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