Ski for women raises awareness of domestic violence, equality and climate change

BY ANNA FROST

FOR THE HOMER NEWS

Skiers at the 14th annual Ski for Women event made statements with their costumes about current threats to women’s rights and science. To name a few, a uterus surrounded by sperm, multiple Rosie the Riveters and scientists with their mouths gagged by colorful fabric lined up at the starting line on Super Bowl Sunday at the Ohlson Mountain ski trails to raise awareness about domestic violence and spend some time under the bright winter sun.

“There’s a lot of energy. I was amazed,” said event organizer Kris Holdereid. “Usually we have about 60 percent costumes and this year I think a lot of people got dressed up so there’s that positive energy of doing things together. For both the Ski for Women and Winter Carnival you see a lot of topical costumes, so it’s not surprising given the Women’s March and everything going on right now. There’s a lot of folks paying attention and really being engaged citizens and we’re seeing that reflected in the costumes. … You cannot get more creative with costumes, I think, than Homer, Alaska.”

As the participants skied across the trail, the group looked like a microcosm of the Women’s March that attracted more than 900 people on Jan. 21 following President Donald Trump’s election. In addition to creative costumes, many skiers held signs saying “Stay engaged,” “Women’s rights are human rights,” and “Power to the people, not the people in power.”

Homer resident Hannah Snow skied dressed as a pink, human-size uterus surrounded by Di Carbonell, Jan Rumble, Vicki Lowe, Andrea Stineff, Karen Weston and Krista Etzwiler, who all dressed in white outfits as sperm. Snow said the group costume, which won the Most Creative Costume prize, was about women having choices about their bodies.

“I am the uterus and I have choices about my sperm,” Snow said. “Despite the choices you want to make, everyone is entitled to their choice. So providing options and opportunities is really important for women, regardless of the choices you make for yourself. We should have all the choices on the table always.”

Sue Mauger, Heather Renner and Marianne Aplin won the prize for Group Costume with Current Events Theme as“a gaggle of gagged scientists,” in colorful wigs and white coats marked as the Environmental Protection Agency, Parks Services and NASA. The three wore neon-colored fabric in their mouths representing the media gag orders recently put on scientists by Trump’s administration.

“We’d talk to you, but we’re not allowed to. Our back says it all,” Mauger said when asked about the group’s costumes.

Signs on the backs of their coats were titled “alternative facts,” a reference to Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway’s answer when asked about the claims the White House made about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration. The signs read, “Science is a conspiracy,” “Lead in your water tastes great,” and “Look at all this snow! Climate change is a hoax!”

Lolita Brache and Jane Miles tethered themselves to one another with a fishing net that read, “We’re all tied together” and had a variety of racial identities, sexual orientations, political parties and religions clothes pinned to the net. The pair won the prize for Attached Skiers.

More than 80 men, women and children showed up for the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club-sponsored event and raised $1,700 to support Haven House.

The funds raised benefit the organization’s programs, which address interpersonal violence, child abuse and homelessness in the Homer community.

The event provides a non-competitive race that is not timed and prizes rewarding creative costumes, sponsored by Homer businesses Homer Saw and Cycle, Stellar Air Service, Homer Hockey Association, Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware, Homer Day Spa, Bear Creek Winery, Homer Jeans, Fat Olives, Star Wash, Grace Ridge Brewing, Captain’s Coffee and Napa Auto Parts.

The Ski for Women event takes place on Super Bowl Sunday as the sports fan holiday also correlates with the high rates of domestic and interpersonal violence.

“Super Bowl Sunday statistically tends to (have), out of all the days of the year, a spike in interpersonal violence, especially domestic violence. That’s the significance of having this event on this day,” said Haven House Executive Director Missi White.

“It creates awareness of the different issues and factors that feed into interpersonal violence. It’s great to see men out here, it’s great to see children out here, it’s great to see supporters of what Haven House does.”

Anna Frost is a Homer writer.

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