Leg 2 breakdown: Downhill skiing/snowboarding

THE COURSE

Year leg added to the race: 1973 (one of original three); snowboarding added as an option in 2004

Where: Mt. Baker Ski Area

Course length: Approximately 21/2 miles

Approximate time to complete: 20 minutes for top finishers, 25 to 45 minutes for everyone else

Course description: This leg is not so much about skiing or snowboarding as it is about the climb up the mountain before competitors can ski or snowboard back down. After a quick ski to the bottom of Chair 2, competitors begin a 1,000-foot climb up to the top of Chair 1. They then put their skis or snowboards back on to speed down Gunner’s Ridge, Blueberry Cat Track, Home Run and 7-Hills to the exchange point beside the Ski Shop.

Downhill skiing/snowboarding race chair: Roger Gresley

Pre-race meeting: 7:15 a.m. at the Ski Shop

Timing chip: Receive the chip from the cross-country skier, ski the leg and pass the chip off to the runner. The runner will swipe the chip to get the finish time for the downhill skiing/snowboarding leg. The downhill skier/snowboarder does not swipe the chip at either end of the leg.

WHAT’S NEW

Early release: It’s not really all that new, but the race committee plans to utilize this to a greater extent on all legs this year in an effort to make sure all kayaks are on Bellingham Bay by 5 p.m. Any teams that are lagging behind on any leg will be issued new timing chips and sent ahead on the next leg to speed things along. Teams will not be disqualified, as times on each leg will be combined for a team’s overall time. Race Director Pete Coy said an extra 30 to 40 timing chips will be available at each exchange point to issue to any slower teams.

TRAVEL AND VIEWING ADVICE

Mount Baker Highway will be closed at 7:30 a.m. at Canyon Creek Road in Glacier, going east toward the mountain. Any viewers, participants or additional support vehicles that want to go to the top of the mountain must pass Canyon Creek Road before then.

The road will be closed westbound at 7:30 a.m. at the Mt. Baker Heather Meadows Day Lodge. No vehicles will be allowed to travel down the mountain before it reopens.

Best place to watch the leg: Heather Meadows Day Lodge at Mt. Baker Ski Area, where spectators can see the handoff from the cross-country skiers, a long line of climbers heading up the uphill portion of the course and then a few minutes later see them come screaming off the slopes to hand off to the runners.

TIPS FOR THE RACE

–It might be a good idea to scout out the relay point with your cross-country skier and plan on meeting there.

–Dress comfortably. Avoid cotton. More than likely, you will slip during the climb.

–You are climbing in snow, and thus, you will be sinking as you step. Make sure to pace yourself.

–The snow in May is different from the snow the rest of the winter, so make sure that skis or snowboards are tuned for the current conditions. Wait until a couple of days prior to the race before deciding how to prepare gear.

TOP GUNS

Male winners

2008: Torin Koos (Barron Heating Mixed) 19:56

2009: Morgan Titus (Barron Heating) 20:36

2010: Max Taam (Boss Construction) 21:14

2011: Greg Ruckman (Bagelry) 17:58

Female winners

2008: Brooke Gosling (Boundary Bay Brewery) 25:28

2009: Brooke Gosling (Boundary Bay Brewery) 24:32

2010: Sabrina Harper (Boundary Bay Brewery) 25:41

2011: Sabrina Harper (Boundary Bay Brewery) 24:33


Get race day updates, plus photo galleries from each leg, racer profiles and more at bellinghamherald.com/skitosea or on Twitter @skitosea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *