Ski to Sea

Ski to Sea 50th anniversary live updates, photos and video

Follow along leg by leg
May 28, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated May 29, 2023 at 10:15 a.m.
Jamie Klein of Inn at Lynden runs to the finish line to ring the bell. His team came in fourth with a time of 6:15:04.0.
Jamie Klein of Inn at Lynden runs to the finish line to ring the bell. His team came in fourth with a time of 6:15:04.0. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

By CDN Staff

Mass chaos at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, May 28, marks the beginning of the 50th annual Ski to Sea race on Mount Baker. The seven-leg relay race begins with a cross-country ski leg. Spectators crowd the sides of the starting line to watch the spectacle. 

Next, comes the “downhill” ski and snowboard leg, then the running, road bike, canoe and cyclocross bike legs. Strong-armed athletes finish off the race with the sea kayak leg. 

Cascadia Daily News will be on the scene today, with reporters and photographers at each hand-off zone. This story will be updated all day with photos, videos, quotes, winning statistics and relevant race information, beginning at 7 a.m. 

Follow along from the comfort of your armchair or grab a beer in Fairhaven and watch in real-time as Bellingham's biggest event unfolds.

If you have your own moments to share from race day, send them to or tag us on social media using #CDNs2s. 

In case you missed it: Leading up to the event, Cascadia Daily News also published a preview pullout section which includes portraits, a course map, race timeline participant profiles and more. Check it out online or pick up a print copy at our booth down at the Fairhaven Festival on Sunday, where you will get a chance to win July 16 Bellingham Bells tickets to CDN Day.


5:53 p.m.

The final kayakers arrive at the finish line in Fairhaven. The final leg was canceled early due to wind, preventing some racers from participating. 

photo  Denise Weeks, of team We’ll Be Fine, leads a line of kayakers to the finish line. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

3:30 p.m.

Tavin Jackson of family division team Jacksons speak louder than words, said he was in so much pain after the kayak leg, but it was “unbelievably rewarding.”

“His back is really sore from carrying us,” joked Tavin’s dad. Tavin did the downhill ski and kayak legs. 

“I’m going to sit, have a beer and sleep for the next four hours,” Tavin said. 

photo  Tavin Jackson of Jacksons Speak Louder Than Words catches his breath at the finish line. (Julia Lerner/Cascadia Daily News)  

3:10 p.m.

photo  Kyle Hager of Dad Bods falls out of his kayak as he lands at the finish line. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

3:10 p.m.

For the bulk of Ski to Sea teams, the race continues. 

photo  With roads closed in Fairhaven, Zoe Guilmette of Surfrider Sea Sirens checks her phone before heading to the finish line after competing in the cyclocross leg. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Team Surfrider Sea Sirens cyclocross racer Zoe Guilmette passes the timing chip to her teammate Crystal Richard. The team is car-free.

3:02 p.m.

photo  People gather on the rocks in Fairhaven to watch the sea kayakers paddle in to land. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

3:01 p.m.

photo  Zoe Libner of Team Fly and Die balances against wind and waves as she slows down to the finish line. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

2:49 p.m.

Reivers Dustin, 72, of team Revolt Against Maturity, said he's done the race more than 30 times. He plans to eat chocolate bars and ice cream to recover from the kayak leg. The team finished in 28th place.

photo  Reivers Dustin of Revolt Against Maturity talks with his teammates after finishing the sea kayak leg. (Julia Lerner/Cascadia Daily News)  

2:43 p.m.

The second all-women's team, SHEroes, crosses the finish line with a time of 7:12:57.5. Near the end of the leg, SHEroes kayaker Megan Northey surpassed a competitor from team Monkeywrench Gang, leading her team to a 9-second lead.  

Northey, normally a rower, took on the kayak leg this year after the team's longtime kayaker, Amelia Bethke, died in 2019. 

"So just to come in here and ring the bell — she was with me out there and it was really special," Northey said.

photo  Megan Northey of Sheroes passes Michael Meyer of Monkeywrench Gang to take the lead and hit land first. Sheroes, a competitive women's team, finished with a time of 7:12:57.5. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

2:34 p.m.

The first woman, Heather Nelson, crosses the finish line making her team, BNP Realtors, the first-place women's team. The team came in 18th place with a time of 7:04:03.6.

"That was amazing," said Nelson, 51. "I could tell the crowd was so excited."

