"This race is so epic and engrained in our culture.... even the watchers wait for us who have been training in the dark wet months to tell them its time to be alive, like the groundhog on groundhog day. When we do ski to sea, the rest can wake up and get out there and shake off winter and move....."
-Mary MacDonald, Racer/Captain, Saggy Bottom Girls, April 10, 2009
"Speed, molise, speed! the trail is past, Heisler's house appears at last. And peeps like moss grown rocks half seen, half hidden in the copse of green. There may'st thou rest, thy labor done, Hugh Diehl and "Betsy" shall speed thee on."
-Joe Galbraith wins the first Mount Baker Marathon on August 11, 1911. He wrote this to the editor of the Herald, Oct 4, 1911
A team consists of 8 racers (2 in the canoe leg) for the seven race legs (Cross Country Ski; Downhill Ski/Snowboard; Running; Road Bike; Canoe; Mountain Bike; Kayak). A racer can only be on one team, and only complete one leg. We also recommend a support team to carpool the team to the different race leg venues.
The annual Ski to Sea Race from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay can be traced back to the Mt. Baker Marathon held from 1911 to 1913. The marathon pitted man and machine against rugged terrain, taking contestants over treacherous roads and trails to the top of the mountain and back. Contestants had the choice of using automobiles or the railroad to help them get to the point at which they would have to start running up the mountain side.
The idea for the marathon was developed by the Mt. Baker Club, a group of conservation minded citizens that were attempting to have the North Cascades area designated as part of the National Park System. The foot race to the top of Mt. Baker was a publicity stunt aimed at focusing the government's attentions on the region.
In 1911 the race was won by Joe Galbraith. The following year, Harvey Haggard was the winner, and the 1913 winner was Paul Westerlund. Westerlund's time for the climb was nine hours and thirty-four minutes.
Summer storms created hazardous conditions on roads and trails. The marathon was stopped in 1913 when Vic Galbraith, a cousin of Joe, fell into a crevasse while racing down the glacier. He was found six hours later, nearly dead.
In 1973, the Mt. Baker Marathon was recreated and called the Ski to Sea Race. The Race, now a relay, was designed to showcase the recreational opportunities in Whatcom County. The Race has evolved into the "Grand Daddy" of all races, attracting participants from all over the world. In 2005, the Ski to Sea Race was featured nationally on the "Fox Sports Northwest" network, reaching 3.2 million households. A movie has been made of the 1911-1913 Mt Baker Marathons titled: The Mountain Runners.