Ski to Sea

Solace on the slopes


What: Ski to Sea

When: 7 am Sun., May. 26

Where: Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay

Info: http://www.skitosea.com

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

For lord knows how many years, my longtime snowboarding partner, P.T. Crinkle, has relished basking in the glow that comes from playing a starring role on a local team of outwardly mellow but secretively competitive Ski to Sea racers.

This situation appeared unchanged as recently as a couple of months ago when, during a late-night stargazing session at a remote backwoods location, he started griping about how his teammates had “coerced” him into doing the cross-country ski leg so that their primary sponsor’s freshly minted son-in-law from Vermont could take over the downhill this year.

Prone to perpetrating all manner of bamboozlement, neither I nor anyone else on our expedition could reasonably be expected to guess that maybe, for once in his life, Crinkle might actually be telling the truth.  

Soon—barely discernible through the flickering glow of our lantern—I saw a protracted grimace wilt across his face and he heaved a sigh so tangibly loathsome that it made everyone within earshot feel like the sky was about to fall.

But still, we doubted.

If listening to decades of Crinkle’s tall tales had taught us anything, it’s that once he pulls you into his narrative it’s only a matter of time before he finally lets the cat out of the bag.

Only on this go-round, the bag never opened because the cat was already out. For the first time in 25 years, the joke was on him, not us.

“I’m supposed to be the downhiller,” Crinkle blubbered, shaking his fists in righteous fury. “I was born to downhill and I’ve been downhilling my whole life. Downhilling is all I know. Slap the skinny skis on me and I’m lost! Slap the skinny skis on me and I’m going to humiliate myself.”

Inevitably, being the only current practitioner of cross-country ski techniques in his immediate circle, it fell on me to hook him up with the necessary gear and dish out a few lessons.

By that late juncture in the season—with the Mt. Baker Ski Area about to close and Memorial Day weekend zooming in fast—a tangible sense of urgency pervaded the proceedings. 

Concentrating on laying down a foundation of basic kick-and-glide fundamentals, I moved to instill proper braking/turning/striding methodology before ushering him into more advanced skating/racing/poling paradigms.     

As could only be expected from a dedicated North Cascadian pow shredder, Crinkle proved to be a pensive but pliable pupil.

Last Saturday, after training hard the previous few weekends up at Heather Meadows, he finally felt confident enough to shadow me out to Artist Point, where spring sun melt turned the top few inches of snow into velvet carpet and sooty grouse drummed so amorously from treetops that we could feel the slopes vibrate beneath our backs as we laid luxuriously upon our outstretched jackets and napped.

Not only is my cross-country neophyte fired up to compete in the opening leg of Sunday’s race, but he also looks forward to finishing it with newfound style, integrity and precarious grace.

Support horizontal
More Outdoors...
Bottoms Up
Expedition to a bath

It was just past noon and the sun beat mercilessly down upon an exposed stretch of remote North Cascadian mountainside where Uncle Don and I were attempting to overpower a violently out-of-control rock drill before it bounced into the ruinous abyss below.

“Hit the kill switch!” Uncle…

more »
What's the Point?
Low-tide lessons at Point Whitehorn

On a calm, gray day in March, I hiked the forested trail at Whatcom County Parks’ Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve, keen to see what the beach looked like after a recent herring spawn I had heard about. 

Hopping across driftwood onto the cobble beach at the base of the stairs, I was…

more »
Naked Truth
As bare as you dare

Holly Street gets a lot of action.

During my tenure in Bellingham, I’ve seen the one-way thoroughfare filled with a lot more than vehicles making their way through the downtown core.

I’ve witnessed a horde of lurching zombies hanging a right from Railroad Avenue on their way to Maritime…

more »
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Smart Business Leadership Series

11:30am|Connections Classroom

Wellness Wednesdays

12:00pm|Riverwalk Plaza

Wednesday Farmers Market

2:00pm|Barkley Village Green

Ferndale Book Group

2:30pm|Ferndale Library

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Calypso Kitchen

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Bellingham Mayoral Forum

6:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Marina Albero and Jeff Johnson

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Support Vertical
Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

High Tea Fundraiser

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Dig Deep

3:00pm|Deming Library

Bard on the Beach

4:00pm|Vanier Park

Blues and Brews

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Blues and Brews

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Van Gogh for the Youth


Ales & Sails

6:00pm|Bellingham Bay

Van Gogh for the Youth

6:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

The Song Wranglers

6:00pm|Jansen Art Center

Building a Secure Water Future

6:30pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Good Time Girls Season Kickoff Party

7:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Chuckanut Radio Hour

7:00pm|Whatcom Community College


7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

Stepsisters, a Dance Story

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

James and the Giant Peach

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre


7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park


7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Trove Web Support Vertical
Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

4:00pm|Vanier Park

Stepsisters, a Dance Story

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

James and the Giant Peach

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre


7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild


7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park

The Present Sense

8:30am|Make.Shift Art Space

Wild Things

9:30am|Marine Park

Chuckanut Writers Conference

10:00am|Whatcom Community College

Summer Bazaar Craft Sale

10:00am|Cedar Grove Park clubhouse

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Orcas Island Bicycle Tour

12:00pm|Orcas Island

Ferndale Farmers Market

2:00pm|1750 LaBounty Dr.

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Hot Sauce and Salsa Festival

5:00pm|Aslan Depot

The Double Trouble Band

5:00pm|Semiahmoo Marina

Keys for Kids

5:30pm|Stepping Stones Garden

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

On Trend Dance Show

7:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Longest Day 10K

7:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

The Dance Studio presents Rubies

7:00pm| Mount Baker Theatre

Writer's Block, PainProv

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Support Vertical Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Web