Monday, May 4, 2015

Polar Bear, Fast Kids, Sleepovers

The last two weeks of April have seen fantastic weather and incredible experiences. I finished up the second half of my SkiKu week teaching skiing in the Alaskan village of Kaktovik.  The community there is just amazing and it was hard to leave.  The kids all told us they hoped the weather would come in and we would be able to fly out.  I am amazed at how well the kids have progressed in our 5 days on snow with them and their second year with the SkiKu program

Final day of teaching skiing in Kaktovik, AK
We had some fun races to cap off a great week. The kids have 25 pairs of skis, boots and poles that will remain at the school for them to use.  We had several of the teachers out skiing this week too and they have promised to take the kids out this Spring.  Keep in mind that ice is out in the Ocean around July 4th.

Traditional MukTuk (Whale Skin and Blubber)
One of the teachers brought some Muk Tuk to the community dinner.  I can't say I am a huge fan, although it was very fascinating to try.  It is quite chewy.  The Boys and Girls Club kids liked Caitlin showing them photos of my Alaska trip.  I brought a small chuck of blubber back with me, but I accidentally left it in Paul's truck.  Sorry buddy, I did double bag it though.
Polar Bear Tracks.  A goal of mine for a long time has been to see a Polar Bear in the wild. Here are his tracks.  He was first spotted 5 houses down from ours, but we only ever saw him from a long distance away on the ice through binoculars. 
Our final morning in town we were awoken with a phone call that the Nanook was just a few houses down from ours.  I don't think I have ever dressed so quickly at 4:30 am in the morning. It was helpful that it was completely light out.  A pretty fun way to celebrate Earth Day.  I am happy to teach skiing anywhere in the world, especially on snow in April, but I had requested Kaktovik knowing there was a small chance of seeing a Polar Bear.  Many of the native villages still hunt and eat polar bear, but they do not kill the bears in Kaktovik.

An overnight back country ski tour with Chad and Paul
Back at the Club on Monday after the red eye flight.  Pretty wild the contrast between Alaska and Minnesota
Wednesday Run Club Practice
Wednesday LNR Junior Practice
Thursday Fast Kids Practice
Sharing the same training hills, trails, and exercises with a World Championship Medalist
Passing out numbers pre-race
Boys and Girls Club on the start line of the Endurance United: Go Spring 5/10k Race

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