Nelson said team SHEroes was 30 seconds ahead of her at the start of the kayak leg. For Nelson, Ski to Sea is a family affair. Her child participated in Junior Ski to Sea two weeks ago, and her husband, Brandon Nelson, came in seventh place, shortly before her, with team Boomer's Drive-In Legends.

photo  Heather Nelson of BNP Realtors high-fives onlookers after finishing the sea kayak leg. She was the first woman to cross the finish line. The Whatcom County women's division team came in 18th place with a time of 7:04:03.6. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

2:31 p.m.

Kayaker Mike Beckman of Vandammage brought his team into 16th place.

photo  Mike Beckman of Vandammage high-fives spectators as he runs toward the finish line. Vandammage came in 16th place with a time of 7:00:49.2. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

2:28 p.m.

My Dog, a car-free team, finishes in 15th place at 2:28 p.m. 

In a pre-race interview, runner Drew Barnicle joked about the origins of their team name: “Well nobody wants to say 'I beat my dog.' Not a great look.”

Kayaker Wilson Reavley said it was hard work kayaking against the wind. 

“It was a lot of fun,” Reavley said. “It’s a little easier to do the kayak leg, but I rode my bike to the starting line and then did the kayak portion, so I'm really tired.”

photo  Wilson Reavley of My Dog after finishing the sea kayak leg. My Dog, a car-free team, came in 15th place with a time of 6:58:31.4. (Julia Lerner/Cascadia Daily News)  

2:15 p.m.

The top 10 teams of 2023 Ski to Sea are:

1. Birch Equipment (5:54:43.3)
2. Boomer's Drive-In (6:01:59.0)
3. Beavers Tree Service (6:10:55.9)
4. Inn at Lynden (6:15:04.0)
5. Bellingham Firefighters – Whatcom Open Team (6:25:52.0)
6. Evil Bike Company (6:26:44.8)
7. Boomer's Drive-In Legends (6:37:05.3)
8. Greatest American Heroes (6:42:39.4)
9. Vendovi (6:44:33.2)
10. Surfrider Mavericks (6:44:56.8)

photo  Sea kayaks cover the grass at Zuanich Point Park. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  A kayaker paddles through the bay in the final leg of the race. Paddlers hug the shore during the last segments of the race to battle wind. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

2:08 p.m.

Just 47 teams have finished the cyclocross leg and handed off timing chips to their sea kayakers.

photo  Dean Bumstead of Peoples Bank gets situated in the kayak for the final leg. (Ron Judd/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Kirk Christensen of Surfrider Mavericks paddles through the bay in the final leg. (Ron Judd/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Brandon Nelson of Boomer's Drive-In Legends carries his kayak to the bay. (Ron Judd/Cascadia Daily News)  

2:06 p.m.

Team Well Hung Over's cyclocross racer Mac Hamill couldn't find his teammate, Keenan Elliott, for six minutes at the sea kayak handoff. 

When asked where Elliott was, Hamill laughed and said "probably somewhere hungover."

2:01 p.m.

Members of the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes and Drums are cheering on three different teams of firefighters this year, including Bellingham Firefighters – Whatcom Open Team, which finished in fifth place. 

1:49 p.m.

As teams cross the finish line, plenty more are still scattered around Whatcom County, at various points in the grueling race. 

photo Canoeists wait at Riverside Park in Everson. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

photo  Brandon Nelson of Boomer's Drive-In Legends hits the water for the kayak leg. (Ron Judd/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Cyclocrosser Olga Magun of Sheroes weaves through the trees. (Eric Trent/Cascadia Daily News)  

1:45 p.m.

Inn at Lynden finishes in fourth place with a time of 6:15:04, five minutes behind Beavers Tree Service. Last year, the team came in fifth place.

photo  Jamie Klein of Inn at Lynden runs to the finish line to ring the bell. His team came in fourth with a time of 6:15:04.0. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)   

photo Jamie Klein of Inn at Lynden reaches for the bells at the finish line. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)

1:41 p.m.

Inn at Lynden and Beavers Tree Service were neck-in-neck at the start of the kayak leg, but kayaker Jonas Ecker took the latter team to a third-place overall victory. Beavers Tree Service, which came in second place last year, finished this year's race with a time of 6:10:55.

