Registrations are now being accepted for the 2013 Buckwheat Ski Classic, which will be held on the Log Cabin Ski Trails north of Skagway, on Saturday, March 23.
Registration is available online at: www.buckwheatskiclassic.com.
The popular cross country ski race turned a new chapter last year following the “retirement” of race founder Buckwheat Donahue. After 25 years of running the race, he turned it over to a new nonprofit, the Log Cabin Ski Society, comprised of Alaska and Yukon volunteers.
A record 381 skiers participated last year, and another big race is anticipated this year with a pirate-themed aid station and race shirts. Arrrgh!!!
The Buckwheat Ski Classic will again have 50, 25 and 10 kilometer classic cross country ski races, as well as a 5K kids race. Racers can sign up by clicking on the Race Entry tab on the website and following the registration link. There is a discount for registering early (before the end of February), then fees go up in March. Racers also have the option of joining the society for $10 per year and donating to the society’s grooming equipment fund.
Print registration forms and membership applications will be available at the usual locations: The Mountain Shop, in Skagway, Coast Mountain Sports and Sport Yukon, in Whitehorse, Lutak Lumber, in Haines, and Foggy Mountain Shop, in Juneau. Those registration forms may be dropped off at the Skagway and Whitehorse locations by March 19 or mailed directly to Buckwheat Ski Classic, Box 636, Skagway, AK 99840.
The race is a fundraiser for LCSS, which maintains the Log Cabin Ski Trails with equipment and volunteers. The Log Cabin trails recently were recognized as an official recreation area by British Columbia Forestry. The society has been working closely with the agency on trail improvements, as well as with budget-strapped Parks Canada for keeping the rest room facilities open in the Log Cabin parking lot.
LCSS volunteers groom and set track the ski trails prior to every weekend between now and the race, so skiers are encouraged to check trail condition updates on the site and use the area all winter.
After the race, the fun moves down to Skagway for an awards dinner at the Skagway Recreation Center. Then the party shifts downtown, where there will be music at local establishments. Watch the site or the LCSS Facebook page for updates.
Additional volunteers are always welcome. If you can help with race packet prep, dinner serving, race timing, serving breakfast, shirt sales, and aid station prep., please call Jeff Brady at 907-973-2354 or Su Rappleye at 983-2127.
Major sponsors and contributors of the Buckwheat Ski Classic include: Municipality of Skagway CVB & Rec. Center, Salree, Inc., Holland America-Princess, Alaska Shirt Co., The Mountain Shop, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Elliott Financial Management, Duff’s Backcountry Outfitters, The Skagway News. Co., PR Services, Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club, and Alaskan Brewing Co. A full breakdown of 2013 sponsors will appear on the website closer to race time.
The Buckwheat in 2009 was named one of the top 49 things to do in Alaska by the editors of Alaska magazine. And it still howls!
IMPORTANT TRAVEL INFO
• FERRIES — One ferry is coming north to Skagway on Friday, March 22. The LeConte leaves Juneau at 7 a.m. with a stop in Haines and arrives in Skagway at 1:30 p.m. The Fairweather is also sailing from Juneau that Friday and Saturday. After the race, the LeConte sails south on Sunday, March 24 at 2:30 p.m. to Haines and Juneau. To book space on these ferries, go directly to the state’s Alaska Marine Highway site at www.ferryalaska.com.
• PASSPORTS — Skiers are also reminded of document requirements for crossing the U.S.-Canada border that went into effect in 2009. You must have a passport or passport card to cross the border. The border is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (8 a.m. to midnight Yukon time). For more info. contact Skagway Port of Entry at 907-983-2325.