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The transfer point from river canoeing to off-road biking is at Hovander Homestead Park of Ferndale when the Ski to Sea Race is happening on a Memorial Day weekend. (File photo)

This represents cancellation of events due to COVID-19 into a second year

WHATCOM ­— Event cancellation from COVID-19 heads into a second year.

Whatcom Events announced Monday that the 2021 Ski to Sea Race in May is off, based somewhat on a survey of prospective participants.

The results were that “more than half of the 263 respondents [said] they were unlikely or very unlikely to form a team under the current circumstances,” according to press release.

Whatcom Events executive director Anna Rankin said steps were taken to evaluate what could be done to make the famed seven-leg team competition from Mount Baker to Bellingham Bay happen. 

Those efforts included adopting a race plan under the state of Washington guidelines for outdoor recreational events and conversations with municipal partners as well as the survey to past team captains. Unfortunately, the outcome of the decision process was to postpone the race for another year.  

“This decision was not made lightly. It is based upon a host of considerations, including the inability to stage a race that would allow all of us to experience the personal comradery that is at the core of the event,” Whatcom Events said.

Another factor was economics, for a nonprofit operation. One goal was to renew the race under circumstances allowing it to continue for years to come, and that would be significantly threatened if there was another shutdown or low turnout in the race in 2021, it was decided.  Last year’s cancellation resulted in a $65,000 loss to Whatcom Events.

Public partners include the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County and its Health Department.

Whatcom Events says that as a nonprofit entity it hopes people will help to preserve the race by contributing to a Go Fund Me campaign. A goal of $10,000 is set to be raised by March 31.

The race has in the past been one of the largest single visitor attractions and economic impact events of Whatcom County.