Ski to Sea

Here’s who won the 2019 Ski to Sea race in Bellingham

After six hours of racing from mountain to sea, four seconds separated the top two finishers in the 2019 Ski to Sea race on Sunday, May 26.

That’s how much Boomer’s Drive-In won by, as the team fended off newcomer Wenatchee Valley Brewing to become the overall winner for the third year in a row, according to unofficial race results.

Wenatchee’s kayaker, Greg Barton, was the first one to hop out of his kayak and run up the beach, but Boomer’s kayaker, Greg Redman, was able to run past him to ring the bell first as the crowd cheered wildly.

Redman then dropped to the ground and Barton congratulated him as both men panted.

“It was a really good race. I figured it would come down to the last leg,” said Barton, a Seattle resident and Olympian who has competed in Ski to Sea about 15 times.

Boomer’s, which competed in the Competitive Open division, won with an unofficial time of 6:05:55. Wenatchee, which was in the same division, had a time of 6:05:59.

There’s been a narrower margin. In 2016, Beavers Tree Service edged Sensible.Technology out by two seconds to become the overall winner.

A total of 414 teams — that’s 3,322 racers — competed in this year’s team relay race, which stretched from Mt. Baker Ski Area to Marine Park, off Bellingham Bay.

Some were Olympians. Many just wanted to have fun.

They raced in seven legs — cross-country ski, downhill ski/snowboard, run, road bike, canoe, cyclocross bike and sea kayak — over 93 miles.

Redman, also an Olympian, was the first kayaker to take off from Zuanich Park, when he went into Bellingham Bay about 30 to 40 seconds ahead of Barton.

Redman’s strategy: “Make him work hard to catch me.”

Barton’s plan: “I was just trying to pace myself and steadily catch him.”

Barton did. And while he passed Redman — Barton actually had the top time in the kayak leg — he couldn’t get the gap he needed to win the short run to the finish line.

It was the first time Redman, who lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, has competed in Ski to Sea. He met his Boomer’s teammates for the first time Saturday night, he said.

“They take it seriously, but in a fun way,” Redman said.

The race started at 7:30 a.m. at Mt. Baker Ski Area, where the snowpack was low.

Canoeists were on a Nooksack River that flowed slower than it has in recent years and cyclocross riders rode through sticky mud, thanks to recent rainfall.

As for the team standings, the third team to cross the finish line was Beavers Tree Service. But it marked the fourth year in a row that the team has won the Whatcom County Open division.

Bellingham resident Brandon Nelson was the kayaker for Beavers Tree Service.

“It’s incredibly humbling,” Brandon Nelson said of the win.” “We’re so proud of the quality of athletes we have here in Whatcom County.”

The first women’s team to win the race was BNP Realtors, which competes in the Whatcom County Women division, with a time of 7:04:27.

“It’s fun. It’s an intense year every year. It motivates us to come back,” said Heather Nelson, the kayaker for team BNP Realtors.

Heather and Brandon Nelson are married to each other.

Heather Nelson praised her teammates, including runner Courtney Olsen who was the top female runner — and the seventh overall — with a time of 39:16.

“She did a 39 on the run. Smoked it,” Heather Nelson said.

Other team winners and their divisions, based on unofficial results:

Division winners (unofficial at 5:30 p.m.)

Competitive open: (1) Boomer’s Drive-In, 6:05:55; (2) Wenatchee Valley Brewing, 6:05:59; (3) Odyssey Elementary Orcas, 6:25:58; (4) Barkley Village Family Dentistry-Men, 6:26:35; (5) Boomer’s Drive-In (B Team), 6:38:44

Whatcom County open: (1) Beaver’s Tree Service, 6:14:47, (2) Inn at Lynden, 6:30:24; (3) Wander Brewing, 7:24:43; (4) Minor Threat, 7:30:35; (5) Ragnarok, 7:37:56

Veterans: (1) Mt. Baker Ravens, 6:50:53; (2) Peoples Bank, 6:51:10; (3) Archer Ale House, 7:13:31; (4) Chuckanut Bay Distillery, 7:39:53; (5) All Spawned Out and Headed for the Bay, 8:13:24

Masters: (1) The Monkey Wrench Gang, 6:51:28; (2) Okanagan Express, 6:58:08; (3) Darwin’s Bulldogs, 7:42:00; (4) LIFE Aesthetic Center, 7:52:55; (5) Seattle Canoe & Kayak Club, 8:14:16

Competitive mixed: (1) Cobalt Grill, 6:54:47; (2) Stones Throw Brewery Hustlers, 7:28:41; (3) Delicate Flowers, 7:30:50; (4) Not Sponsored by Red Bull, 8:28:06; (5) Off Constantly, 8:30:28

Corporate: (1) Bellingham Firefighters, 6:55:25; (2) Past Performance is No Guarantee, 7:41:12; (3) Exxel Pacific, 7:44:08; (4) Mills Electric, 8:01:01; (5) TC Legend Homes, 8:37:59

Whatcom County Women: (1) BNP Realtors, 7:04:27; (2) CorePhysio, 7:11:56; (3) Wander Brewing, 8:04:35; (4) Get Ovary It, 9:19:19

Recreational open: (1) The Unorthadocs, 7:11:22; (2) NWIC Hooligans, 7:29:50; (3) Yeager’s Sporting Goods, 7:56:42; (4) Wreckers, 8:04:21; (5) Blazed and Confused, 8:09:42

Whatcom County mixed: (1) HardCore Physio, 7:14:29; (2) Kulshan CrossFit GREEN Team, 8:18:09; (3) Three Legged Turtles, 8:30:04; (4) Edited for Content, 9:32:51; (5) Bellingham Dance Company, 9:40:21;

High school: (1) Baker Babes, 7:17:51; (2) Kid Goats, 7:25:47; (3) Bad Nuggets, 7:38:30; (4) Lebowski’s ‘Lil Urban Achievers, 8:34:26; (5) Vermonsters, 8:35:00

Family: (1) Llazy Lloydz, 7:20:43; (2) Cordata Dental, 7:51:38; (3) Fairhaven Family Medicine, 8:15:12; (4) Bill’s Boys, 8:24:40; (5) Where’s Marv?, 8:30:50

Car-free: (1) TREK Car-Free, 7:40:13; (2) Surfrider Mavericks, 7:42:54; (3) Jedi Ponies, 8:07:07; (4) Mostly Old Friends v5, 8:21:05; (5) WanderWomen, 9:04:42

Competitive women: (1) Barkley Village Family Dentistry, 7:32:27; (2) SHEroes, 7:38:48; (3) Sixknot Supergirls, 8:20:32; (4) Sasquatch 2.0, 8:51:58; (5) Ski to Sea Sissies, 9:2157

Recreational mixed: (1) Zombie Llamas, 8:07:54; (2) Chafing the Dream, 8:09:39; (3) Otter Control, 8:24:00; (4) Plain and Simple Box, 8:24:01; (5)Mema’s Little Roadtrippers, 8:28:38

Recreational women: (1) The Beastie Belles, 8:33:05; (2) Leave it to Beavers, 8:33:13; (3) Nasty Women, 8:56:43; (4) Erin Baker’s, 9:08:36; (5) Screamin Sheagles supported by PSI, 9:10:17

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.