The popular Buckwheat Ski Classic in now open for registration.
Named in honor of long-time Skagway resident and ski enthusiast Robert Carlin “Buckwheat” Donahue, the race on the Log Cabin Ski Trails north of Skagway on Saturday, March 22, has a theme this year as unique as the race founder, according to a news release by the Skagway News.
“Life is a Circus” will adorn the race shirts of this year’s 28th annual competition that drew a record 393 skiers last year. More are expected this year and a circus-themed aid station will provide relief, both physical and comical. Registration is available online at: www.buckwheatskiclassic.com.
When Donahue started the event in the late 1980’s only 14 people participated, six from Whitehorse and eight from Skagway. It was the only year Americans outnumbered their Canadian competitors in the event.
“Those Canadians showed up in tight Lycra and skinny skis,” Donahue said. “Us Skagway folks were in Carhartt’s and fat backcountry skis.”
New this year will be a Best Costume Award based on the theme: “Life is a Circus.” The prize will be a tour package to Skagway’s Upper Dewey Lake cabin.
Also this year, the race has created a new Father Jean-Marie Mouchet Award for the most inspirational skier, in recognition of the late pioneer of the Log Cabin trail system.
The race is a fundraiser for Log Cabin Ski Society, which maintains the ski trails with equipment and volunteers. The trails have been recognized as an official recreation area by BC Forestry. The society has been working closely with the agency on trail improvements, a new map, and information kiosks.
LCSS volunteers groom and set track on 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. The trails are located on the S. Klondike Highway, 27 miles north of Skagway.
The Buckwheat Ski Classic will again have 50K, 25K and 10K 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 warming hut fund.
Print registration forms and membership applications also will be available at the usual locations: The Mountain Shop in Skagway, Coast Mountain Sports in Whitehorse, Lutak Lumber in Haines, and Foggy Mountain Outfitters in Juneau. Those registration forms may be dropped off at the Skagway and Whitehorse locations by March 18 or mailed directly to Buckwheat Ski Classic, Box 636, Skagway, AK 99840.
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, race timing, serving breakfast, parking lot, and aid station prep, please call Jeff Brady at 907-973-2354 or Su Rappleye at 983-2127.