after-party. As far as the hardy participants were concerned, the less-than-perfect conditions just made for a few more post-race stories and a more memorable event.
Photos By Linda Smith