Luminaries light the trail to the new year
Some 150-200 Seward area residents braved some of their favorite weather as they said goodbye to old year, 2011, and welcomed in the New Year on Dec. 31 at a Seward Nordic Ski Club event at the Divide Ski Area at Mile 12. It was what is likely the beginning of what will become a beautiful new local tradition. People on skis, sleds, snowshoes or just their hiking boots spent time together roaming the groomed trail loops, lit by 450 hundred twinkling homemade ice candles, known as luminaries. They also enjoyed themselves with hot cocoa, cookies and apples, and a warming bonfire. The tiny lights reflected wonderfully off the snow.
“Each candle placement was like it’s own individual piece of snow and light art!,” said Patricia Perry of Bear Lake, who made many of the unique luminaries herself, fashioning them from containers she dunked in water, then froze, inverted, smoothed down, and lit from within. Perry was greatly impressed by how well managed the entire event was, including the shuttle service provided to remote parking farther along the highway, and the volunteers who worked the parking area.
“The weather was perfect, it was nice and cold,” agreed ski club volunteer Mark Luttrell. A light snow tapered off as the evening progressed. “The ski club groomers did an excellent job preparing the trail,” he said.
This was the ski clubs’ third winter luminary, but never before had it been held on New Year’s Eve, and apparently, that was the perfect time for it,” Luttrell said. Organizers now hope it can be held at this time every year.