Ski to Sea

Ski to Sea: Downhill running leg breakdown


Year leg added to the race: 1975.

Where: From Mt. Baker Ski Area to the Shuksan Department of Transportation shed.

Course length: About eight miles.

Approximate time to complete: Less than 40 minutes for top finishers, and a little less than an hour for everyone else

Course description: The running leg is all about the descent. In all, the course drops nearly 2,200 feet (an average 5.2 percent grade) from the ski area to the DOT shed. Considering all eight miles are on Mount Baker Highway, that’s a lot of pavement pounding on competitors’ feet, ankles, shins, knees and hips.

Running race chair: Tyler Mitchell.

Pre-race meeting: 7:30 a.m. at the Mt. Baker Ski Area ski shop.

Timing chip: Receive the chip from the alpine runner, swipe the chip to complete the time of that leg, complete the running leg, swipe the chip to record the finish time for the downhill running leg, and then hand off to the road biker. The downhill runner will be swiping the chip twice — once at the start of their leg and once at the finish.

2014 Top finishers

Men: Connor Whan (Boomer’s Drive-In) 36:22

Women: Courtney Olsen (CorePhysio) 39:52


Pack running: With the elimination of the two skiing legs this year, downhill runners this year probably won’t be as spread out as they’re used to by the time they receive the handoff. Downhill runners on faster teams also will pass slower alpine runners going the other direction, as that leg completes a clockwise loop around Picture Lake.



Mount Baker Highway will be closed at 7:30 a.m. at Canyon Creek Road in Glacier, going east toward the mountain. Any viewers, participants or additional support vehicles that want to go to the top of the mountain must pass Canyon Creek Road before then. The road also will be closed westbound at 7:30 a.m. at Mt. Baker Ski Area’s Heather Meadows Day Lodge. No vehicles will be allowed to travel down the mountain before it reopens, which is expected to be around 9:30 a.m. this year with one fewer leg.

Suggested departure time: 4:45 a.m.

Best place to watch the leg: Heather Meadows Day Lodge is where spectators can see the handoff from the alpine runners and watch the downhill runners start down the mountain. This year, spectators should be able to get off the mountain earlier, without the skiing legs.