Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for March 27, 2013

Whitehorse skiers dominate Buckwheat Ski Classic

Whitehorse skiers won nine out of 10 races at the Buckwheat Ski Classic – an annual race formed 27 years ago to draw attractive women to the town of Skagway, Alaska.

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SCENIC START – Cross-country skiers exit the start chute en masse at the 27th annual Buckwheat Ski Classic, north of Skagway, Alaska on Saturday. More than 300 skiers finished one of the 10 distance races. Photo courtesy of SKAGWAY NEWS

Whitehorse skiers won nine out of 10 races at the Buckwheat Ski Classic – an annual race formed 27 years ago to draw attractive women to the town of Skagway, Alaska.

Whitehorse’s Ray Sabo won the big one – the 50-km classic – with a quick 2:52:41, more than 18 minutes faster than runner-up Marcus Wattereus of Whitehorse.

The 25-year-old Sabo took home $500 for his win.

“It’s the last race of the season and it’s always a fun event,” the former University of Alaska Nanooks standout told the Star. “It’s a good way to round out the ski season.”

Sabo had not raced much this season, but admitted he finally got his act together in time to compete in the Buckwheat. While competitive for some, he said the race is better known for its fun atmosphere – this year, a pirate-theme that saw volunteers and skiers in costume.

“If I were to pick a whole race for the family, it would definitely be the Buckwheat,” Sabo said. “I’ll dress up next year for sure.”

The 2013 race saw 393 skiers register – a new record – but only 328 of those skiers finished.

Race founder and 2013 chief of race Carlin ‘Buckwheat’ Donahue continues to be surprised at the success of the race he started to draw pretty women to Skagway.

“Believe me, I had no idea it was going to last this long. The reason I started it was to attract women to town in the winter,” he freely admitted in an interview yesterday.

“After they opened the road between Skagway and Whitehorse, I was looking at pictures in the library … and I saw these pictures of women in lycra.”

Donahue decided then and there that this was the “type of women he wanted in Skagway,” so he started a ski race.

Things have changed since that first race, said Donahue – now in his mid-60s.

“These days we’re so busy, we don’t even have time to flirt,” he chuckled. “But we were successful in bringing a lot of attractive women to town.”

Donahue said the race site of Log Cabin also happens to be one of the most scenic in the world.

“There’s mountains all around you, there’s ice fields, there’s forests, and the Chilkoot Trail,” he said. “It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere but it’s one of the most incredible skiing areas in the world.”

The Buckwheat symbolically marks the end of winter for Skagway, as summer residents begin to trickle back into town the week following the race.

Whitehorse baby Isabella Plant – just four months old – won the annual Miss Buckwheat award, while Katherine Nelson of Skagway took home the Des Duncan Award for volunteer service and sportsmanship.

Race winners: 50-km Men – Ray Sabo (Whitehorse) 2:52:41; 50-km Women – Marit Rjabov (Fairbanks) 3:30:29; 25-km Men – Dave Brook (Whitehorse) 1:30:03; 25-km Women – Julie McVicar (Whitehorse) 1:41:11; 10-km Men – Simon Cash (Whitehorse) 34:14; 10-km Women – Regan Fuerstner (Whitehorse) 43:43; 5-km 11-and-12 Boys – Liam Mather (Whitehorse) 22:43; 5-km 11-and-12 Girls – Dahlia LaPointe (Whitehorse) 30:24; 5-km 10-and-under Boys – Sasha Masson (Whitehorse) 26:48; 5-km 10-and-under Girls – Sonjaa Schmidt (Whitehorse) 29:43.

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