Outdoors

Relay Delay

In search of Ski to Sea

Do It

What: Ski to Sea GoFundMe

More:

WHEN: Through March 31

Cost: Give what you can; the goal is $10,000

Info: http://www.skitosea.com or www.gofundme.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Last spring, the skiers, snowboarders, runners, bicyclists, canoeists and kayakers who typically would’ve teamed up to propel themselves from the slopes of Mt. Baker to the open waters of Bellingham Bay on Memorial Day weekend were instead advised to stay home. Ski to Sea had been canceled on March 23 due to growing coronavirus concerns, but organizers were hopeful the relay race celebrating the wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities in our corner of the world would return the following May.

Alas, that was not to be. Whatcom Events—the volunteer-driven nonprofit that also hosts the Tour de Whatcom, Mt. Baker Hill Climb, and Trails to Taps Relay—sent out a press release in mid-February noting that after reviewing possible pathways to successfully pull off a 2021 race, they’d made a tough call to postpone the event for another year.

Efforts had included looking into adopting a new plan under Washington state’s guidelines for outdoor recreational events, having conversations with municipal partners, and asking former Ski to Sea team captains to take a short survey focused on whether they’d be up for getting fellow athletes on board. When questions had been asked and answered, they concluded it simply wasn’t feasible to revive the race at this juncture.

“This decision was not made lightly,” Whatcom Events Executive Director Anna Rankin explained. “It is based upon a host of considerations, including the inability to stage a race that would allow all of us to experience the personal camaraderie that is at the core of the event. The importance of this factor was highlighted by the results of our survey, which included an answer from more than half of the 263 respondents that they were unlikely or very unlikely to form a team under the current circumstances.”

Economics also played a role in the final determination, Rankin said. As a nonprofit, Whatcom Events’ goal is to renew the race under conditions that will allow it to survive and thrive in the future, and another shutdown or low turnout would be damaging to the bottom line. The 2020 cancellation already resulted in a $65,000 loss to the community nonprofit—not to mention the lack of charitable donations that since 2014 alone have returned a total of $113,900 to beneficiaries such as Lydia Place, multiple food banks, the Boys and Girls Club of Whatcom County, Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, and many more.

To ensure Ski to Sea can pick up where it left off when it makes its return, Whatcom Events is reaching out to community members to help continue the race by donating to its “first and only” GoFundMe campaign. Running through March 31, the online fundraiser is hoping to secure at least $10,000 to ensure the race that for more than 45 years has been attracting athletes and supporters continues.

Money raised will cover a fraction of Whatcom Events’ rent and office expenses this year (their second with no income), and those who contribute $25 or more will have access to a bunch of merch such as stainless steel pint cups, custom-made caps, Ski to Sea tote bags, stickers and more (while supplies last).

Your assistance in ensuring the future of a beloved community event won’t go unnoticed. The campaign is doing well—at press time they’d raised more than $6,400 of the goal—but has stalled and could use a boost. With more than two weeks to go, you can help them cross the finish line, and perhaps exceed it. Then when it’s safe to do so, you can celebrate the victory together at the Boundary Bay Brewery beer garden.

“Your support would mean the world to us and the Bellingham/Whatcom County community to ensure that we can continue the legacy that is the Ski to Sea Race,” Rankin said. “We would be grateful for donations of any amount and appreciate you sharing this campaign far and wide.”

Photo from the 2019 start of Ski to Sea by Kenneth Kearney

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Briggs Shore at Good Earth

11:00am

Vases, planters and drinking vessels by Briggs Shore will be on display and for sale from 11am-5pm Mondays through Saturdays (closed Tuesdays) and 12pm-5pm Sundays through April 30 at Good…

Whatcom Art Market

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Sundays at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St.

Tulip Poster Artists, Past and Present

11:00am

The fifth annual “Tulip Poster Artists, Past and Present” exhibit can be seen from 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday through May 2 in Anacortes at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave.…

Scatter Sunshine

11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Scatter Sunshine: La Conner in Bloom…

The Work of Jesus Guillén

11:00am

“The Work of Jesus Guillen: An Artistic Legacy of Love and Courage” can be seen from 11am-4pm Fridays through Sundays through May 2 in La Conner at the Skagit County Historical Museum, 501 S.…

Rock, Paper, Paint

11:00am

“Rock, Paper, Paint” shows from 11am-4pm Fridays through Sundays through April 25 in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court. The exhibit features new “drop” oil paintings by Allen Moe, rock…

Sculpture Northwest Exhibit

11:00am

The works of 15 Sculpture Northwest artists can be viewed both indoors and out from 11am-5pm Fridays through Sundays (and by appointment) through April 23 on Camano Island at Matzke Fine Art…

A Road Well Traveled

12:00pm

“Max Benjamin: A Road Well Traveled” can be seen from 12pm-4pm Thursdays through Sundays at La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art, 121 First St. The solo exhibit featuring the work of the…

Seeds of Culture at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Voices of Native American Women,” “Fluid Formations: The Legacy of Glass in the Pacific Northwest,” “Jac Trautman: The Specter of the Indigenous,”…

Art-iversary Exhibit

10:00am

From 10am-5:30pm Mondays through Saturdays through April 30, celebrate 20 years of ownership for Sheri Wright of Fourth Corner Frames, 311 W. Holly St. A wide variety of works are for sale as…

Seeds of Culture at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Voices of Native American Women,” “Fluid Formations: The Legacy of Glass in the Pacific Northwest,” “Jac Trautman: The Specter of the Indigenous,”…