Ecker, 20, said he was "slow" this year, in part due to strong headwinds. While he plans to take off the rest of the day today, tomorrow is straight back to training for the canoe spring world championships this summer.

photo  Jonas Ecker rings the bell as his team Beavers Tree Service finishes third overall. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Jonas Ecker, right, gets help removing his timing chip at the finish line. (Julia Lerner/Cascadia Daily News)  

1:41 p.m.

Kayaker Greg Redman of Boomer's Drive-In said a "really good headwind" made some parts of the course more challenging. It's impossible to predict how the whole team will do, Redman said, when eight people are working toward the same goal. 

“The more unpredictable the more opportunities there are,” Redman said. He now plans to drive to his home in Kelowna, British Columbia, and "have a beer."

photo  Kayaker Greg Redman of Boomer's Drive-In paddles to the finish line. His team came in second place with a time of 6:01:59.0. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

1:35 p.m.

photo  Members of the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes and Drums are ready at the finish line to cheer on three different teams of firefighters. (Julia Lerner/Cascadia Daily News)  

1:32 p.m.

Boomer's Drive-In comes in second place overall, up from their third-place finish in 2022. The team completed the race in 6:01:59. 

1:31 p.m.

Birch Equipment's Jeff Hilburn has competed in the race around 15 times. 

"Last year was really tight, had the national champ chasing me," Hilburn said. "This year was such a large lead and I could just kind of cruise. Headwinds we’re a lot tougher this year." 

He called the victory "bragging rights for the whole year."

1:25 p.m.

Birch Equipment wins Ski to Sea for the second year in a row, crossing the finish line at 1:25 p.m. with a time of 5:54:53. The team beat last year's time of 5:59:48 by about 5 minutes. 

Sea kayaker Jeff Hilburn took the team to victory.

photo Team Birch Equipment won Ski to Sea for the second year in a row in 2023. Kayaker Jeff Hilburn, middle, took the team to victory. (Julia Lerner/Cascadia Daily News)

photo  Jeff Hilburn of Birch Equipment rings the bell at the finish line after finishing the sea kayak leg. Birch Equipment finished the race in 5:54:43.3, about five minutes faster than last year. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

1:23 p.m.

Birch Equipment is approaching the beach at Marine Park in Fairhaven. 

photo  Bikers look for spots to secure their bicycles near the finish line. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

1:13 p.m.

Evil Bike Company came in sixth place on the cyclocross leg, about 10 minutes behind fifth-place finisher Bellingham Firefighters – Whatcom Open Team.

photo  Evil Bike Company's Aaron Small runs his kayak to the water for the last leg of the race. (Ron Judd/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Ian Fay of Evil Bike Company flies off Marine Drive toward Little Squalicum Park during the cyclocross leg. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Evil Bike Company's Derek Buse and Henry TePaske paddle through the Nooksack River. (Eric Trent/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  The Tall, the Short, and the Ugly's canoeists Gabriel and Charles Drury, rear, paddle past casual canoeists on the Nooksack River. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

1:01 p.m.

Four teams have finished the cyclocross leg. In order of highest placement: Birch Equipment, Boomer's Drive-In, Inn at Lynden and Beavers Tree Service.

Inn at Lynden finished the cyclocross course at 12:59:38, just 10 seconds ahead of Beavers Tree Service. Tom Schafer, 41, of Inn at Lynden, gave credit to his team's canoeists for being so fast, giving him about a four-minute head start. 

Kayakers Jonas Ecker of Beavers Tree Service and Jamie Klein of Inn at Lynden launch their boats at Zuanich Park.

12:51 p.m.

Cascadia Daily News caught up with Inn at Lynden's canoeists, Geoff Stodola, 56, and Matt Stodola, 53, who have been training hard for the race since January, and even underwent oxygen and lactate testing to improve their performance. They’ve been racing the canoe leg for “at least” 17 years, Geoff said.

For the brothers, the hardest part of the race was just waiting to start.

They passed some of their biggest paddling mentors on the river, racers on the Beavers Tree Service team — a feat they’re particularly proud of.

“They’re great guys, and they taught us to paddle,” Geoff said. “So that was pretty cool.”

The brothers were both born in Yap, an island in Micronesia. They decided to make that the theme for this year's race by putting the islands logo on their canoe and matching T-shirts.

photo  Canoe racers paddle down the Nooksack River. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

12:38 p.m.

