Ski to Sea

Ski to Sea heads back to the basics after snow-starved 2015 race

Meg Kelly, of team Car Pay Die ‘Em, rings a bell after crossing the finish line at the 2014 Ski to Sea Race.
Meg Kelly, of team Car Pay Die ‘Em, rings a bell after crossing the finish line at the 2014 Ski to Sea Race. The Bellingham Herald

If the unusual 2015 version of Ski to Sea Race taught new executive director Mike Trowbridge anything when he served as vice president of Whatcom Events last year, it’s that competitors love the race just as it is.

So what if it’s hard to find a cross country skier in Whatcom County good enough to make a team competitive? Who cares if the downhill run is an eight-mile torture test? Does the race really need a true mountain biking leg ... OK, let’s not go too far here.

“It’s really awesome how people in the community have this love for the race as it is,” Trowbridge said. “It was interesting to me how attached people are to the ‘classic Ski to Sea’ — they like the challenges it presents — and you better not change it unless you have a dang good reason to do so.”

The race committee had a pretty good one last year — it simply didn’t snow. With bare ground at Mt. Baker Ski Area, race organizers were forced to ditch the two skiing legs that traditionally kick off the annual Memorial Day weekend relay and replace them with a new alpine running leg to start the race and a mountain biking leg to finish it off.

While even staging the race in the face of last year’s obstacles has to be considered an overwhelming success, straying from the recipe that’s made the race one of the biggest of its kind in the nation is the farthest thing from the minds of Trowbridge and the race committee now that the snow has returned for 2016.

In a way, you could say Ski to Sea is going back to basics on Sunday, May 29. Any changes are expected to be minor.

“We’ve talked for years about changing the race up,” Trowbridge said. “From my perspective, one of the major takeaways from last year is that it is really, really, really hard to change how the race is laid out now. Even if you could, a lot of people wouldn’t want you to. ... The race is as it is now for a reason. Sure, it would be nice to add a mountain biking leg and do this and do that, but there is no silver-bullet easy idea on how to do it.”

Trowbridge said he and the race committee will continue to look for ways to improve the race in the future, but they now know the great logistical hurdles they must clear to make any adjustments. Fortunately, last year also gave them a blueprint to utilize should there be another winter season like there was in 2015.

7 Legs of Ski to Sea — cross-county skiing, downhill skiing/snowboarding, running, road biking, canoeing, cyclocross and kayaking

93 Approximate length in miles of the relay race from Mt. Baker Ski Area to Marine Park in Fairhaven

500 Eight-person teams that annually make Ski to Sea one the biggest races of its kind in the nation

But this year, it’s all about running Ski to Sea as it was meant to be run — cross country skiing, downhill skiing/snowboarding, running, road biking, canoeing, the newly named cyclocross leg and kayaking.

“We’re trying to focus on putting on a solid race logistically and continue the evolution to improve the basics of timing, of safety, of having the right people in the right place at the right time,” Trowbridge said. “We want to do all the basics well.”

And as 2015 showed, the basics of Ski to Sea includes a cross-country skiing leg that Trowbridge said he’s always thought of as “a sort of square peg in a round hole” in the Whatcom County sports scene and a downill running leg that competitors have a “love-hate relationship with.”

“You take either of those legs away, and it just wouldn’t be what we’ve come to expect from Ski to Sea,” Trowbridge said.

2015 Ski to Sea Division champions

Division

Team

Time

Team members

Competitive Open

Aeromech / Sensible.Technology

6:15:29

AR: Trey Parry, DR: B.J. Christenson, RB: Sam Johnson, CA: Ivan English/Mike Vincent, XB: Shawn Mitchell, KA: Sean Rice, MB: Nolan Brady

Whatcom County Open

Klicks Running & Walking

6:31:33

AR: William Jones, DR: Tabor Reedy, RB: Ryan Short, CA: Eric Gerstl/Alan Lipp,

XB: David O'Brien, KA: Kirk Christensen, MB: Logan Wetzel

Masters

Archer Ale House

7:10:07

AR: Vern Latta, DR: Jeff deWitt, RB: P. Clement, CA: Morris Arthur/Brad Clements,

XB: Doug Graver, KA: Peter Marcus, MB: Jeff Cummings

Veterans

InHealth Veterans

7:10:10

AR: Kevin Rindal, DR: Nathan Minor, RB: Mike Robson, CA: Dan Cantrell/Bob McBeath, XB: Ryan Denney, KA: Larry Bussinger, MB: Steve Hindman

Competitive Mixed

Boomer's Drive-In Mixed

7:14:45

AR: Mary Rose, DR: Michael Molnar, RB: Mischa Burnett, CA: Catherine Trask/Fiona Vincent, XB: Calvin Collander, KA: Nicholas Cryder, MB: Kristen McKenzie

