ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – Hundreds of skiers dressed in a myriad of colorful and creative costumes swarmed the trails of Kincaid Park Sunday morning for the 22nd annual Alaska Ski for Women.
It’s the largest event of its kind in North America, and it raises money for programs that help women affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. One of those organizations is the YWCA of Alaska.
“For our organization, the grant supports our economic empowerment program,” explained program director Tamiah Lieberseach. “We do financial management and career building coaching and training with women who have experienced domestic violence or are in difficult situations.”
More than 100 volunteers were needed to organize this year’s event, including its director Jenny Di Grappa. She says the AK Ski for Women has cultivated a strong sense of community and togetherness among the ladies who participate year after year.
“It’s known as the Mardis Gras of the North, and certainly that’s why a majority of women come out today is not just for the party wave but for the costumes, for the camaraderie,” she said.
From Wonder Woman to Supergirl, many of the costumes closely embodied the spirit of the event. A team of 20 called the “Iditarod Darlings” even dressed as a full sled dog team, carrying with them a sled bearing the names of Alaskan mushing legends like Libby Riddles and DeeDee Jonrowe.