This weekend, the 17th annual Oosik Classic Ski Race brings together 750 Nordic skiers in Talkeetna for one of Alaska's best winter events.
The race, always held the third Saturday in March, is hosted by the Denali Nordic Ski Club, and every year, it's a popular event for not only participants, but also for spectators and fans. The 25- and 50-kilometer races are equal parts fun and serious, as many racers opt for costumes and get-ups that celebrate the end of a long winter and the impending arrival of spring. While the front of the pack features some of Alaska's top racers looking to earn the Oosik title, a majority of the participants use the race as a great social outing and a casual ski with friends and family.
The race begins at noon from downtown Talkeetna, but if you are planning to go, make sure you get there early because it fills up town quickly. Organizers also highly recommend carpooling if possible. An awards ceremony takes place at 7 in the village park, followed by an after-party at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar featuring live music and drinks from Denali Brewing Company.
The race has become so popular in recent years that organizers have had to cap the number of entrants at 750. This weekend is a perfect time for an Alaska spring break "staycation" in Talkeetna. The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is open until March 20, marking the first time in years the lodge has been open during winter months. Additionally, there are many bed and breakfasts, lodges and inns that are great places to stay for a winter weekend getaway to Talkeetna. Make it a weekend and visit the many shops, stores and restaurants that downtown Talkeetna offers.
For more information about the Oosik Classic Ski Race, click here.