By Jenny Neyman
There isn’t much beyond the calendar date to put the winter in the annual Peninsula Winter Games this year, but the event is going ahead as scheduled this weekend, even without some of its seasonal attractions.
Unless there is a dump of snow by Saturday, the ice bowling and kick sled races won’t be happening. And no matter what the weather brings by the end of the week, the ice sculptures that decorate businesses around town in advance of the games will not appear.
“We’re not going to have ice this year for the games themselves. The ice here locally that Rotary usually cuts is just not thick enough. It’s gaining but now it’s losing now with this heat we’re getting, this warm-up. So we won’t have the ice, but we’ll have all the other games,” said Tami Murray with the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
Unseasonable warm weather this winter has kept water flowing much later than usual, and even when it has gotten cold enough to form ice, a warm-up to above-freezing temperatures has followed.
According to the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2014 was the planet’s hottest year on record. This was Alaska’s warmest year in as far back as weather data has been recorded, since 1918.
That’s been bad news for snowmachiners, skiers, dog mushers and, now, fans of the annual ice carvings.
“All the businesses are bummed, but they appreciate that we’re not going to just put it up and it melts the next day,” Murray said. “We could do that, too, if we bought ice, chances are it’s going to melt so that’s another reason we don’t want to put all that money into it and not make any money, and then it thaws.”