Boomer's Drive-In finishes the cyclocross leg in second place at 12:49 p.m., 10 minutes behind the reigning Birch Equipment.

Cyclocross racer Cal Skilsky, 27, had waffles for breakfast and plans on having a chocolate milkshake at none other than Boomers for his recovery. 

One of Skilsky's tires went flat during the course, but it had a self-healing mechanism, enabling him to keep going and finish in second place.

12:49 p.m.

photo  Jonas Ecker, 20, of Beavers Tree Service, awaits the arrival of his cyclocross rider. He says wind on the course is creating "a little bit of texture," but it should be a quick paddle because paddlers hug the shore during the last segments of the race. (Ron Judd/Cascadia Daily News)  

12:38 p.m.

Birch Equipment's Jack Shuckra, 21, finishes the cyclocross leg of the race at 12:38 p.m., handing off his timing chip to sea kayaker Jeff Hilburn for the final push of the 2023 Ski to Sea relay.

Shuckra, of Salt Lake City, Utah, said he plans to go to the beer garden and "maybe do some more biking."

12:35 p.m.

photo  Sam Eilert hugs dogs Raven and Merlin with friends Miguel Cortes, left, and Michael Tanja at Zuanich Point Park. (Daniel Hornbuckle/Cascadia Daily News)  

12:29 p.m.

Birch Equipment's cyclocross racer is 3 miles out from the sea kayak handoff. 

12:28 p.m.

One of Birch Equipment's canoeists, Glenn Bond, said he's been paddling for the last six weeks to prepare for the leg. He said the spectators' energy as he and his teammate made it across the finish line “was phenomenal.”

They didn't escape the canoe leg without taking on some water, Bond said. He pointed out an automatic water bailing mechanism in the canoe that he had to deploy while paddling, to rid the boat of water. 

Next, he plans to go to Fairhaven Festival to celebrate with his team. 

photo  Heidi Koepp and Carter Johnson dance to the music of Bridge at Fairhaven Green during the Fairhaven Festival on May 28. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

12:22 p.m.

The Fairhaven Festival kicked off around noon. More than 70 vendors are lining the streets of Fairhaven to cater to the crowds that Ski to Sea draws to town. 

photo Crowds chat and drink in the beer garden at the Fairhaven Festival, which continued until 7 p.m. May 28. The Ski to Sea-adjacent event drew a huge crowd to downtown Fairhaven on race day. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

photo  Taria Nagler fills a bath bomb as her children, Norah and Crosby, watch during the Fairhaven Festival. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Danielle, Scott and Owen Calhoun, left, attend Owen’s first-ever Fairhaven Festival. They’re excited to check out the balloon animals and get their faces painted before heading to the food trucks. (Julia Lerner/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Attendees at the Fairhaven Festival taste Funky’s award-winning hot sauces. (Julia Lerner/Cascadia Daily News)  

12:16 p.m.

Boomer's Drive-In finishes the canoe leg in second place, 10 minutes behind Birch Equipment. Boomer's finished third overall in the 2022 Ski to Sea race. 

12:06 p.m.

Birch Equipment crosses the canoe finish line to handoff to their cyclocross racer, maintaining first place at 12:06 p.m. The team finished four minutes faster than last year's first-place 12:10 p.m. finish.

photo  Birch Equipment's Jack Shuckra receives the cyclocross handoff from his teammates Bob Woodman and Glenn Bond. (Eric Trent/Cascadia Daily News)  

12:05 p.m.

photo  A community member wins a Cascadia Daily News subscription at the Fairhaven Festival. CDN's booth is located near the Ski to Sea finish line. (Staci Baird/Cascadia Daily News)  

12:01 p.m.

The first canoeists are expected to finish at 12:04 p.m., race announcers said. 

11:55 a.m.

Sea kayakers gather for their pre-race safety meeting. Early release is in effect, meaning if a cyclocross cyclist doesn't make the handoff by 4:15 p.m., the team's kayaker will be allowed to start their leg. 

Race officials anticipate choppy water conditions to calm down before sea kayaks launch from Zuanich Point. They will be paddling the long course, unless conditions change. Paddlers burst out in applause at this news.

photo  Paddlers check in before the sea kayak leg. (Daniel Hornbuckle/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  People gather for a kayak safety meeting at Zuanich Point Park. "Early release" is in effect — the goal is to get all boats on the water by 4:15 p.m. and off the water at Post Point in Fairhaven by 6 p.m. The sea kayak leg is 5 miles. (Ron Judd/Cascadia Daily News)  

11:42 a.m.

