Ski to Sea course changed to include true mountain bike leg

Ski to Sea course changed to include true mountain bike leg

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Chuckanut Mountains. Tim Chandonnet photo.
Chuckanut Mountain. Tim Chandonnet photo.

Ski to Sea course changed to include true mountain bike leg

With the low snow pack, the alpine and nordic ski legs that typically start the iconic Ski to Sea adventure race have been cancelled this year, replaced by a trail run to start the race at Heather Meadows/Mt. Baker Ski Area and a true mountain bike leg through trails on Chuckanut Mountain, Arroyo Park and the 100-Acre Wood in Fairhaven to finish the race. The race is May 24, and teams have until April 24 to get early bird pricing for registration.

From Ski to Sea executive director Pete Coy:

“Ski to Sea racers and fans:                                                                        April 1, 2015

The 2015 Ski to Sea Race is on!  As I reported several weeks ago, the low snow pack at Mt. Baker is insufficient for us to run our traditional ski events this year, so I have been meeting with a group of racers and race organizers to replace the ski legs with two new legs.  As a result, we have designed a 2015 Ski to Sea Race that we believe will be fun, challenging, safe, and very memorable.  I think racers will be as excited about this new course design as we are.  Here are the details:

Leg 1. Pandome Mountain Run.  We plan to start the 2015 race at 7:30 AM on May 24th at the Mt. Baker Ski Area Heather Meadows upper lodge with a breathtaking mass-start run up the Artists’s Point Road above the ski area.  Runners will follow the road to the summit of the Panorama Dome at 5000 feet of elevation.  Racers will then descend a singletrack trail down the North Face to finish back at the Heather Meadows lodge.  Returning racers will note this follows a course similar to our traditional downhill ski/snowboard route, but in reverse.   We have also designed a similar backup course that would be run at a lower elevation if necessary.

Leg 2. Run Down 542.  This is our traditional road run from the ski area to the DOT exchange area as described in the online race guide on our www.SkitoSea.com website.  The starting area may be moved somewhat to coordinate with the end of the first leg of the race, but otherwise the course remains the same.  For newcomers, this is an approximately eight mile run with an elevation drop of about 2,200 feet, so be prepared to set a personal record.

Leg 3.  Road Bike to Everson.  Racers will follow the traditional fast and scenic 41 mile route from the DOT maintenance facility exchange area to Everson’s Riverside Park, as is described in our race guide online.

Leg 4. Canoe the Nooksack.  Two-person canoe teams will follow the legendary Nooksack River course from Riverside Park in Everson to Hovander Park in Ferndale, a distance of about 18.5 miles, as described in the race guide online.

Leg 5. Cross Country Bike.  Riders will follow a course from Hovander Park in Ferndale to Squalicum Harbor on Bellingham Bay, which is described in the race guide online.  For newcomers, the 13 mile course is a mix of singletrack, gravel roads, and paved roads with little elevation change, which provides a good challenge for beginner and expert riders alike.  Racers may use mountain bikes or cyclocross bikes on this leg.  Returning racers will note that the railroad track section near the end of the course will not be included this year.

Leg 6. Sea Kayak Bellingham Bay.  Racers will paddle our traditional course from Squalicum Harbor to Marine Park.  See the race guide online for details.

Leg 7. Chuckanut Mountain Bike.  This new anchor leg will make the 2015 Race truly special.  Kayakers will hand off the timing chip to mountain bikers at Marine Park in Fairhaven.  Only mountain bikes may be used on this leg.  The riders will start by cruising Fairhaven’s greenway trails and the Interurban Trail to Arroyo Park, where they will face a technical uphill section through the park.  Bikers will then be truly tested as they continue climbing more technical singletrack on the north side of Chuckanut Mountain.  Less experienced riders may find themselves walking up these difficult sections.  Racers will then carefully descend gravel and paved sections to Chuckanut Drive, where they will charge up the lung-busting Fairhaven Stinger climb before hopping into the trail system of the 100 Acre Wood.  The twisting and turning trails up and down through the 100 Acre Wood will be a fun challenge for all racers before heading back through Fairhaven to end the Race where they started near the ferry terminal and the entrance to Marine Park.

Early Bird Registration Deadline Extended.  We know many teams were waiting to see the new course changes prior to registering, so we have extended the early bird deadline for registration to April 24th.  All teams registered by midnight, April 24th will get the lower registration fee.

We are still working out many details on the new legs and we will provide updates regularly, so check out the Ski to Sea Facebook page for the most up to date information.  Due to the new course changes, we will also need more volunteers than ever, so please visit www.SkitoSea.com/volunteer to sign up to help out.

With the changes we have made to the 2015 Ski to Sea course we feel like this may be the most exciting and memorable Ski to Sea Race ever.  We look forward to seeing you on Race day.

Pete Coy, Executive Director”