Kate Cox, Tania Boonstra and Ariana Cannava ski together to tie for third in the 5-kilometer skate race during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kate Cox, Tania Boonstra and Ariana Cannava ski together to tie for third in the 5-kilometer skate race during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Costumes and a cause

Tsalteshi Trails hosts 20th annual Ski for Women

Super Mario, Barbie and more than one attendee of a masquerade ball were among 75 people who came out on a chilly Sunday morning to participate in the 20th annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails.

The event, held each year on Super Bowl Sunday, has long drawn a colorful crowd of costumed contestants. Tsalteshi Trails Association Administrative Coordinator Jenny Neyman said the costume contest is “probably more competitive” than the skiing.

The top honor, Best Costume, went to a party of eight who were dressed as recognizable characters — and obstacles — from the Mario Kart video games.

RaChelle Gruenberg was Mario, Heather Rinke was Luigi, Becky Hart was Princess Peach and Sara Bundy was the Lakitu who serves as an officiant for races in the Mushroom Kingdom — complete with a sign reading “Final Lap.” Their children were dressed as a selection of road hazards and items — the question block, blooper, bob-omb and banana — represented by Heidi Rinke, Olivia Rinke, Piper Bundy and Sullivan Bundy.

Hart said they’ve wanted to put together a Mario group costume for a long time. Gruenberg said she’s been participating in the Ski for Women for the last seven years; Hart said she’d been coming out for six.

“We take the costume part very seriously,” Hart said.

The two said the event is a fun opportunity to get out and ski with a fun crowd.

“Everybody is so supportive and cheers everybody on. It’s a nice environment for a ski race,” Hart said. “It makes it fun — it makes you want to come out and do it every year.”

Neyman said that the Ski for Women is Tsalteshi’s longest standing annual event, and that the association was excited to see a big turnout as it crossed two decades. “It’s great to see people out enjoying the winter and having a good time at the trails,” she said.

Each year, the event raises money for a women’s cause — in keeping with its original mission of raising awareness of domestic violence. This year, the Ski for Women will support the The LeeShore Center, which provides services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Neyman said it’s exciting for the trails to host the event and support women in the community each year. It’s an opportunity, she said, for the nonprofit trails to give back to a community that has “always been so supportive of us.”

Morgan Aldridge won the 5-kilometer skate in 15 minutes and 30 seconds, followed by Melissa Smith at 16:41. There were three skiers who shared the third-place medal — Ariana Cannava, Kate Cox and Tania Boonstra approached the finish line holding onto one another and glided over as a trio.

Julie Laker won the 5-kilometer classic at 26:55. Sue Seggerman followed at 27:27 and Laura Gerber rounded out the top three at 30:39.

The 5-kilometer drag race, for men looking to support the cause, was won by Nathan and Jamie Nelson, who crossed together at 45:50. They also together won the award for fiercest drag outfit. Ben Wishnek followed at 1:02:11.

20th Ski for Women

Sunday at Tsalteshi Trails

5-kilometer skate — 1. Morgan Aldridge, 15 minutes, 30 seconds; 2. Melissa Smith, 16:41; 3. Ariana Cannava, 17:49; 3. Kate Cox, 17:49; 3. Tania Boonstra, 17:49; 4. Elizabeth Chilson, 18:21; 5. Mikayla Hamlin, 18:45; 6. Leslie Felts, 29:30; 7. Becca Hitchcock, 30:15; 8. Sarah Huot, 30:21; 9. Dallas Voss, 30:58; 10. Olivia Rinke, 32:15; 11. Megan McKay, 33:20; 12. Chelsea Springer, 40:51; 12. Nicole Jensen, 40:51; 13. Esme Fair, 59:08; 14. Melanie Hollon, 59:17

5-kilometer classic — 1. Julie Laker, 26:55; 2. Sue Seggerman, 27:27; 3. Laura Gerber, 30:39; 4. Emily Knight, 32:22; 5. Kelsey Cusack, 32:31; 6. Chelsea Wingard, 33:00; 7. Cherie Taylor, 33:07; 8. Katrina Cannava, 33:10; 9. Cassie Collins, 33:16; 10. Becky Hart, 33:38; 11. Sullivan Bundy, 34:05; 12. Patti Berkhahn, 34:09; 13. Yennhi Tran, 34:21; 14. Shiloh Zichko, 34:34; 15. Piper Bundy, 35:03; 16. Naomi Zichko, 34:34; 17. Rachel Gilliland, 35:21; 18. Rachel Nash, 35:46; 19. Tara Ruffner, 35:55; 19. Cynthia Bybee, 35:55; 20. Nathaly Hernandez, 36:07; 21. DeAnne Ruiz, 36:10; 22. Jannie Hulbert, 37:44; 23. Kali Saxton-Shaw, 37:44; 24. Jennifer Stubblefield, 38:21; 25. Sharon Roesch, 38:23.