The first canoeists are estimated to arrive at Hovander Homestead Park shortly after noon. Next, cyclocross racers will head south toward the Zuanich Point Park handoff. 

Meanwhile, racers in the last leg are starting to prepare their kayaks.

photo  Paddlers arriving at Zuanich Point Park find temperatures of 60 degrees and a persistent southerly wind of around 10 knots. (Ron Judd/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Kayak paddler Mike Stralser, 31, of Spokane, a member of Team Gubernaculum (a medical team), checks in at Zuanich Park, the site of the cyclocross to kayak handoff. Like all others undergoing inspection here, he attests that though he knows how to save his own life, he hopes it does not come to that. (Ron Judd/Cascadia Daily News)  

11:29 a.m.

Most teams have finished the running leg, moved past road bike, and are in their canoes. Cascadia Daily News caught up with some of the runners post-leg. 

Cory Brunhaver of a three-man team, Dawson Construction, completed the cross-country ski, downhill ski and running legs back-to-back.

photo  Cory Brunhaver of Dawson Construction, a three-man team, runs down Mount Baker Highway after completing both ski legs back-to-back. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

“Cross-country skiing was so intense … it was kind of just a blur. I was looking at my watch and there was 1 mile left, and I was like ‘Woah, that was quick,’ but then in the middle of the downhill ski, I’m like ‘Oh my God, I have so far to go,’” Brunhaver said. 

Brunhaver said he brought some liquid calorie endurance fuel, but halfway through the cross-country leg, he was vomiting. 

“As soon as I vomited, I was like ‘OK, we’re good to go.’ It was kind of like after too many beers and you vomit and you’re like, ‘Ah, I feel so much better.’ I kind of laughed to myself,” he said. 

He has no recovery plans besides grabbing a Whole Foods pizza and beer. Next year, he and his two teammates are considering a full team to be a top contender. 

“I do love the three-person team — there’s something just terrible about it,” Brunhaver said. “Every single time I do it, halfway through I’m like, ‘What am I doing?’”

photo  Runners make their way toward the handoff area while runners who already finished trudge back to their cars. The third leg is 8 miles and has an elevation drop of 2,200 feet. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

Kim Struiksma — of team Here for a Good Time, Not a Fast Time — said she was asked to do the race two days ago after a team member got hurt. Struiksma, 39, said she went to sleep last night at 10 p.m. and woke up by 2 a.m.

“Next year, I want to do something else — maybe kayak. I’m never doing this again. I did it like 10 years ago, and I don’t want to do it anymore,” she laughed.

photo  Patti Clay of Natural Zesty Enterprise approaches the road bike handoff area as Mike Dunmire of Everett Firefighters Association trails behind. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

Sonia Evans, 54, of team Finish over 40, raced for the first time. To prepare, she said she ate clean and practiced both uphill and downhill running. 

To recover, she said “I’m going to try to find a Bodyarmor [SuperDrink], get some electrolytes, get some food, try to find some shade and stretch, and thank God while I’m doing it.”

11:12 a.m.

11:08 a.m.

photo  Canoeists on team Chelseas FC struggle to get moving down the Nooksack River. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

11:02 a.m.

Team SHEroes was the first competitive women division team to finish the road bike leg.

An exhausted Anna Talman, 25, said there was more uphill than expected.

“It’s not all downhill,” Talman said. “They lied to me … I think I’m going to puke.”

photo  Carolyn Wise, left, and Meadow Didier tape up their canoe to keep water out as they prepare for the canoe leg. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Team Vendovi road biker Josh Dyke (35) throws his timer to a canoeist teammate at the handoff area in Everson. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Road biker Mischa Burnett of Boomer's Drive-In Legends handsoff the timing chip to one of the team's canoeists. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Matt Seguin of Bank of the Pacific flies through the road bike leg. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

10:55 a.m.

Teammates of Rob Lawrance, who died during the cyclocross leg of the 2022 Ski to Sea, set up a memorial this year at the start of the course. Amir Freund will compete in the cyclocross leg, riding Lawrance's bike. 

