When the weather got tough, the Tsalteshi Trails Association got creative with their annual women’s ski event on Sunday, adapting it into a hybrid race to accommodate the lack of snow.
The Women’s Stud Run — previously called the Ski for Women and She Can Ski — has served as a fundraiser for the Tsalteshi Trails Association and the LeeShore Center. Traditionally a women’s ski race, the Stud Run was created this year to deal with the low snow levels, said Lauri Lingafelt, a Tsalteshi Trails Association board member and one of the event’s organizers.
“We didn’t know what to do, because there was no snow,” she said.
The association will move forward by planning it as 5K where participants have the choice between skis, snowshoes and running shoes with studs or cleats, Lingafelt said.
“Every year, no matter what we’ll have it,” she said. “Pick your weapon. If you want to ski, you can ski, or you can run.”
Due to the uncertainty surround this year’s event, the association did not advertise as much as it usually does, Lingafelt said. Sunday’s hybrid race attracted 29 total participants, including two teams of three and a pair. Normally, the 5K draws around 100 skiers, Lingafelt said.
Mika Morton of Soldotna took first place overall in the women’s event with a time of 15:18. Morton participated in the race once before, in high school, but gets plenty of practice as she coaches the Kenai Middle School Ski Team, she said.
Jenny Neyman and Aurora Agee came in second and third in the Stud Run, with times of 15:24 and 15:31, respectively. The women’s group “Men with Hats” was the fastest team across the finish line.
Not to be left out, a few men turned out for the fun, entering the Drag Race portion of the event by donning wigs, tutus, makeup and, in one case, a feather boa. The men took off on skis and on foot once most of the women crossed the finish line of the main event. Mike Bergholtz, of Soldotna, said this was the second year the has entered the Drag Race.
“My family’s been doing this for a long, long time,” he said.
Bergholtz was the second drag racer across the finish line on his skis . He said he got some help from his family when it came to putting together his outfit, which featured a pink bathrobe and feather boa.
“My daughters pulled stuff out and said, ‘here, take this,’” he said.
Bergholtz fell just short of his goal to beat 17-year-old Patrick Michels, who came in first for the men.
Or ‘Patricia,’” Bergholtz said of Michels, who crossed the finish line in a pink snowsuit, glittery makeup and mascara.
Mike Crawford took third for in the Drag Race.
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