The Ski to Sea Race (S2S) in Bellingham, Washington is celebrating 100 years this year. Established in 1911, Ski to Sea is a seven-disciplined race stretching from the slopes of Mount Baker to the shorelines of Marine Park in Fairhaven. Originally, it was the Mount Baker Marathons from the city of Bellingham, up to Mount Baker, and then back down to Bellingham. Cancelled after a runner fell in a crevasse, the race officially premiered as the Ski to Sea in 1973.
Today, teams are comprised of 8 racers (2 in the canoe leg) for the seven race legs (Cross Country Ski; Downhill Ski/Snowboard; Running; Road Bike; Canoe; Mountain Bike; Kayak). A racer can only be on one team, and only complete one leg. There are 14 divisions and plaques are given out to the top 3 teams in each division. For the first time this year, there are International Teams joining the race which S2S raised money for in flying out athletes from Russia, Austria and South Korea to name a few.
In another first this year for Ski to Sea, they have sold out meeting their 500 team cap. S2S had never established a maximum team cap before but decided to this year after last year racked in 464 teams. Pete Coy, who has been involved with S2S since 1973 but has been the Race Director for the past 5 years, told us the team cap decision was made this year but will be re-evlauted in the future.
The race was originally owned and ran by the local Chamber of Commerce in Whatcom County until last year when it switched to non-profit in January of 2010. Coy was one of the instrumental team members at S2S in overseeing the switch over. Now that S2S is a non-profit and the race in their own hands, they are able to have full control and continue to meet their mission to, “display and preserve the geographical diversity and varied outdoor recreational opportunities of Whatcom County while encouraging healthy lifestyles through friendly competition.”
The 100th Ski to Sea Race is this Memorial Day Weekend on Sunday, May 29. Leading up to the race, their Grande Parade will be the day before on May 28, as well as a very special Community Block Party which has not happened in the past 10 years. Congrats Ski to Sea for your 100th year! We hope the next 100 are just as good.
For more information on Ski to Sea and for volunteering, please visit their website at http://www.skitosea.com/.