2022-2023 Ski Season Recap


The 2023 ski season has come to an end, just in time for the snow to melt. The Seward High School Nordic ski team spent their season racing in both classic and skate cross-country skiing.

Good ski courses that are reliably groomed are sometimes hard to come by, especially early in the season, with dicey snow in most places. Therefore, the team ended up skiing the Tsalteshi trails in Soldotna several times throughout the season since they almost always had snow and volunteers. The first and second race of the season took place there, first the Turkey Skate, a 5K, then the Candy Cane Relay. 

At the Turkey Skate, there were two top ten finishes by Katie Van Buskirk(8th) and Aly Guernsey (10th). The team took 11th place in both girls and boys, Gracie Russell and Trevor Guernsey finishing in the same place in different races.

The rest of the season was fairly uneventful, until the Region meet at Government Hill, the second-to-last meet of the season. In order to qualify to go to the state meet, Seward skiers must be in the top 75% of one of the two races, and anything but dead last in the other. This was an exceptionally challenging course, with an uphill literally a kilometer long very near the start. Katie, Aly, Trevor, and Oliver qualified for the state competition at this meet.  

The state meet took place at the Kincaid in Anchorage. This course is known to be especially hilly and challenging, even featuring a rise literally named “Stairway to Heaven” (I’ll let you imagine the challenge that brings). Over the course of the two-day meet, the girls race a 5K classic race and a 7.5K skate race, while the boys race a 7.5K classic and 10K skate race. It is a grueling weekend, for sure, but the four Seward athletes pulled through. 

For the boys classic race, Trevor got 78th with a time of 30:28, and Oliver got 95th with a 35:16. In the 10K skate, Trevor got 75th with a time of 31:44, and Oliver breezed into 86th with a 34:03. The girls 5K classic yielded Aly in 64 with a 26:03, and Katie near behind in 69th with a 26:50. In Skate the following day, that order reversed with Katie in 65th with a 26:53 and Aly in 74th with a 27:52. 

The team is a tight knit group and have a lot of fun throughout the season. Some of the favorite memories of the team include blasting Taylor Swift and playing wordscapes on the drive to State, that one time Marty made pancakes on a campstove, Marty in the Seahawk mascot costume, and dressing up in the holiday spirit for the second race of the season. 

Throughout the fun, several members also accomplished major goals they had set for themselves. Lucy Bamford, a freshman on the team, learned to skate and became more confident on skis in general. Katie qualified and participated at State in both classic and skate, as did Oliver. Trevor “finished a 10K skate without perishing.” Aly skated up all the hills during the 7.5K skate without duckwalking. Gracie achieved her PR from the last two years at the region meet. 

When asked their favorite part about the sport of cross-country skiing, the team had a myriad of responses. Marty enjoys being able “to bomb massive hills.” Trevor believes the “cool people do skiing,” something Gracie agrees with, stating her favorite being the team, and also being outside. Katie enjoys “the memories, the laughs, and friendships made, and the skiing is pretty fun too.” Oliver, ever the optimist, says the best part is “that when the race is over, you have at least 23 hours until the next one.”

The sole senior of the team, Aly Guernsey, states that “this season has been a wonderful end to my high school skiing experience. I have improved much farther than I ever thought possible in skiing, race strategy, technique, and ski waxing. Coach Estes has been such a driving force behind the season, making sure we always have drivers and vehicles for all our meets and practices for the past two years. The ski team has consisted of a close group of friends these last few years, and that is one thing I will miss as I move on in life. Also, the amount of weird inside jokes we have accumulated, such as the throwing of a tangerine.”

The 2022-2023 ski season has been a fun time for all involved, and will be back next year with even more accomplishments.