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34th Year of the Ski to Sea Relay this Weekend

Wed, May  23, 2007 - By Mike Muha

The May 27 Ski To Sea Race is an 85 mile relay race of seven legs, starting at the Mt. Baker Ski Area and ending at Marine Park in South Bellingham. This is it's 24th year.

The race starts with an 8 mile cross country ski racing up and down parts of the Mount baker downhill area. (Skating or classic? Up to the skier.) The skier starts with a time chip that gets handed off to each member of the relay team at the start of the new leg.

Second leg is a downhill leg. Skiers must use downhill equipment. Catch? Part of the race is uphill! The course is approximately 2.5 miles long.

The downhill skier tags off to a runner, who runs along Mt. Baker Highway for eight miles. The downhill run drops 2,000 ft. in elevation.

The fourth leg is a road bike section. The road course is approximately 36 miles long.

The biker hands off to a solo canoeist for an 18 mile paddle down the Nooksach River from Everson to Havander Park. There are lots of rules regarding size of canoe. For example, C-1s and C-2s are banned. The course is considered class 1, (on a 1-6 scale) but represents deceptive hazards due to log jams, submerged logs, undercut trees and other obstructions.

Leg six is a mountain bike leg roughly 9 miles long. The course goes along a river dike, dirt roads, paved roads, and trails.

The mountain biker hands off the timing chip to the final relay member on the final leg: a 5 mile sea kayak paddle. While conditions can be calm (with a one-foot chop & boat wakes), they typically are windier and rougher.

And how many people plan to race the Ski to Sea? There's a limit of 400 teams.

More info about the Ski to Sea at http://www.skitosea.com/index.asp .