‘Ski legs are a 100% go’: Ski to Sea event will hold tradition despite low snowpack

Whatcom County’s Ski to Sea Ski event organizers announced the annual relay race will include both ski legs at the Mt Baker Ski Area this year, after months of uncertainty due to snow levels.

“Today we got confirmation from Mt Baker Ski Area that the ski legs are a 100 percent go this year,” said Ski to Sea race director Anna Rankin in a video announcement on Instagram on Tuesday, May 7.

The North Cascades snowpack is 62% of normal as of early May, according to the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. But 56 inches of additional snow fell at the Mt Baker Ski Area in April along with additional snowfall from recent storms, which helped maintain levels.

“We want to thank Mt Baker Ski Area for saving snow for us and for doing everything possible to make the race happen this year. That being said, the cross country course will be slightly different and we’ll provide information on that in the coming weeks,” said assistant race director Aurielle Buermann in the announcement.

Event organizers closely monitored the snowpack over the last several weeks to determine whether the ski legs would be possible. Alternative mountain bike and trail run legs were planned on Galbraith Mountain and at Lake Padden in Bellingham if the ski legs were unable to be held.

“Thank you to all of you for your patience through all of this. We’re truly excited that we’re going to have the ski legs this year. We’re going to have a true Ski to Sea and we’re looking forward to seeing you all on May 26, Memorial weekend,” Rankin said in the announcement.

The seven-leg, multi-sport event is in its 51st year. The popular race that started in 1973 takes participants from Mt. Baker down to Bellingham Bay, with traditional legs of cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, running, road biking, canoeing, cyclocross biking and kayaking.