Tuesday, December 23, 2008

OOSIK CLASSIC


THE EQUINOX OOSIK 2009:
LIVE THEATER, A SMALL TOWN, A GREAT RACE
AND A ROISTEROUS PARTY


Alaska skiers! It’s been a brisk and burly winter this year with cold temps and ample snowpack… signs which portend a splendid spring Oosik Classic Ski Race/Tour. Talkeetna – being about 2,500’ lower in elevation than the Sheep Mountain area (home to the original Oosik) – has always been reluctant to hold the race as late in the season as those earlier venues. We are only at a tad over 300’ above sea level, consequently, our snowpack doesn’t stick around as long as it does in areas a full half-mile higher. That’s not to say we haven’t had some great spring crust on April Fool’s Day. It’s just that – with this “climate-change” thing going on – skiers really don’t know what they can expect anymore in the roulette game of predicting trail conditions.
We’re keeping our hopes up, however, that this wintry trend continues as (due to popular demand) we’ve scheduled this year’s Oosik for later-than-usual. The starting gun will go off at High Noon on the first day of Spring on Saturday, March 21st, 2009.
Since we’ve been reticent about holding the race anytime but early March the past few years, we’ve conflicted with other venues (like JO’s) and a number of skiers have expressed their disappointment at missing the fun. So we’re gambling that conditions will hold and we’re going for an actual springtime event.
An IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION for folks who want to come up for the entirety of the festivities is to REGISTER EARLY! Despite the conflicts with other races last year, we still had some 350 skiers. This year we expect more.

THE SHELDON COMMUNITY ARTS HANGAR, HOWEVER, CAN ONLY
ACCOMMODATE 250 FOR THE APRES’ SKI BANQUET/DANCE.

So this year, we’re putting another event in to the hopper… The Denali Arts Council has graciously agreed to co-sponsor this year’s Oosik Classic by providing us with a discount on the use of the Sheldon Hangar for the Banquet/Dance. Consequently, we are offering a THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE on the Friday night before the Oosik!

It being nigh upon Saint Patrick’s Day, we are offering tickets to the Irish comedy:
“Flanagan’s Wake” in the Sheldon Hangar on Friday Night, March 20th at 7:30 PM
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Since we anticipate more skiers this year than the Sheldon Hangar can accommodate,
SKIERS WHO PURCHASE TICKETS FOR “FLANAGAN’S WAKE” WILL GET
PRIORITY ADMISSION TO SATURDAY’S APRES’ SKI BANQUET/DANCE.
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Early registration for the Oosik Classic is $35. Tickets to “Flanagan’s Wake” are $15 and will be available on-line on the Oosik website. Skiers who also purchase tickets to “Flanagan’s” when they register will have their bib numbers so designated and will be guaranteed admission to the banquet/dance should we (likely) register more skiers than the Sheldon Hangar can accommodate. Live music will be featuring local band “The Village Idiots”. Late (same-day) registration for the race will be $50 (show tickets not included).

We are undecided about whether-or-not we’ll provide a facility for a wax clinic this year. But check the web-site on-line prior to the event and we’ll be posting the wax recommendations of Swix wax rep, Mark Strabel, and Toko wax rep, Pat McGownd.

The Trail Crew is considering a new, “frontier” location for the course this year. But everything is weather dependent… the Old Oosik Trail – after all - IS an ethereal phenomenon. It’s episodic. It wisps through the boreal forest for a transient ski experience… then it’s gone.

So make a weekend of it. Register early. Come on up to Talkeetna on Friday night, March 20th. Enjoy some great, hilarious live drama at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar, ski the Oosik Classic on Saturday and celebrate who we are as skiers at the season-ending Apres’ Ski Banquet/Dance. Until then, keep skiing! It’s a great winter!

Talkeetna. LOCATION MAP

This year we are adding a new dimension Oosik Classic. On the Friday night preceding race day the Denali Arts Council will present Flanagan's Wake, a hilarious and interactive theatrical event that should not be missed. Participants purchasing tickets will be given priority admittance to the limited capacity banquet and dance on race day.

Flanagan’s Wake – The Hilarious Interactive Irish Wake

Where: Sheldon Community Arts Hangar
When: Friday March 20, 7:30pm

Cost: DAC members $10 / non-members $15

Description:
Join the villagers of the beautiful, fictional village of Grapplin, County Sligo, Ireland, as they tell tales, sing songs and mourn the passing of one of their own, Flanagan. You'll be transported to the Emerlad Isle to grieve as only the Irish can. You can share tales of your own experiences and misadventures with Flanagan, or just raise a pint and enjoy the stories and songs of the locals as they recall life with "Himself." Ages 8-100 love it! Under 21 must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian. Beer and wine available. Please bring id. Call 907-733-7929 to purchase tickets, or you can purchase tickets online when you register for the Oosik. Doors open at 7pm.

Running in Chicago for 13 years
"A great party!"
Chicago Tribune
"Roisterous and Boisterous!" L.A. Times
"A Hoot!" The Boston Globe
"A great time..." The Chicago Sun Times
"One of the funniest shows you'll ever see." NBC

This winter there’s good snow cover in Talkeetna. The Denali Nordic Ski Club has been scouting, brushing out, and snowshoe-packing this year’s Oosik course.

A FUN INTRODUCTION TO THIS ONE-OF-A-KIND EVENT!

