Allison Smith, a member of the Juneau Nordic Ski Club, passes another skier on her way along Montana Creek Road. Ski trails around Juneau will soon be hiding clues for Juneau Nordic Ski Club’s ski-o’cache event. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)

Allison Smith, a member of the Juneau Nordic Ski Club, passes another skier on her way along Montana Creek Road. Ski trails around Juneau will soon be hiding clues for Juneau Nordic Ski Club’s ski-o’cache event. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)

Grab your skis and phone — it’s time for ski-o’caching

Juneau’s Nordic Ski Club offers a new event

What do you get when you combine geocaching with Nordic skiing? Ski-o’caching, of course.

The Juneau Nordic Ski Club is sponsoring a first-of-its-kind kind ski-o’caching event to help members get out and enjoy the winter season.

“This should be a fun thing for people and families to do,” said Roman Motyka, a ski club board member.

Juneau Nordic Ski Club has more than 700 members, including volunteers who work to maintain Juneau’s ski trails while promoting the sport, sponsoring youth programs and developing new trails.

Beginning Jan. 1, registered participants will receive the coordinates of a poster placed on one of Juneau’s ski trails each Friday. Each poster will contain a single word. Participants will ski to the location to find the word with guidance from cellphone-based GPS apps.

According to the group’s website, “Each clue will be posted on a plaque near the GPS location and will be part of a six-word sentence. At the end of the five-week event, contestants will submit via email what they believe to be the completed sentence and, if correct, they will be eligible for a drawing of several great prizes.”

[Nordic Ski Club teams prepaer for the season]

Each winter, the ski club grooms trails over 100 days per season. They maintain trails near the Mendenhall Glacier, Mendenhall Lake (weather permitting), the Mendenhall Campground and Montana Creek Road. In addition, volunteer groomers periodically maintain Eaglecrest trails in the early and late season to extend the Nordic season for Juneau’s skiers.

Roman Motyka, Juneau Nordic Ski Club board member, grooms the trail along Montana Creek Road on Dec. 29. The club’s inaugural ski-o’cache event is set to begin in Jan. 1, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Roman Motyka, Juneau Nordic Ski Club board member, grooms the trail along Montana Creek Road on Dec. 29. The club’s inaugural ski-o’cache event is set to begin in Jan. 1, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“I suggest taking a picture of each word when you find it,” Motyka said.

To be eligible for the prize drawing, participants must email their interpretation of the complete sentence no later than Feb. 12. Prizes include gift certificates to local businesses and ski club merchandise.

“We thought it would be a little different and fun to find the posters,” Motyka said, adding that about 20 people are currently signed up and that registration will remain open over the weeks that the event is happening.

“We encourage people to get outside where it’s less hazardous, in terms of the virus. We are proud to offer this to people,” Motyka said.

Virus mitigation is in place on the trails, as the club encourages people to maintain six feet of distance and to wear face coverings that can be pulled up when passing others.

All ski-o’caching participants must be members of the Juneau Nordic Ski Club. Membership is available to anyone in the community. Membership rates vary based on age. Family memberships are available. More information is available at jnski.org/membership.

• Contact Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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