This year, the team named themselves “I Believe” to commemorate Lawrance's love of Bigfoot. 

“To have him not here with me — he introduced me to this race — is really, really somber for me,” Freund said.”

photo I Believe's Amir Freund and his teammates wear T-shirts with Rob Lawrance's last selfie printed on them in memory of their friend and teammate who died during the 2022 race. (Eric Trent/Cascadia Daily News)

photo  Amir Freund holds one of the photo collages for Rob Lawrance's memorial. Freund, who did the road bike leg last year, is doing the cyclocross leg this year using Lawrance's bike in his memory. (Eric Trent/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  A memorial is laid out on the grass at Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale for Rob Lawrance, the man who died during the cyclocross leg in last year's race. (Eric Trent/Cascadia Daily News)  

10:53 a.m.

Twenty-five teams have finished the road bike leg.

photo  From left, Ben Shaklee (Beavers Tree Service), Beau Whitehead (Bellingham Firefighters Whatcom Open Team), Patrick Laird (Inn at Lynden) and Leighton Overson (Greatest American Heroes) chat after all finishing in the top 10 of the road bike leg. (Connor J. Benintendi/Cascadia Daily News)  

10:45 a.m.

Mike Robson, 51, of the Mt. Baker Ravens, rolled past the finish line as the first veterans division finisher.

Robson, a former Bellingham resident now living in Mill Creek, Snohomish County, echoed Laird on struggling with not having anyone by him.

He now plans to enjoy his old stomping grounds for the rest of the day.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Robson said of Whatcom County.

10:38 a.m.

Patrick Laird, 38, of Inn at Lynden was fourth to finish the road bike leg behind Beaver’s Tree Service in his first-ever race.

The hardest part of the race? Not having anyone with him, Laird said. Other than that, it all went as expected.

“It felt good,” Laird said. “Par for the course.”

photo  Patrick Laird, right, of Bellingham Firefighters Whatcom Open Team finished the road bike leg in 3:02:19.3. Inn at Lynden's Patrick Laird, left, finished in 3:00:25.1. (Connor J. Benintendi/Cascadia Daily News)  

10:34 a.m.

The canoe leg is about 18.5 miles long and is the only leg of the Ski to Sea race that involves two teammates. 

10:29 a.m.

Beavers Tree Service finishes the road bike leg at 10:29 a.m., coming in third place. 

Inn at Lynden comes in fourth, having surpassed Bellingham Firefighters – Whatcom Open Team sometime during the road bike leg.  

10:23 a.m.

Boomer's Drive-In comes in second place, finishing the road bike leg nine minutes after Birch Equipment.  

10:14 a.m.

Birch Equipment stays in first place, finishing the 41-mile road bike leg by 10:14 a.m, seven minutes earlier than last year's finish.

Matt Bailey handed the timing chip to teammates Glenn Bond and Bob Woodman. The two jumped in a canoe and are gliding down the Nooksack River toward Everson.

photo  Matt Bailey poses by the Riverside Park sign with his wife, Kayla Bailey, after finishing the road bike leg in 2:44:05.9. Birch Equipment, which is in first place, won last year's race with a finish time of 5:59:48. (Connor J. Benintendi/Cascadia Daily News)  

Bailey had a cherry pie earlier this morning, a breakfast of champions, and already has his immediate plans figured out.

“I’m going to drink a beer and kiss my lady,” Bailey said, still catching his breath.

10:02 a.m.

photo  Members of Nacho Average Team play Catan at Riverside Park in Everson as they wait for the handoff from the team's road biker. The road bike leg is 41 miles while the canoe leg is 18.5 miles. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

10 a.m.

Former NFL quarterback Jake Locker — who now lives in Ferndale and is an alum of Ferndale High School and University of Washington — is participating in his fourth Ski to Sea race. This is his second year competing in the canoe leg for his team, Family Comes First.

Locker said he continues to come back to the race due to its unique community feel.

“It’s something that’s kind of iconic and unique to the place that we live in and that I grew up in,” Locker said. “We live here now, we’re up here and we’re thankful for the people in this place. We’re thankful to be a part of it.”

photo  Deaf canoe racers watch an interpreter during a pre-race meeting in Everson. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

9:48 a.m.

Two hundred teams have finished the running leg, and are off to road bike. 

9:38 a.m.

