Ski to Sea announced late Monday afternoon it will not stage a cross-country skiing leg in 2017. By Tuesday afternoon, organizers reversed their decision.
Noting they take “public concern very seriously,” organizers posted the reinstatement of cross-country skiing on its official Facebook page Tuesday.
“We want to thank everyone who has reached out via the phone, email and here on Facebook to share your thoughts about the decision to drop the Cross County Ski leg of the race,” the posting reads.
“The Board has made a swift decision to NOT drop the Cross Country Ski leg of the race in 2017 and we apologize for any accelerated heart-rates that this has caused Ski to Sea participants. We truly want what is best for the event and our community at large. The people have spoke, we listened.”
Organizers announced the cancellation of the leg Monday, citing difficulties in finding participants.
The decision was met with spirited opinions from numerous online commenters, readers of The Bellingham Herald.
“The reasons given are ridiculous,” wrote Ted Radke, commenting on a story posted Monday on bhamherald.com “I’d much prefer they simply own up their failures, shortcomings, and profit motive. I’m seriously beginning to think that they purposely intend to shrink this race, to enhance it’s marketing cachet among ‘serious’ racers. Shameful.”
Heather Othmer wrote: “Horrible horrible HORRIBLE decision. My team (and many others) has been racing for 20+ Years and now this?! You are destroying OUR race. The x-country leg is as essential to the race as our x-country skier is to our team! Would love to see the event in the hands of people who have a clue. Do we have any options? I will definitely boycott the race this year!”
“Seriously??? Current and relevant? Well, that’s my leg, so I guess I am done with Ski to Sea,” wrote Charles Dooley.
One Tyler Irwin was on the other side of the fence: “This is finally a good decision. If you go back and look at all the “classifieds” a good majority of them consist of teams looking for XC Skiers. Good decision WE!”
But Ginny Broadhurst is done with it.
“I have done 3 different legs of the race and XC skiing was by far the best one,” she wrote. “The running leg was the worst. I guess I’m definitely done with Ski to Sea.”
The race will take place May 28 and will have the seven legs – cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, running, road biking, canoeing, cyclocross and kayaking – and seven-person teams. Cross country skiing was added in 1983, 10 years after the race began. Lack of snow at Mt. Baker Ski Area in 2015 forced the cancellation of both skiing events.
Registration for Ski to Sea opens Jan. 2, and teams that complete registration and are paid in full before Jan. 14 will receive Ski to Sea pint glasses for each team member and two Ski to Sea growlers.