Tag Archives: Ski to Sea

Another Ski to Sea in the books

IMG_5023By Ken Johnson

Ski to Sea happened May 27, engulfing Bellingham in a festive and intense atmosphere.

The Ski to Sea race has seven different events: cross country skiing, downhill skiing or snowboarding, running, road biking, canoeing, cyclocross biking and sea kayaking.

There is a method to this athletic madness; these events show the range of outdoor activity in Bellingham.

Boomer’s Drive-In won this year with a time of 6 hours, 6 minutes and 42 seconds.

Race day was sunny and hot, and for most of the events this spelled out perfect conditions- but not for cyclocross.

According to Jeff Cummings, who helped design the cyclocross track, the ideal conditions are for it to rain two days before the race, that way there aren’t clods of dirt blocking the racers’ path.

Cyclocross is a form of bike racing wherein competitors deal with a variety of different terrain, as well as lift their bikes over small obstacles.

Mark Gallatin, a Ski to Sea volunteer at the canoe leg, said that canoers regularly flip over.

Gallatin added, pointing at a bend in the river treacherous with sticks and logs, some people get holes poked in their canoes.

Not everyone who races in Ski to Sea is competitive, for some it is an opportunity to have fun and get together with friends.

The “Sheroes,” an all-women team from the United States and Canada, said Ski to Sea gives them a chance to reconnect every year.

Lana Mitchel and Eric Booth were part of another team from out of town. They drove from Seattle to compete.

Booth said he “gets that tingly feeling associated with skiing” whenever he comes to Bellingham.

Ski to Sea draws large crowds of people, and this, coupled with the road closures that allow bikers and runners to race, creates a traffic issue. Closures made it borderline impossible to travel through downtown Fairhaven, as well as into many parks from Lynden to downtown Bellingham.

According to “Adventures NW” Ski to Sea was originally created as a tourist attraction to stimulate the local economy.

Ski to Sea still provides a boost to Bellingham’s economy.

Pete Madden, an employee at Backcountry Essentials, a sporting goods store in downtown Bellingham, said that traffic through their store increased around 15 percent.

“Good weather and more people in town increased traffic through the store,” Madden said.

Booths, set up to advertise different businesses, populated Ski to Sea. In downtown Fairhaven, near the finish line, the streets were packed with flamboyant stands giving out prizes. Mercedes’ cars lined one of the streets, acting as a make-shift car dealership.

Like Christmas or Easter, Ski to Sea brings gobs of money into Bellingham while managing to be a fun and engaging tradition.

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Ski to Sea is ready, set, and about to go

By Kai Vieira de Rosa

Recreation fanatics from across the U.S. will line up at the Mt. Baker Ski Area and begin the seven leg race down to the Bellingham bay for Ski to Sea’s 44th annual team relay on May 29.
Ski to Sea is an annual team relay race starting from Mt. Baker Ski Area, ending in Bellingham Bay.
The race is traditionally held the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Ski to Sea has seven different events; downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, running, biking, canoeing, cyclocross-biking, and kayaking, combining to make the largest multi-sport team relay race in the world.

Continue reading Ski to Sea is ready, set, and about to go

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It’s all downhill from here

By: Kelly Rockey


Student ambassadors such as Bri Martin (left) and Fahren Mansour (right) are teaming up to build an orca float for the annual Ski to Sea Blossomtime Parade. Photo by Kelly Rockey.
Student ambassadors such as Bri Martin (left) and Fahren Mansour (right) are teaming up to build an orca float for the annual Ski to Sea Blossomtime Parade. Photo by Kelly Rockey.

With Bellingham’s annual Ski to Sea race and festival just around the corner, Whatcom Community College and its student ambassadors are working hard to get ready for the various events.

The student ambassadors are in charge of building a float for the parade as well as getting a team signed up to participate in the race.

Ski to Sea is Bellingham’s annual seven-leg relay race, held on May 25 this year. Starting at the base of the Mt. Baker Ski Resort and ending at Marine Park in Bellingham Bay, the event includes a different sport at every leg of the race.

The legs will be cross country skiing, downhill skiing or snowboarding, running, cycling, canoeing, mountain biking, and sea-kayaking, in that order, said Race Director Pete Coy.

Grace Flora, Whatcom student ambassador and the Whatcom Ski to Sea race team captain, is still adding members to the team roster and is looking for people to participate in the canoeing and sea kayaking legs of the race.

She said they would like to have alternates for the team as well, but she is primarily focused on getting a full team together to begin with. The team will be composed of both Whatcom students and staff.

“I’m really hoping that this isn’t a one-time thing, but that Whatcom can have a team every year,” said Flora. “My initial idea was that we have a presence in the Ski to Sea parade, so why not the race?”

Although the festival is focused around the tradition of the race, Ski to Sea has much more to offer to its competitors and attendees. There will be a parade with various floats and marches the day before the race, a volunteer barbecue, and a finish-line beer garden to celebrate the end of the race and festival together.

Whatcom’s float is currently under construction in an off-campus storage unit. The ambassadors are building a giant orca float.

Over 4,000 competitors from more than 500 different teams will be competing in the race, according to the event website, including athletes from all over the world. The event has gained notoriety after more than 100 years of existence, and is one of Bellingham’s largest annual events.

The race originally stems from the Mt. Baker Marathon, which began in 1911 as an annual foot-race stretching from the base of Mt. Baker to the summit and back, according to the event’s website. Over the years, the race has adapted to include skiing (or snowboarding), biking, canoeing and kayaking. The marathon was officially recreated in 1973 and given the name: Ski to Sea, according to the event’s website. It was adjusted to a relay-race as a way to “showcase the recreational opportunities in Whatcom County.”


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