Recreational Open

The Greatest American Heroes

7:16:17

AR: Andy Schmidt, DR: Brent Hartwig, RB: Stuart Ayling, CA: Rob Rogers/Carter Kiesau, XB: Tim Ross, KA: Tom Swetish, MB: Martin Ayling

Corporate

Mt. Baker Ski Patrol

7:16:18

AR: Jason Kammerer, DR: Casey Schwenk, RB: Mike Trowbridge, CA: Kevin Kaiser/

Dave May, XB: Jeremy Stafford, KA: Kim Cantrell, MB: Jon Ross

Whatcom County Women

Kulshan Cycles

7:19:20

AR: Amber Morrison, DR: Courtney Olsen, RB: Marti Riemer, CA: Veronica Wisniewski/

Gwyn Howat, XB: Elizabeth Hartsoch, KA: Heather Nelson, MB: Kayla Kaiser

Competitive Women

Boundary Bay Brewery Women’s

7:19:40

AR: Sabrina Grecu, DR: Magi Scallion, RB: Ivy Audrain, CA: Carrie Montgomery/Lynn Capen, XB: Eszter Horanyi, KA: Tracy Landboe, MB: Nadine Mueller

Whatcom County Mixed

Aven Construction

7:40:50

AR: Mikhaila Thornton, DR: Renee Reynolds, RB: Jessica Burnett, CA: Shekinah Aven/

Gail Howat, XB: John Clark, KA: Rick Lingbloom, MB: Scott Young

Recreational Mixed

BC Ski to Sea

8:06:02

AR: Susan Reynolds, DR: Alan Thompson, RB: Jane Weller, CA: Tomi Johnson/Duhane Lam, XB: Ian McGillivray, KA: Wayne Halabourda, MB: Ann Lanari

Car-Free

REsources REseize the Day

8:15:46

AR: Keith Lemay, DR: Ariel Field, RB: Thomas Caldwell, CA: Gib Morrow/Kurt Fuhrmeister, XB: David Hooper, KA: Meg Kelly, MB: Alan Arnett

Family

Aunt Janies Road Trip

8:15:48

AR: Peter Scherrer, DR: Luke Distelhorst, RB: Nathalei Gigoux, CA: David Scherrer/

Susan Bennerstrom, XB: Peter Rankin, KA: Ted Scherrer, MB: Blas Nadal

Recreational Women

The Real Housewives of Whatcom County

8:37:04

AR: Karin Ayling, DR: Renata Detta, RB: Jessica Rogers, CA: Brandi Brady/Margaret Langford, XB: Michele Blumenshine: KA: Sharon Scoggins, MB: Marie Beaver

High School

Barely Heating ’16

8:49:19

AR: liana Phillips, DR: Lauren Meucci, RB: Cooper Rombold, CA: Gabe Weight/Briley Funk, XB: Rylan Hinkle, KA: Rob Morrisset, MB: Max Hannah

NOTE: The 2015 Ski to Sea Race used a 96.5-mile course and included alpine running (AR), downhill running (DR), road biking (RB), canoeing (CA), cross-country biking (XB), kayaking (KA) and mountain biking (MB).

Ski to Sea top teams the past 20 years

Year

Overall champion

Women

Whatcom County

1996

Barron Heating

Team Fischer

Team Beavers

1997

Win’s Drive-In

The Oocha Brewers

Beavers Tree Service

1998

Team Arlberg

The Great Adventure

Beavers Tree Service

1999

Barron Heating

Great Adventure

Beavers Tree Service

2000

Barron Heating

Boundary Bay Brewery

Beavers Tree Service

2001

Barron Heating

Boundary Bay Brewery

Beavers Tree Service

2002

Win’s Drive-in

Boundary Bay Brewery

Beavers Tree Service

2003

Barron Heating Open

Boundary Bay Brewery

Fairhaven Runners Men’s

2004

Barron Heating Open

Boundary Bay Brewery

Beavers Tree Service

2005

Barron Heating Open

Boundary Bay Brewery

Binyon County

2006

Barron Heating

Boundary Bay Brewery

Beavers Tree Service

2007

Clippercanoes.com

Boundary Bay Brewery

RunningShoes.com

2008

Bagelry

Boundary Bay Brewery

Beavers Tree Service

2009

Bagelry

Boundary Bay Brewery

RunningShoes.com

2010

Boss Construction

Boundary Bay Brewery

Beavers Tree Service

2011

Barron Heating

Boundary Bay Brewery

Klicks Running & Walking

2012

Barron Heating

Boundary Bay Brewery

Klicks Running & Walking

2013

Barron Heating

Boundary Bay Women’s

Beavers Tree Service

2014

Boundary Bay Men’s

Boundary Bay Women’s

Beavers Tree Service

2015

Aeromech / Sensible.Tech.

Kulshan Cycles*

Klicks Running & Walking

*Raced in Whatcom County Women’s Division.

SOURCE: skitosea.com

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