Juneau skiers headed for Arctic Winter Games

Four Juneau ski racers have qualified to compete in the Arctic Winter Games next month, based on their results at the Alaska State Alpine Skiing Championships that just ended.

The races were held last week at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood. The Alyeska Cup is the first of two state qualifying races for the United States Ski Association’s Junior Olympics for the Western Region. Juneau’s Eaglecrest Ski Area will host the second contest later this month.

The Alyeska Cup is also a qualifier for the Arctic Winter Games. Shane Kelly, Cody Weldon, Adrienne Audet and Naomi Moritz will compete at the Whitehorse games in March. Juneau Ski Club Head Coach Dan Ord says they had to make their decision now.

“It’s kind of one of those things where some athletes are holding out wanting to go to Western Region; (if they) don’t qualify and don’t get a spot to go is the worst case scenario,” Ord said. “So our athletes are quite quick to jump on the Arctic Winter Games.”

Ord says Juneau racers who have participated in previous Arctic games have done well and had a geat experience.

Ord calls the Alyeska Cup a great race series for Juneau skiers. He says they battled some tough competition from the Alyeska Ski Club, which boasts four nationally ranked skiers. The annual championship races draw 11 to 19-year olds from Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.

It also was a week of heavy snowfall. Ord says the Super G races for some age groups were cancelled, and throughout the week races had to be postponed and rescheduled due to weather.

Ord says other Juneau’s top skiers include J-3 Gaby Hebert, J-2 Joe Greenough, and J-1 skiers Peter Peel and Matthew VanDorr.

The Eaglecrest Cup – another qualifying race for Western Region Junior Olympics – is February 18th through 20th.