Shiver Me Timbers!
SKULL CANDY - A kid hangs out in the mouth of the snow skull on the back of the aid station pirate ship, and pirate Chas Dense from Juneau sets out for the trail with his ship mates. Jeff Brady
Record year for the Buckwheat Ski Classic
Arghhh - pirate theme seizes participants
By KATIE EMMETS
The 27th Annual Buckwheat Ski Classic saw a record number of participants with 393 skiers and a lot of pirates.
This year’s pirate theme spanned from the parking crew to the patched-eyed racers and to the ice ship aid station, where people said things like “shiver me timbers” and listened to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean theme song while waiting in line for a veggie burger.
Along with a great turn out, race Chief of Course Stuart Brown said this year’s weather was the best he’d seen in a while.
Brown and fellow Chiefs of Course Mike Korsmo and Tim Bourcy started preparing the ski trails in December. Mike Kramer and crew from Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club assisted as well, especially during race week.
“The last couple weeks were really cold, which was perfect,” Brown said after the race. “It was between 0 degrees Fahrenheit and -1 degree Fahrenheit when we were working on everything earlier this week. The more we worked, the better the snow stuck.”
Brown said sometimes the weather gets above freezing and the aid station has been known to melt and collapse while people are inside.
Warm weather could also be bad for the ski trails.
When the temperature is above freezing, the melted snow can turn into overflow in some sections, where a pool of water sits on top of the tracks.
“The water takes the wax off the bottom of the skis,” Brown said.
The Skagway-based Log Cabin Ski Society, of which Brown is a member, began running the Buckwheat Ski Classic last year after long-time event head Buckwheat Donahue retired.
A membership to the nonprofit group costs $10 per year, and the money goes toward ski trail equipment.
But Brown said even with membership dues , it’s not enough to cover the large cost of maintaining the tracks for skiers who enjoy the trails Log Cabin has to offer.
“I’m really excited about the record breaking participation.” Brown said. “We bought an Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 X last year, and race costs will help pay for the massive machine.”
Brown said there were 12 volunteers who made sure the trails were maintained over the last five months, and there were six people led by Paul Reichert who helped create the pirate ship aid station. The total number of volunteers, who performed tasks such as making breakfast for racers, stuffing bags with goodies at AB Hall and cleaning up the Skagway Recreation Center after the awards banquet, was about 85 people.
“This event wouldn’t run if it weren’t for the volunteers,” he said.
This year’s volunteer award, the Des Duncan Clock went to Skagway Rec. Center director Katherine Nelson. Nelson and her staff have hosted the race awards banquet and ceremony for the last two years.
The Miss Buckwheat award went to four-month-old Isabella Plant of Whitehorse.
Awards were presented to the top three in every category, from kids 5k on up to adult 50K.