Adventure race readies Sunday’s challenge
Summit 2 Sound will feature tests of endurance and skill
The Prince William Sound’s adventure race got off to a slow start in its inaugural year last spring. Pea-sea soup fog in Thompson Pass delayed the Valdez Summit to Sound Challenge and forced officials to eliminate a portion of the four-legged race.
“Mother Nature has her ways,” VS2S co-founder Meg Weaver said during an appearance on KCHU’s Coffee Break: Sports Edition.
The weather didn’t stop over 70 athletes from around the state from competing in that race, which features skiing, snowboarding, biking, kayaking, and running. This year’s event will feature 90 participants and a few modifications.
The Format and Course
Like last year, the race is divided into two divisions, Nordic and Alpine. Both divisions are similar except for the first leg. Competitors in the Nordic division must complete a backcountry ski course around Odyssey Mountain at Thompson Pass. Participants in the Alpine division will have the option of skiing or snowboarding downhill.
On the second leg of the race, participants must bike 28 miles through Thompson Pass, Keystone Canyon, and along Lowe River until they reach Allison Point Beach. From there, they must kayak across the Port of Valdez until they reach the Kelsey Dock.
There are some additional changes to the final leg of the race. Instead of running through the Harbor area, this year’s participants will run through Mineral Creek.
“This year we’re staying away from as much traffic as we can,” Weaver said.
The changes extended the final leg from three to five miles. The overall distance of the course is 40 miles.
Ninety racers have entered this year’s race. There are 39 solo participants and 13 teams. Twenty-seven of them are local and 63 are from out-of-town. There are notable absences in this year’s field. Defending individual champions, Megan McKinney of Valdez (Alpine) and J.J. Tower of Anchorage (Nordic) are not competing this year. Team 75 Percent Chance (Nordic) will not be defending its team title. The Valdez Police Department (Alpine) is the only returning champion.
The 2nd Annual Valdez Summit to Sound Challenge is scheduled for Sunday, May 27th at 9 a.m. The After Party will take place at the Kelsey Dock from 4-10 p.m. at the Kelsey Dock. The Awards Ceremony will begin at 6 p.m.