Qaniq Challenge 2017 by the numbers: Two days, 35 kilometers, three feet of fresh snow. 33 racers. $10,000 purse. Why the country's second-richest cross-country ski race is in Valdez, Alaska, in mid-January.
Jack Novak has never been to Asia before. Lauren Fritz has skied on five continents. Both Alaska Pacific University skiers are crossing the Pacific Ocean this week to race in the tenth annual China Tour de Ski, which begins in Changbaishan on January 1. Expect camels, long bus rides, communal poop shacks – oh, and a $36,000 purse.
The story of why one citizens skier trekked six hours (each way) for a race in a southern port city of Alaska. "Sometimes it’s important to travel for five days so that you can spend less than two hours racing, but do so on a course that goes from a mountain overlook to the shores of the Pacific Ocean," the author explains.
For the second-straight year, the city of Valdez, Alaska, is hosting back-to-back races (17.5 k classic on Saturday and 17.5 k skate on Sunday) with a combined payout of $10,000 dollars. As of Thursday, 29 skiers were registered. “We are guaranteed to run the race,” the race director explains. “The odds couldn’t be any better for those folks.”