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Ski to Sea canoeists on the river get cheered on by onlookers on the Main Street bridge (May 29, 2016). Photo: Discover Ferndale

Prime viewing locations of the Ski to Sea race in Ferndale

There are many great vantage points in Ferndale to view two exciting legs of the 2017 Sea to Ski Race as the athletes pass through Ferndale Sunday, May 28th.

The race begins up on Mount Baker at 7:30am. After the preceding cross-country ski, downhill ski/snowboard, cross-country ski, running, and road bike legs, athletes in the canoe leg typically begin arriving in Ferndale after 11:30am and continue arriving for several hours following.

Leg #5 involves canoeing the Nooksack River in two-person canoes from Riverside Park in Everson to the landing beach at Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale, a distance of about 18 and a half miles.

Leg #6 involves cross country biking, or “cyclocross,” from Hovander Homestead Park to Squalicum Harbor on Bellingham Bay, a distance of about 13 miles.

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Best places to watch

ski-to-sea canoeists on the river 2016-05-29
Ski-to-Sea canoeists on the river (May 29, 2016). Photo: Discover Ferndale

To watch the canoeists come down the river: VanderYacht Park (west side of the river) and the park area at the Carnation Oxford Building (east side of the river). Just south of the Main Street Bridge is the Centennial Riverwalk Park which also provides a great view up and downstream as the canoeists pass.

To watch the canoeists come to shore and hand-off to the cyclists
The river shore at Hovander Homestead Park can be the best vantage point, assuming the river level isn’t too high. After an exhausting run down the river, coming ashore in a two-man canoe is not the easiest thing to do and the resulting spills and collisions by the exhausted canoeists are often the source of a few giggles and laughs from the bystanders and the competitors.

Ski-to-Sea cyclists heading through Ferndale in 2015. Photo: Discover Ferndale
Ski-to-Sea cyclists heading through Ferndale (May 24, 2015). Photo: Discover Ferndale

To watch the cyclists head through and out of Ferndale
The cyclists will take the hand-off in Hovander Homestead Park and head north to Main Street and then follow a path behind businesses on the south side of Main Street until reaching LaBounty Drive. The cyclists will continue south behind the businesses on LaBounty Drive and from there they head into Bellingham.

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This is the third year for the cyclocross course with many locations from which to watch the cyclists as they navigate through parking lots and vacant lots in Ferndale.

Click here to view the complete official Ski-to-Sea race map on the Ski-to-Sea website.

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