Dozens of Ski to Sea athletes participating in the canoe and cyclocross legs of the competition will be passing through the Ferndale area for much of the day, Sunday, May 26th. And, many locals will be lined up to cheer them on during what is expected to be partly cloudy day with high temperatures in the low 70s.
The race is scheduled to begin up on Mount Baker at 7:30am. After the cross-country ski, downhill ski/snowboard, running and road bike legs, athletes paddling over 18 miles down the Nooksack River in the canoe leg typically begin arriving in the Ferndale area around noon and continue for several hours following.
The canoeists will paddle to the beach on the east side of the Nooksack River at Hovander Park (south of Main Street and the WDFW boat launch). They will need to pull their canoes some distance from the water before they are allowed to hand their team’s timing chip to the cyclocross bike rider.
Cyclocross riders will head north through the grassy fields of Hovander Homestead Park to Main Street and then follow a path behind businesses on the south side of Main Street until reaching Nordic Place. The riders will continue south behind the businesses on LaBounty Drive and from there they head into Bellingham where, after the 13-mile leg, they will hand off their teams’ timing chips to kayakers who will cross the finish line in Fairhaven.
There are many vantage points in Ferndale from which to view the canoe and cyclocross legs of this year’s Sea to Ski Race. They include the following.
To watch the canoeists come down the river:
- VanderYacht Park (west side of the river)
- Main Street bridge (aka Pioneer Bridge)
- The park area at the Carnation Oxford Building (east side of the river).
- Centennial Riverwalk Park (west side of the river) provides a great view up and downstream as the canoeists pass.
- The canoe leg’s landing beach at Hovander Homestead Park (east side of the river) is a busy place but you will get to see the spills and chills as the canoeists attempt to climb out and haul their canoes out at the end of their exhausting leg.
To watch the cyclocross riders:
- The Hovander Homestead Park trail long the west side of the off-leash dog park area
- Behind Walgreen Drugs and Haggen Foods
- On Nordic Place as riders navigate their way through the vacant lots toward LaBounty
Below is a map provided by race organizers that details the path of each race leg.