The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Levitation 49 forms to make sports coalition

Group says it hopes to bring outdoor activities accessible to all


A group of 50 people met at the Fat Mermaid last week to form a new outdoor sporting group, Levitation 49.

Its goal is to make adventure sports in Valdez more inclusive rather than exclusive, form partnerships between existing sports groups and act as a clearing house for organizing events in Valdez, which are mostly run by volunteers.

Its founding members, Lee Hart and her self-described partner in crime, Nick Wiecht, have been making the rounds in Valdez, drumming up support for Levitation 49.

It has a survey for outdoor sports enthusiasts posted on its new website,

The group is looking for feedback regarding the types of outdoor sporting events people would like to participate in, contacts for existing groups and events and other information.

"There's a lot of clamoring we hear from the survey to bring back Sound to Summit," Hart said when addressing the Valdez City Council Monday night.

Hart and Wiecht are no strangers to adventure sports. The pair organized last month's highly successful rock climbing festival and restarted the ice climbing festival last February.

The two say they and the group are not looking to reinvent the wheel –there are numerous outdoor groups and activities that occur in Valdez year round. However, there are a number of ways to enhance what already exists in Valdez and better ways to spread information about the opportunities to a world-wide audience.

Valdez Star photo

Nick Weicht, left, and Lee Hart, right, appeared on KCHU public radio's Coffee Break last Friday to spread the word about it's newly formed sports group, Levitation 49.

Hiking is a good example. Valdez is rich in trails, but access is not always easy, or even easy to find according to Hart and Weicht.

"We're going to start asking people to upload information on existing trails," Hart said, noting there are numerous information sharing sites on the internet that are not often utilized by Valdez users to notify others.

An aging volunteer pool is another issue identified by the group – many outdoor sporting volunteers have been at it for decades and ready for a rest.

"It's time for the younger generation to take its turn," Weicht said.

Anyone interested in contacting the group can visit its website.


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