Despite deep snow and high winds, 24 racers turned out for the Eaglecrest Challenge alpine ski races Saturday and Sunday at Eaglecrest Ski Area. The series, hosted by the Juneau Ski Club, marked the end of the competitive alpine ski season for local racers. As always, participation in this year's race came with one unique stipulation: racers donned not only Lycra racing suits, but also costumes.
"The dress-up slalom was invented as a last hurrah for racers," Erin McNally, JSC program director and management consultant said. "It is about making a fun event for the kids."
Saturday kicked off the two-day series with a giant slalom. Brian Vandor, with the JSC, took the race for the men with a combined time of 1:38.49. On the women's side, Sarah Satre, also with the JSC, claimed first with a combined time of 1:47. Sunday's slalom results told a similar story. Vandor and Satre again took top honors with a combined time of 1:21.35 and 1:31.84, respectively.
Finishers in the race series earned points toward the Eaglecrest Cup, which is awarded annually to the top three male and female racers who complete every local race with the highest point totals. McNally said winners are announced at the year-end banquet which will be held Saturday, April 11 at the Eaglecrest lodge.
It wasn't just hula skirts and clown costumes that set this race apart from others, though. Canadian skiers from the Alpine Ski Yukon club in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory also graced the weekend with six competitors. The races marked the Ski Yukon club's initial competition at Eaglecrest. The group made the trip so their younger racers could get just a few more races under their belts, according to McNally.
It was a good weekend for Juneau's younger skiers, as well.
"It was nice for our kids to have someone else to compete again instead of just local kids," McNally said. "It seemed like they all had a really good time."