Skiku’s mission is to foster the health and recreational benefits of skiing, biathlon and running through sustainable programs across Alaska.
Skiku’s vision is healthy and active families enjoying Alaska’s vast and beautiful landscape on skis.
Through our Skiku and NANANordic programs, we provide annual cross-country skiing instruction to the children and communities of urban and rural Alaska. Teams of staff and volunteer coaches instruct at local schools by leading physical education classes in skiing instruction and activities throughout the day. After-school cross-country ski sessions are held daily for both children and their families.
The idea of coaching teams traveling to villages to share the techniques and joys of cross-country skiing originated in the Northwest Arctic Borough, also known as the NANA region. The program was named NANANordic, and it has become an overwhelming success, developing steadily since its start in 2012 in the four villages of Kiana, Kotzebue, Noorvik, and Selawik. The success of this regional program, which now reaches all 11 villages of the Northwest Arctic, helped us identify interest that other regions of the state had in starting or strengthening their skiing programs.
In 2014, Skiku was created alongside NANANordic as a sister program to share the the benefits and joys of skiing statewide. Skiku is a name that combines the Iñupiaq word for ice—”siku”—with “ski”. We now call our 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Skiku. Our statewide village Ski Week program is also called Skiku, while we continue to call the program NANANordic in the Northwest Arctic.
Skiku and NANANordic have strong support from village leaders and school officials. These leaders recognize that the program imparts a practical skill and equips children with the means to participate in a sport that has life-changing potential. All across Alaska, the culture, tradition, and landscape are conducive to thriving cross-country skiing programs. Skiku and NANANordic have been working to promote healthy and active lifestyles and get Alaskans enjoying the snow ever since.