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Skiku: Virtual and in-person rural Alaska Cross Country Ski program development

Skiku’s mission is to promote cross-country skiing and its wellness benefits by facilitating development of local ski programs in the Alaskan communities we serve. Skiku’s vision is smiling, healthy rural Alaskan skiers enjoying their beautiful local landscapes. Over the last decade, Skiku has been bringing volunteers to rural Alaska villages to teach the joy of cross-country skiing to the youth in 55 rural communities. In 2019, Skiku skied with over 8,000 rural Alaska youth and 2,900 youth in 28 communities before the season was unexpectedly cut short. During the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Skiku had to pivot and think creatively on how to motivate and bring enthusiasm to rural youth from a distance. Over the span of two years, Skiku developed a 13 episode learn to ski video series called SkiTube, helped communities develop a ski check out program in their communities, provided skier cards for youth to track their skiing and awarded end of season participation certificates and prizes to youth who skied at least 8 times.

Locally in Anchorage and when safe to do so, Skiku used their time they would usually be planning and executing in-person programs in rural communities to ski with Alaska Native youth in the Anchorage area who would not otherwise have the opportunity to ski. These groups included Alaska Native Heritage Center- Tiamuna program, CITC youth programs, Ski4Kids free gear rental, Title 1 schools, Alaska Native Cultural Charter School, Muni Park and Rec Title 1 program and Regional Native Corporation Ski Days.

This year, Skiku is ecstatic for the opportunity to return to providing in- person programs in rural Alaska and will gradually return to the 55 communities served in 2019 with the goal of providing Ski Week ski programs in 30+ communities this year. All with the goal of seeing

youth, gliding, jumping, climbing, smiling and gaining confidence and joy on skis! We are thankful for the support from RuralCap Foundation to support these goals.


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