Deb Gordon, 64, cross-country skier for Oldies but New-Bees, called both the snow and the crowd “great” during her leg. The snow actually improved over the past few weeks; Gordon said they came up to Mount Baker three times over the past month to practice.

Gordon and her husband, Mark, moved to Bellingham last year from Wisconsin, and they came as accomplished cross-country skiers.

photo  Becky Brunk, right, hugs teammate Deb Gordon of Oldies But New-Bees after Brunk finished the downhill ski leg in 50:42:9. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

Gordon said her recovery from her part of the race would be easy.

“I’m going to celebrate life with my friends and have a beer,” she said.

Gordon was sad to report that Oldies’ fearless team leader, Cally Huttar, fractured her ankle on the eighth mile of a practice run. The team found a last-minute substitute for the running leg.

9:35 a.m.

photo  Canoeists gather for a safety meeting at Riverside Park about an hour before hitting the water. The canoe leg is 18.5 miles and ends in Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale. (Connor J. Benintendi/Cascadia Daily News)  

9:25 a.m.

photo  Anne Morrison of Alaska All-Stars celebrates as she begins the running leg of the race. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Mohamed Hassan of Dreamboats runs with a baby doll on his chest. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

9:20 a.m.

photo  Kathleen Hall and Marisa Bamesberger of Emergency Respone Team tape their canoe to keep water out during the fifth leg. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

9:19 a.m.

Andrew Shelton is living up to his team's name: Late Bloomers. The 37-year-old participated in his first-ever Ski to Sea as a downhill skier, finishing the leg at 9:14 a.m.

Before he started, he admitted he wasn't exactly sure where he was going.

"I intend to follow the crowd," Shelton said.

9:14 a.m.

The road bike leg of Ski to Sea is a 41-mile ride that begins at the Shuksan DOT snow shed (between mileposts 46 and 47) on the Mt. Baker Highway. The average time to complete the leg is 2:08:30.

9:13 a.m.

photo  Matt Cooley of Sea You on the Other Side prepares for the handoff as he finishes the downhill ski/snowboard leg. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

9:08 a.m.

“Come on, boys!” canoeists shouted as they marched down Park Drive just outside Riverside Park, carrying their paddles.

photo  Canoeists and their canoes populate the grass at Riverside Park in Everson an hour and a half before road bikers are set to arrive with timing chips. (Connor J. Benintendi/Cascadia Daily News)  

8:51 a.m.

Birch Equipment finishes the running leg of Ski to Sea first at 8:50 a.m. The team came in first place overall last year, with a time of 5:59:48.

Boomer's Drive-In was about two minutes behind. Bellingham Firefighters – Whatcom Open Team fought their way into third place, finishing the running leg at 8:53 a.m.

8:50 a.m.

Shortly after crossing the finish line, cross-country skier and Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood commented on his 31st race experience with something he preferred would remain off the record.

“Usually I'm kind of hyperventilating at the end,” Fleetwood said. “At least that didn't happen.”

Participation appears to be up this year. Fleetwood said the cross-country leg was crowded.

“At all the usual bottlenecks, it was a mass of people,” Fleetwood said, adding that he had to dodge a number of skiers who had taken a spill.

He planned to hang out in the ski area parking lot after the race, what he likened to a “tailgate party.”

“Everyone is just hanging out, feeling good, because we got another Ski to Sea out of the way,” he said.

photo Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood and others ski past. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)

8:47 a.m.

photo  Max Kirshenblatt of team Few Fighters begins the running leg after grabbing the timing chip from teammate Rory Corrigan. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

8:45 a.m.

photo  Nate Brown of Sweet As Waffles poses in his waffle costume as he snowboards down in the second leg, which he finished in 1:06:02.4. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

8:31 a.m.

Pedro Bojorquez, 16, is getting ready for his first Ski to Sea experience. He was a late entry to team 97.

Bojorquez, a Squalicum High School student, said he’s in good shape already as a track athlete, but he asked his coach to help him prepare for the third leg's distance. The 8-mile running leg is longer than his longest-ever competitive run, which was 3.1 miles.

Bojorquez heard the rumor about runners cooling down in the Nooksack River at the end of their leg. “If I get motivated, I might dip in the water,” he said.

photo  Amber Hickey of Mermaid Revolution makes her way down the hill in the second leg, which she finished in 1:06:38.5. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

8:23 a.m.

