More than 800 women on skis, many of them wearing costumes, crowded Kincaid Park Sunday for the 24th annual Alaska Ski for Women.
“It’s a great year for us. It’s the highest number we’ve had in many years despite the weather,” said event director Jenny Di Grappa. “When it’s colder it just makes it a little bit more challenging.”
Temperatures with windchill reached about 10 below zero Sunday, Di Grappa said, but the “snow couldn’t be better.”
The event was created in 1997 as a way to get more women involved in local ski racing. Di Grappa said the races this year raised about $40,000 for local nonprofits working to end domestic abuse. This year had the highest number of silent auction items, she said.
Lauren Fritz won the 8-kilometer duathlon, which started with four kilometers of freestyle skiing and ended with four kilometers of classic skiing. She beat second-place Stephanie Arnold and third-place Sarah Freistone.
The 4K freestyle victory went to Ingrid Kelly and the 4K classic win went to Alisa Aist.
Skiers also competed for best costumes. A team of women dressed in different holiday outfits won first place in the team division, followed by a group of Ruth Bader Ginsburgs, all of them wearing judges’ robes.
“It was really cold but it’s always good to get out as a community and get together with a big group of women,” said Mandy Casurella, who skied with her two friends and their daughters as team Solar Power. The group won an award for their solar-panel inspired costumes.
Casurella and the others on the team said they plan to race again next year.
“We just wanted to ski together and support each other,” said Ingrid Reese. “It was good to get out there in the cold."