Skiku is a nonprofit Alaska-based program promoting Nordic skiing in villages across Alaska. Program volunteers equipped with skis spend a week in villages teaching Youth and adults interested in learning the basics of Nordic skiing. In March, Brice Environmental Services sent two employees to Hooper Bay, a village in the Calista region, to teach Nordic skiing to Youth.
“I grew up Nordic skiing and I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities out of it,” said Lauren Hess, Skiku volunteer and Brice Environmental staff member. “It’s a lifelong sport.”
This was the fourth year volunteering for Lauren, who says she feels especially passionate about helping students in the Calista Region. “I received a lot of good responses from people in the community when I explained who I worked for. They thought it was really cool that not only do I work for a Native corporation, I am becoming more involved in the Region.”
Ingrid Eng, another Brice Environmental Services employee, joined Lauren on the trip. The weather was perfect for the visit and there was plenty of snow for the students to learn on.
“It was crazy; there are over 400 kids in the school,” said Lauren. “It felt like all of them wanted to go skiing.”
One of Lauren’s favorite memories was skiing to the coast with a group of kids, a two-mile trip that was a lofty goal for beginners, but the kids insisted.
“It took all afternoon but they were so excited,” Lauren said. “We had this long stretch of 65 kids, it was a trail of skiers in grades 6 thru 8. They made it all the way out without complaining, even though they were exhausted, it was inspiring.”