No doubt about it, Alaska has as spirited a nordic community as anywhere on the continent. At race venues in the Lower 48, Alaskans are well known for their tenacity, hardiness and consistently good results. Ironically, in this wild, “last frontier” state, most of the cross country skiing activity - from junior nordic to masters to citizen’s races and events - is urban based; centered around trail systems developed and maintained by large ski clubs and municipalities. Because of the distances between communities in this Great Land, most every ski event has participants who come from hundreds of miles away (over 800 miles commonly separates the hometowns of competitors who see each other frequently throughout the winter). Despite the vast distances that separate all of us, we are still a tight-knit little “society”, with our own winter-oriented knowledge base, our own folklore (who doesn’t have a few crazy tales of out-of-the-norm skier experiences?), and even our own distinct dialect (ever hang out in a wax room?).

Unfortunately for us, nordic events here are often celebrated in somewhat of a “hurried” fashion. Skiers arrive and hustle out to check out the trails to make sure that their wax is dialed-in. They race, warm down, and then scoot inside for an all-too-brief post-race awards ceremony before piling on a bus for the long drive home. To Outsiders, this degree of commitment is mind-blowing. Alaskan skiers truly are an admirable bunch when it comes to their dedication, sense of camaraderie and love of their outdoor lifestyle in the face of conditions far more austere than most anywhere else on the planet. They deserve to celebrate… to celebrate themselves… and to celebrate what brings them together… namely those ridiculously skinny boards that enable them to so delight in moving over the winter landscape that is their home.

The Oosik Classic Ski Race/Tour is one such event from which a skier needn’t hurry away from after crossing the finish line. Indeed, the finish line is only HALF of the Oosik. Everyone’s encouraged to stay overnight in Talkeetna in order to partake in the Oosik Classic’s regionally-renowned Aprs’ Ski Banquet/Dance. There are lots of places to stay in town. The locals love the influx of this healthy, energetic crowd of outdoorsy-types, and all agree it’s the best party the town throws all year. They’re astounded that these skiers have so much energy to dance… after touring all day! (Skiers know better.)

This year we are adding a new dimension to the
Oosik Classic. On the Friday night preceding race day the Denali Arts Council will present Flanagan's Wake, a hilarious and interactive theatrical event that should not be missed. Participants purchasing tickets will be given priority admittance to the limited capacity banquet and dance on race day.

All of Talkeetna’s local food vendors “pull out all the stops” and work together to put out a great spread of all kinds of food. The Midnight Sun Brewing Company supplies the beer. And long-time local Talkeetna musicians "The Village Idiots" crank out so much rhythm, and rock, and blues…that nearly everyone ends up hitting the dance floor. At the Oosik, our “society of skiers” is truly seen in another context: one of revelry, humor, silliness, warmth and goodwill.

Trond Flagstad commented a few years ago: “You must keep this race. It’s just like the events held in the small towns back home in Norway.” Indeed, Talkeetna is a small town, but the Oosik makes it feel a little bigger for one special day. Come one, come all. The trails will be in, the bratwursts will be hot and the band tuned up and ready to rock!

RACE DETAILS:

Flanagan's Wake
On the Friday night preceding race day the Denali Arts Council will present Flanagan's Wake, a hilarious and interactive theatrical event that should not be missed. Participants purchasing tickets will be given priority admittance to the limited capacity banquet and dance on race day.

Join the villagers of the beautiful, fictional village of Grapplin, County Sligo, Ireland, as they tell tales, sing songs and mourn the passing of one of their own, Flanagan. You'll be transported to the Emerlad Isle to grieve as only the Irish can. You can share tales of your own experiences and misadventures with Flanagan, or just raise a pint and enjoy the stories and songs of the locals as they recall life with "Himself." Ages 8-100 love it! Under 21 must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian. Beer and wine available. Please bring id. Call 733-7929 to purchase tickets, or you can purchase tickets online when you register for the Oosik. Doors open at 7pm.

Oosik Masters know is that we like to have a party after the race. That’s why this race is on a Saturday. There will be a buffet and party in the evening at the Don Sheldon Hangar in downtown Talkeetna. Your participation in the race gets you in the door. We’ll have food, music, and dancing. This year’s band will be "The Village Idiots".

The focus of the event is the celebration of our good fortune – that we are skiers in some of the most magnificent country in the world! Hard-core ski racers and nature-loving ski-travelers alike are welcome at the Oosik Classic Ski Race. Winners of the 50 km race get their names inscribed for posterity on the Oosik trophy hanging at Skinny Raven Sports for all the rest of us to admire

Here’s a tip from me: If you have several basket-size options, use the bigger ones. We’ll be grooming the course long before the weekend of the event. But all the same, the snow can be deep and soft in Talkeetna in March.

Entry fee: $35 if postmarked by March 15, 2009. $50 after March 15, 2009, including race day. You can also purchase your Flanagan's wake tickets online or call the Denali Arts Council at 907-733-7929. Those purchasing Flanagan's Wake tickets will be given priority admittance to the party! Preregistration will only be online this year. Everybody’s doin’ it! REGISTER ONLINE

The Drive: It takes about two hours from Anchorage; a little more from Fairbanks. If you travel with the right people, it’s fun!

Supoort Services: Support services for the Oosik Classic Ski Race are provided by Matanuska-Susitna Borough Parks and Outdoor Recreation.

Please respect the Private Property:

Major portions of the Oosik Classic Ski Race are on private property. In order to ensure future use of the course, skiers are asked to follow these simple rules:

No loose dogs! All dogs must be on a leash. Better yet, leave your dog at home.

The Denali Nordic Ski Club, Inc. and local property owners thank you for your cooperation. Enjoy the race!

CONTACT:

More Info: Call or email Arthur Mannix (907 733-2615) or Email Chris Mannix (907 733-2427) in Talkeetna or Adam Verrier in Anchorage at 907-569-1666.

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