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The Last Spring Race


Fri, Jun  20, 2008 - By Bert Hinkley

The end of May saw the staging of the Ski to Sea adventure relay race from the ski area at Mount Baker to the town of Bellingham, WA. The modern incarnation of the race began in 1973. It now begins with a difficult and technical 6.5 km cross-country ski course at the base of the Mount Baker ski area. The cross-country skier finishes the figure 8 course and passes the timing chip to the alpine skier who skis to the bottom of chair lift #2 and then climbs to the top of lift #1.

From here the skier skis downhill to the start area and passes the timing chip to the runner. The running leg is a brutal 8 mile downhill course on the Mount Baker access road. With throbbing squads and aching knees, the runner passes the chip to the road biker who then pedals 38 miles to the Nooksack river at Hovander Park in Everson, WA. Here the team of canoe paddlers takes off for an 18 mile run on the spring high water of the Nooksack to the waiting mountain biker. The nine mile mountain bike leg ends at Bellingham Bay and the final leg of the race paddled by the sea kayaker to Fairhaven Beach 5 miles away.

Over 400 teams entered this year’s race. The weather was sunny and mild. This was both a boon and a problem. Certainly it was great for the skiers, runners and bikers. But the warm weather caused the abundant snow pack to melt rapidly and the river level was too high to run a safe canoe race. This leg was dropped and all other legs were contested to the grand finish in Fairhaven.

Video from skodama2 (over 7 minutes long)

SOLDA wax played a significant role in the success of the winning team sponsored by the Bagelry of Bellingham. Over 400 cross-country skiers lined up for a mass start at the Mount Baker base area. I loaned the old ’02 Fischer RCS “695” skis to my son Jed. These skis were the perfect choice for the slushy spring snow. Waxed with SOLDA F40 Yellow and Fluor 100 and rilled with a 2mm coarse linear covered with an interrupted pattern structure, these skis handled every part of the course.

Jed Hinkley at 2008 Ski to Sea Relay RaceIn 19 minutes Jed had covered the 6.5 km of steep up hills and screaming downs where he passed the timing chip to the alpine climber/skier in 3rd place. The alpine skis were prepped with a top coat of SOLDA Powerjet 5 that was polished and brushed just before the start. This helped the team to move to second place at the exchange with the runner. The team moved up on the #1 team and soon after the exchange to the bike they had a firm hold on first place. The Bagelry Team, waxed with SOLDA, finished the race in 5:29:40 in front of the favorite team timed in 5:31:29.

SOLDA F40 Yellow and Fluor 100 also helped me to 36th place in the XC race. I got the second best pair of old Fischers from ’04 with a Plus Base and aggressive rilling. Our family and friends team finished in 121st place out of 440 teams. Great weekend, great energy, great support and great wax.

The US Ski Team is coming to town for a training camp at Mount Bachelor this month. Participants have been in the shop making sure they had the SOLDA wax they would need for the warm weather skiing. Our new shipment from Italy will be arriving in October. Stay tuned for more tips on using SOLDA products.

1st Place: Team # 4 BAGELRY
Competitive Open 05:29:40.4

  • Jeff Hilburn - CAPTAIN
  • Jed Hinkley - Cross Country
  • Seth Davis - Downhill/Snowboard
  • Ken Myers - Running
  • Chris Teufel - Road Bike
  • Glenn Bond/Bob Woodman - Canoe
  • Adam Schwind - Mountain Bike
  • Jeff Hilburn - Sea Kayak

Bert Hinkley
SOLDA Wax Tech & Sales