Susan Bennerstrom

Role: Team Captain and Canoer
Age: 61
Team: Aunt Janie's Roadtrip
My cousins, the Hillearys, started our team a number of years ago, and it changed names a few times. In 2003 the cousins who were doing the canoe leg decided to hang up their paddles, and they invited me and their mom (my aunt, Janie Hilleary, then age 75 ) to take over. She and I had both done a bit of canoeing as kids so we figured paddling 18 miles down the Nooksack River would be no problem for us.  We had no idea what we were in for, but had fun and caught the S2S bug. In 2004 two of my brothers joined the team, we entered in the newly-formed Family Division, and we were thrilled beyond belief to win 1st!! After her third triumphant S2S Aunt Janie decided that 78 was a respectable age for passing the baton, and David Scherrer joined as my canoe partner. In her honor our team became Aunt Janie's Roadtrip (why "roadtrip"? - it's a long story). For the last four years we've won first in Mixed Rec.
What has kept you together as a team for so long now?:
We are primarily a family team, and S2S provides a great excuse for us to get together -- participants, spouses, kids, lots of dogs. Our cross-country skier, Kammie Hilleary, works at an excellent winery in Sonoma County, and she drives north in her jeep with her chocolate lab and a case of good wine for our pre-race "meeting" and post-race celebration. Our challenge is always to save some wine for post-race, and to get the mountain racers to bed sober and at a reasonable hour.
Present Occupation: Artist
Length of Employment: 30+ years
Education: W.W.U.
Favorite Sport: Canoeing
Favorite Quote:
"You come to nature with all your theories, and she knocks them all flat." Sculptor Henry Moore
Favorite Animal:
David's and my dog, Jessy (rescued by Aunt Janie in Stanwood)
Last Book Read: Solar by Ian McEwan
Long Term Dreams/Goals: To paint and paddle till the day I die
How long have you been involved in the Ski to Sea?: 8 years
Do you plan to be in the Ski to Sea race again?: ABSOLUTELY!!!!
Do you plan to do all 7 legs of the race?: Nope, I'm a one-trick pony.
What do you like about the Ski to Sea?:
S2S is a wonderful community (and national and even international) event. Training for it is challenging and fun, the day of S2S is a blast for participants, and the crowds make it abundantly clear that they love watching it.
Also, without S2S I probably never would have stumbled on my favorite sport!
What would you tell others about the Ski to Sea?: If I can do it, anybody can do it. 
What do you like about the Bellingham/Mt Baker region?:
I hate to sound smug, but we have everything -- an active cultural life, a good university, a passion for outdoor activities, a great museum, friendly people, more natural beauty than you can shake a stick at, and no poisonous snakes.
Words of Wisdom: Figure out what you love to do best, and do it with your whole heart.
To contact Susan, send her a message at:
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2014 Official Race Guide

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