Twenty-two teams have finished the downhill ski leg.

photo  Kevin Monroe of Four Continents Squad dressed up as a banana for the downhill ski leg. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Chris Ellis of Compass Real Estate treks up the hill in the downhill ski/snowboard leg. He finished the leg in 54:07.8. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Deb Gordon of the veteran team Oldies But New-Bees skis in the first leg. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

8:19 a.m.

Adam Loomis, 31, from team first-place Birch Equipment, participated in his first Ski to Sea. His team found him on the U.S. Ski Team website. Loomis, from Park City, Utah, started his leg in fourth place but finished as the first downhill skier to cross the finish line.

“The skiing was good,” Loomis said. He also said it was challenging. “Short efforts are still hard.”

photo  Cole Herdman of All Hat No Cattle climbs the hill with his skis in the second leg of the race. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

8:15 a.m.

The Canoe is How Long is in second place and Beavers Tree Service is in third. Boomer's Drive-In was shortly behind, coming in fourth, and finishing the downhill ski leg at 8:14 a.m.

photo  Teagan Yutrzenka of The Canoe is How Long begins the running leg of the race after her teammate finished the second leg in 43:07.3. The team is currently in second place. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

8:12 a.m.

Birch Equipment overtakes Boomer's Drive-In for first place, finishing the second leg of the race by 8:10 a.m. 

photo  Adam Loomis, right, hands off to teammate John Whelan of Birch Equipment to begin the running leg. Loomis finished the second leg, downhill ski, in 39:35.7. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

8:08 a.m.

So far, 137 teams have finished the first leg.

8:07 a.m.

Brian Gregg, a 2014 Olympian, won the cross-country ski leg for the second year in a row. Gregg said race organizers did a good job preparing the course with its damp, late-spring snow.

After catching his breath, Gregg was thankful it wasn’t raining this year compared to last. “It’s always nice when it’s not wet.”

Gregg is a financial planner from Minneapolis who grew up in Winthrop, Okanogan County. He started participating in Ski to Sea in high school.

7:53 a.m.

photo Brian Gregg of Boomer's Drive-In, left, takes a breath after finishing the cross-country leg in 20:03.2. The competitive open team came in third place last year. (Ralph Schwartz/Cascadia Daily News)

7:50 a.m.

Boomer's Drive-In, a competitive team, is the first to finish the cross-country ski leg.

Inn at Lynden is in second place; and The Canoe is How Long is in third. Birch Equipment, currently in fourth place, won Ski to Sea in 2022.

photo  Brian Gregg, left, of Boomer's Drive-In, hands off to Calvin Collander to begin the downhill ski leg. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

7:38 a.m.

photo  Skiers make their way up the first hill of the race. The average time to finish the first leg is 0:41:30 and the first team to finish it is expected to arrive at the first handoff around 7:50 a.m. (Finn Wendt/Cascadia Daily News)  

7:30 a.m.

Ski to Sea 2023 begins.

photo  There are 3,704 people participating in the race this year. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo A blue 50 was spray-painted in the snow to mark the 50th anniversary of Whatcom County's biggest event. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)

7:28 a.m.


photo  Mary Margaret Stoll writes team name Maine-iacs on teammate Joshua Sacks' arm before the race. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

7:26 a.m.

photo  Participants gather May 28 for a pre-race meeting at Mt. Baker Ski Area. Ski to Sea begins at 7:30 a.m. with the cross-country ski leg. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)  

7:20 a.m.

Michael Walker, 31, of the team Dirty30 moved to Bellingham last year and will participate in the running leg. He made it clear that he preferred the term “participate” to “compete.”

Walker ran the Bellingham Bay marathon last year but sees the all-downhill run as a unique challenge.

“I’m just scared about my knees,” he said.

7:13 a.m.

Those traveling around Whatcom County today are reminded to watch for racers on the roads and take it slow, the Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted Sunday morning.

7 a.m.

“It’s 50 years. Who’s excited?” a race organizer said at the 7 a.m. safety meeting, to cheers. 

The mood is upbeat — no rain, unlike last year's soggy start.

Two captions for photos of Deb Gordon and Becky Brunk of team Oldies but New-Bees swapped the racers' names and added the team's total time instead of the leg time. The captions were updated to reflect this change at 10:15 a.m. May 29, 2023. Cascadia Daily News regrets the error.

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