TIME WAS: Ice-cold temperatures force Alaska ski race to be called off (From 2012)
Editor's note: The following story first appeared in the Star in January of 2012.
Freshly cut classic ski tracks glistened in the just-rising sun the morning of Saturday, Jan. 14, practically begging to be raced on. But instead of getting tested by some of the state’s top Nordic skiers, the tracks at the Beach Lake Trails and in the stadium at Chugiak High School were left mostly unmolested thanks to some harsh winter weather.
Officials canceled the planned interval-start classic high school races after it was determined race-time temperatures were too cold for racing.
“I think everybody is disappointed,” said Chugiak ski coach Mikey Evans.
The Anchorage School District’s cut-off for racing is minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on which thermometer you looked at Saturday, the temperature at Chugiak and Beach Lake was anywhere between minus-14 and a relatively balmy minus-8.
Either way, it was too cold to race.
Evans said there was little wiggle room for officials, and he thought the correct decision was made based on the existing rules.
“I support that 100 percent,” he said.
However, the Chugiak coach took issue with the policy, which he thinks could be tweaked to allow racing in colder temperatures.
“In our sport, you can put on as much clothes as you want,” he said.
Despite the cancelation, dozens of Chugiak and Eagle River skiers remained out on the trails, bundled up in warm clothes and wearing protective face masks. Evans said he thinks there should be more flexibility when it comes to whether or not to call off races. Although the weather was cold, skies were clear and sunny Saturday, without so much as a breath of wind.
“How are we applying the rules practically?” Evans asked.
The race was the second classic race canceled due to weather. The season-opening races at Service, also classic technique, were called off due to high winds that came with a large winter storm in early December. Although competitive level skiers who participate in Besh Cup and other races weren’t affected too much by the cancelation, Evans said the loss of another classic race was a big blow for the rest of the competitors.
“It sets the high school athletes back,” Evans said.
There are no high school races scheduled for the upcoming weekend. Besh Cup races will be held on Jan. 21-22 in Homer.
Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or [email protected]