Ice skating on Solstice in Southcentral Alaska | Outdoor Explorer

What’s the history of outdoor ice skating in Anchorage? How did the midtown Cuddy Park Ice Oval come to exist? What is Anchorage’s Winter Solstice Festival and how is it linked to Anchorage ice skating and the Park? This Outdoor Explorer answers these questions and more. Every year the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department and their partners host a Winter Solstice Festival at the Cuddy Family Midtown Park. The event features ice skating on the park’s ice oval, horse drawn sled rides, food trucks and dog sled rides. On this Outdoor Explorer host Paul Twardock roamed the event interviewing participants, organizers, volunteers, politicians and the events and ice ovals founders. In the second half of the show Jim Renkert talks about growing up in Anchorage ice skating and skiing, how the sports have become the core of Anchorage’s winter city ethos and his vision of bringing winter sports to all Alaskan youth.

HOST: Paul Twardock

Ellen Devine, Anchorage Parks and Recreation
Dave Bronson, Anchorage Mayor
Anna Brawley, Anchorage Assembly
Petra, volunteer/tourist from California
Jim Renkart and Art Geiss, founders and organizers of the Oval and event

Anchorage’s Winter Solstice Festival
Anchorage Skate Club
Anchorage Speed Skating Club
Nordic Skating: Luc Mehl

Paul Twardock is a Professor of Outdoor Studies at Alaska Pacific University, where he has worked since 1988. He is the author of Kayaking and Camping in Prince William Sound and help found the Alaska Sea Kayaking Symposium/Paddle Sport Fun Day. At APU he teaches a variety of undergraduate classes included Sea Kayaking, Recreation Program Design, Nordic Skiing, The Business of Recreation, and Wildland Ecosystems and Human Impacts.  Paul received his BS in Outdoor Recreation from Western Illinois University, went to work instructing for NOLS in Alaska, then received his MBA from APU.  Paul’s  research includes monitoring of campsites in Prince William Sound and Chugach State Park for human impact, trail use in Chugach State Park, and the Alaska Recreational Boating Safety Incident Database. His passions include sea kayaking, river boating of all sorts, hiking, mountain running, climbing, skiing of any kind, and birding.  One of his last adventures involved a mule ride.

Paul is one of several hosts for Outdoor Explorer

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