By Elisa Claassen
Lynden Tribune 

Ski to Sea returns Memorial Day weekend


Last updated 5/19/2023 at 3:05pm

Dennis Cairns, for the Lynden Tribune

Each year, Ski to Sea is a multisport relay race from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay. This year's event is scheduled for Sunday, May 28.

WHATCOM COUNTY - The creme-de-la-creme athletic event of Whatcom County is coming soon.

Ski to Sea is a 93-mile course across snow and water and other surfaces, with biking and running along cliffs, as many as 600 volunteers, and as many as 500 teams.

Ski to Sea racing is something so incredible as it involves massive volunteers available for multiple dates, public officials, closure of roadways and many emergency teams on standby. The annual race returns on Sunday, May 28 for its 50th year of the modern race as we know it today – with a few tweaks and changes along the way and a halt for COVID-19.

According to the organizer's website's history page, the race was first run in 1973 as today starting at Mt. Baker and ending in Bellingham Bay. The team needs those able to take one, or now more legs: cross country ski, downhill ski or snowboard, run, road bike, canoe (two paddlers), cyclocross bike, and sea kayak. The last leg had once been sailing.

Originally the region had Mount Baker Marathons 100 years ago which has incited books and movies as this race wasn't especially noted for safety. When it reappeared in 1973, the race was 35 miles and had three legs. A baton had been passed along. Later necklace medallions and now the wristband.

Unlike other events, this one is difficult to view in entirety and those wishing to catch a glimpse may want to pick a location at the mountain, Glacier, Maple Falls, Kendall, Everson, Lynden, Ferndale, or the big party in Bellingham's Fairhaven district since the last teammate will cross the line and ring a bell near the water. Many vendors line the streets in the Fairhaven shopping district including food and music.

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