The dawning of the New Year promises fun and frustration for the Peninsula as Mother Nature refuses to cooperate with conducive conditions for traditional winter events. Tami Murray, Soldotna Chamber of Commerce executive director and Tustemena 200 (T-200) race chair wonders, “Will the 3rd time be the charm? The T200 is attempting to have its 30th Anniversary for the 3rd time this year. Mother Nature has not been kind to the only Iditarod and Yukon Quest qualifying race on the Kenai Peninsula. With a slate of 50 mushers signed up, including 12 of the 2015 Iditarod top 15 finishers the race organizers are once again playing the waiting game. We need some major snow and cold temps, we have tons of open water and even more ice in the hills. Our trail team are looking at every possible option. We have some good snow way up in the hills but we can’t get there. We’ve created some alternate trails before but we need a little help from Mother Nature. Moving the start is almost a sure thing, with no snow down here we’d have to start up higher, Freddie’s Roadhouse is under consideration but again we need some snow! The T200 board and trail committee are meeting, the rules state that the race is postponed a week before cancelling. Postponement would put the start on February 6th. With no real changes in the forecast we are hopeful but also realistic, of course we are in Alaska so who knows. Other races are facing similar decisions. The Knik 200 canceled and others are changing routes and considering cancelations as well. One thing we won’t do is have an unsafe race. If we get the snow and conditions we need we will need all our loyal volunteers to rally,” reported Murray. The T200 is currently scheduled for January 30th.
On the happy side of the New Year is indoor fun that is available for the first time at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex and a new smart phone app that will keep you informed of all the coming events for 2016. At a Soldotna Chamber meeting late last year Soldotna Parks & Rec. assistant director Joel Todd introduced the new Bubble Soccer bubble that is available for private parties. According to Todd the problem was not a shortage of activities and things to do in the area but knowing what activities are happening and when, “It comes down to not knowing when the various activities are happening or what they are, so it’s really an awareness issue and that’s what we are addressing with the new recreational calendar app which will have a calendar interface where you can see what the different activities are on each given day, week or month. You’ll also have a lot of searchable items where you can dial in activities to fit your needs or interests. So if you’re looking for free outdoor family events, you’ll click those buttons and only those activities will come up. Another great feature is that you can click and instantly add it to your calendar and automatically make it part of your schedule and will send last minute changes or updates, you can also forward it to friends or put it up on your social media of choice,” explained Todd. Other coming traditional not totally dependent on the weather will be the 40th Annual Peninsula Winter Games to be held indoors and out at the Regional Sports Complex with games for kids inside along with face painting, ice-a-cookie and a kids Monopoly tournament. Outdoors weather permitting will be kick sledding, snow machine rides, free lunch and dinner and a fireworks display. The traditional ice sculptures will most likely be postponed to later in the year if cold weather arrives. For more information about Bubble Soccer rates and availability contact Soldotna Parks & Rec department and for more information about the Winter Games or ice sculpture contact Melodie at the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce 907-262-9814.