Registration will open Wednesday, Jan. 15, for the 34th annual Buckwheat International Ski Classic. This year’s race is dedicated to the memory of race founder Buckwheat Donahue, who died Oct. 14 at age 68.
The race will be held March 7 — earlier than usual — to avoid a schedule conflict with the Arctic Winter Games March 15-21 in Whitehorse.
The race will run on the Log Cabin Ski Trails north of town. A link to the registration site is at: http://www.buckwheatskiclassic.com.
About 150 volunteers are needed during race week, organizers said. Contact race secretary Jeff Brady at email@example.com for a link to the volunteer site to sign up.
The Buckwheat Classic typically draws about 400 participants, marking the end of the racing season in Alaska-Yukon-B.C. “This year’s theme is all about the howl, so we hope to see many Buckwheats out there,” race organizers said.
In addition to the race, skiers can compete for the best costume. The winner will receive an overnight package to Skagway’s Upper Dewey Lake cabin presented by the Skagway Recreation Center, TEMSCO Helicopters and Packer Expeditions.
The race is a fundraiser for the Log Cabin Ski Society, based in Skagway, whose volunteers groom and set track on about 20 miles of trails in the cross-country skiing recreation area managed by B.C. Forestry. The trails start from the South Klondike Highway, 27 miles north of Skagway.
The ski society, which was established in 2012, also is raising money for warming huts on the trails.
The Buckwheat competition will have 50K, 25K and 10K classic cross-country races, as well as a 5K kids race, with prizes for the top three finishers in all races for men/women and boys/girls. Races will start at 10 a.m. (50K) through 11:30 a.m. (kids race).
There is a discount for registering before the end of January. Racers also have the option of joining the Log Cabin Ski Society for $10 per year and donating to the warming hut fund. There is a $10 late fee for registrations received online after Feb. 29.
Late registrations will be accepted at bib pickup locations in Whitehorse on March 5 and in Skagway on March 6 until 6 p.m. Alaska time.
For out-of-town racers, the state ferry LeConte is scheduled to depart Juneau at 7 a.m. March 6, with a stop in Haines and arriving in Skagway at 1 p.m. The day after the race, the LeConte is scheduled to sail south at 2 p.m. March 8 to Haines and Juneau.
Skiers are reminded they will need a valid 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 information, contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Skagway at 983-2325.