BY NSAA STAFF AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
It might seem like graffiti at first sight, but it’s actually a sticker on the back side of a stop sign near Northern Lights Boulevard. And it simply reads #larswouldgo. Most don’t get it, but a handful of local outdoor enthusiasts, especially those in the skiing and orienteering communities, would instantly appreciate the short yet powerful message.
It’s a tribute to Lars Spurkland, who was always ready for an outdoor adventure. No matter the sport, challenge or weather, Lars would go. Sadly, Lars left us too soon. He passed away unexpectedly in December 2014 at 39 years old, and many in Anchorage are still reeling.
Lars had a constant thirst for adventure. It was instilled at a very early age as he was raised in a family who loved outdoor activities and travel. Lars, a Dimond High School graduate, was tall, strong and gifted with a package of athleticism, spontaneity and a fearless pursuit of trying new and extreme sports. His yearning was vast: rock and ice climbing, biking, running, mountaineering, orienteering, just about anything on skis, and even occasionally streaking. His enthusiasm for sports was contagious, and it carried over to all parts of his life: his work, friends and family. It seemed there was nothing Lars would rather be doing than whatever he was doing at that very moment. And there was no one he’d rather be with than who he was with at that point in time. Lars lived every minute fully.
Professionally, Lars was an accomplished engineer dedicated to preserving the environment that gave him so much life. Hardworking roots anchored Lars with a desire to give back to the community that gave him so many opportunities as he grew up. He became deeply active as a board member for the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage, committed to developing and improving programs, events and trails that impact so many in our community. Lars had a unique ability to push those around him to match his passion, all while having a smile on his face.
As Anchorage skiers gear up for a new Nordic season, it’s difficult to not think of Lars, who had just started his second year as the NSAA board president before he passed away. NSAA lost its gentle giant of a leader, and many in the skiing community lost a good friend. NSAA’s staff and volunteers feel this loss a year later and will feel it for many years to come.
But Lars would want us to go on – working, playing and living. Next time you see #larswouldgo, let it remind you to go ski, bike, hike or follow whatever outdoor passion you have whenever you can.
Because Lars certainly would.