26. Sara Bundy, 38:45; 27. RaChelle Gruenberg, 38:46; 28. Brenda Dale, 39:18; 28. Tressa Dale, 39:18; 29. Sarah Rinearson, 39:34; 30. Anna Dunning, 39:36; 31. Beth Swaby, 39:52; 32. Julie Williams, 41:29; 33. Tracie Howard, 41:32; 34. Carolann Barum, 43:05; 35. Sandi Crawford, 43:30; 36. Heidi Rinke, 43:51; 37. Heather Rinke, 43:54; 38. Tammy Strasbaugh, 44:40; 39. Sarah Apsens, 46:47; 39. Kaitlynn Cafferty, 46:47; 39. Ashley Lutto, 46:47; 40. Andrea Kircher, 47:20; 40. Holly Lewis, 47:20; 41. Oriana Tomlin, 49:12; 41. Rachel Grossl, 49:12; 41. Amy Frapp, 49:12; 42. Leonide McKay, 50:10; 43. Clara Nelson, 50:28; 44. Angie Nelson, 50:34; 45. Cynthia McMillin, 53:31; 46. Evgeniya Malakhova, 1 hour, 01:53; 46. Tammy Kottke, 1:01:53; 46. Victoria Trujillo, 1:01:53

5-kilometer drag race — 1. Nathan Nelson, 45:50; 1. Jamie Nelson, 45:50; 2. Ben Wishnek, 1:02:11

Becca Hitchcock and Sarah Huot round a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Becca Hitchcock and Sarah Huot round a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Laura Gerber rounds a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Laura Gerber rounds a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Chelsea Wingard and Cherie Taylor ski together during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Chelsea Wingard and Cherie Taylor ski together during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Katrina Cannava moves down the trail during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Katrina Cannava moves down the trail during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Piper Bundy rounds a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Piper Bundy rounds a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Tara Ruffner and Cynthia Bybee round a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Tara Ruffner and Cynthia Bybee round a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Heidi Rinke and Heather Rinke follow the trail of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Heidi Rinke and Heather Rinke follow the trail of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Carolann Barum, Holly Lewis and Andrea Kircher round a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Carolann Barum, Holly Lewis and Andrea Kircher round a bend during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Leonide McKay follows the path of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Leonide McKay follows the path of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Becky Hart races to the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Becky Hart races to the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Sara Bundy and RaChelle Gruenberg approach the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Sara Bundy and RaChelle Gruenberg approach the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Tracie Howard follows Sandi Crawford into the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Tracie Howard follows Sandi Crawford into the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Ashley Lutto, Kaitlynn Cafferty and Sarah Apsens approach the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Ashley Lutto, Kaitlynn Cafferty and Sarah Apsens approach the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Angie Nelson follows Clara Nelson as both approach the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Angie Nelson follows Clara Nelson as both approach the finish line of the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kate Cox, Tania Boonstra and Ariana Cannava — who all tied for third place — stand with Melissa Smith and Morgan Aldridge as they all receive medals for their top placing finishes in the 5-kilometer skate race during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kate Cox, Tania Boonstra and Ariana Cannava — who all tied for third place — stand with Melissa Smith and Morgan Aldridge as they all receive medals for their top placing finishes in the 5-kilometer skate race during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Julie Laker, Sue Seggerman, and Laura Gerber receive medals for their top placing finishes in the 5-kilometer classic race during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Julie Laker, Sue Seggerman, and Laura Gerber receive medals for their top placing finishes in the 5-kilometer classic race during the 20th Annual Ski for Women at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Sports

Homer's Gracie Miotke wins the 300-meter hurdles at the Division II state track and field meet Saturday, May 25, 2024, at Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
State track: Peninsula athletes take 7 individual titles, 5 relays

Homer’s Gracie Miotke wins 300 hurdles, 2 relays

tease
Saturday baseball: Soldotna topples Kenai for NLC title

The Soldotna baseball team defeated Kenai Central 2-1 on Saturday for the… Continue reading

tease
Saturday softball: Kodiak tops Soldotna to defend NLC title

The Kodiak softball team defeated Soldotna twice on Saturday at Palmer to… Continue reading

The Kenai Central High School girls celebrate after a goal by Katie Johnson during the ASAA Soccer Division II State Championships at Veterans Memorial Field in Wasilla, Alaska, on Saturday, May 25, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Central girls, Soldotna boys claim DII soccer titles

Both programs rise to top for 1st time

TEASE
Soldotna softball reaches NLC final, earns 1st state berth since 2017

The Soldotna softball team secured its first Division II state berth since… Continue reading

Soldotna senior Kaleb Swank dribbles around a West Anchorage defender Friday, April 5, 2019, at Soldotna's Justin Maile Field. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
It’s Kenai-Juneau girls, SoHi-Juneau boys for Division II state soccer titles

The Kenai Central and Juneau-Douglas: Yadaa.at Kale girls, and Soldotna and Juneau… Continue reading

tease
Kenai, Soldotna baseball will play for NLC title Saturday

The Kenai Central and Soldotna baseball teams will play for the Northern… Continue reading

tease
Kenai, SoHi, Homer girls; SoHi boys advance to DII state soccer semis

The Soldotna boys and SoHi, Kenai Central and Homer girls all advanced… Continue reading

Most Read