Kincaid Park held a high school ski meet and a costume contest broke out

Saturday, February 15, 2020 - 20:42
  • Service’s Maya Brubaker, front, and Garvee Tobin celebrate after landing a jump as Eagle River’s Garrett Kimball wipes out at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Chugiak’s Max Beiergrohselin, left, races teammate John Rajek at the start of the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • South’s Ben Fisher tries to avoid East’s Meg Martin while going over a jump at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country ski races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • West’s Aaron Maves reacts after landing a jump at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Chugiak’s Ben Moore pauses for a snack during the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Eagle River’s Anita Walsh races out of the exchange area at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Chugiak’s Ava Cook, right, tags off to teammate Dustin Luna at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Dimond’s David Kim clears a jump at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Eagle River’s Alex Carl and Jacob Heavener prepare to start their race as teammates Laura Ripp and Mary Goodwin look on at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Service’s Maya Brubaker and Garvee Tobin race at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Service’s Joel Power wipes out on a jump at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Bartlett’s Luke Lilly wipes out after going over the jump at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Eagle River’s Mackenzie Wilson races at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Chugiak’s Mikey Connelly, left, and West’s Ethan Eski go over a jump during the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Service’s Maya Brubaker, right, and Garvee Tobin look at a photo of themselves racing at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Dimond’s Ian Cruickshank climbs a hill at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • East’s Noah Reberg clears a jump at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Dimond’s Noah Rygh clears the jump at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Eagle River’s Riley Wilson skis during the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Bartlett’s Ryan Pogue skis with the Bartlett High flag at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Service’s Matthew Terry, right, and Hayden Ulbrich wipe out after going over a jump at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)
  • Service’s Hayden Ulbrich, left, and Matthew Terry ski together as members of the Space Force at the East T-Bird Mixed Relay cross country races on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. (Matt Tunseth / ADN)

Darth Vader and the Space Force shared sunshine with the Mario Brothers and Winnie the Pooh Saturday as Kincaid Park transformed from a world-class ski venue into an otherworldly winter wonderland filled with the motliest crew of cross country skiers you’ll see this side of Santa’s Workshop.

The costumes are a tradition at the East T-Bird Classic, an annual high school relay race that’s long on spirit but short on seriousness. Saturday’s mixed relay event featured a backwards handoff, an uphill slalom and a gnarly jump that sent more than its share of skiers cups over teakettle.

There were two T-Rex’s, a ton of tutus and a Grinch who stole the spotlight. In short, it was the kind of day where the kids of the Cook Inlet Conference got to be well, anything other than kids.

“It was the last day of skiing, I wanted to do something fun,” said Dimond’s David Kim, one of two skiers who made the 3.5-kilometer loop wearing a bulky inflatable dinosaur costume.

Kim even managed to land the jump feature — something Bartlett’s Luke Lilly was unable to accomplish. Fortunately for Lilly, however, he was decked out in an entire suit of bubble wrap.

“I wanted to be the peak of safety,” Lilly said after the race.

The jump drew throngs of spectators as skiers tried to outdo each other. Service’s Joel Power — dressed as a cheerleader — crashed and burned on his 360 attempt only to be upstaged seconds later by West’s Aaron Maves, who stole the stage by landing the exact same move — dressed as the Grinch.

The annual event was far more beach party than ski race, with rock-and-roll pumping from the stadium’s sound system and the smell of chili wafting over the grounds courtesy of the East High ski boosters. The sun even came out, lending the air a decidedly springtime feel despite temperatures in the mid teens.

Several teams used tandem costumes that required each skier to make two transits of the course while skiing in unison inside the bulky costume. Eagle River’s Alex Carl and Jacob Heavener entered the race dressed as members of the Eagle River Bobsled Team and attached to each other via a cardboard cutout.

“It was really hard to coordinate,” their strides, Heavener said.

Like many teams, the duo said they came up with the idea the night before — though both credited teammates Mary Goodwin and Laura Ripp with coming up with the idea.

“We were just the labor,” Carl said.

Another tandem squad that drew a lot of attention was Service High’s “Space Force” made up of Garvee Tobin, Maya Brubaker, Matthew Terry and Hayden Ulbrich. Tobin said skiing together with Brubaker was relatively easy — until it wasn’t.

“The jump was so scary,” Tobin said.

In the end, Tobin said the event proved to be a welcome break from the more competitive races local skiers will face in the upcoming weeks, including next weekend’s state meet at Kincaid.

“It was very fun.”

As of Saturday night, results had yet to be posted online, though few — if any — of the racers appeared remotely concerned with their times. To see results, visit anchoragenordicski.com.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected] or call 257-4274

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