Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Lende top among local skiers at Buckwheat


Former marathoner Chip Lende doesn’t run any more, but he’s still fast enough to lead local athletes at the Buckwheat Ski Classic.

Lende, 56, finished 22nd of about 75 men who entered the event’s 25K race, with a 2:01:55 time. Lende doesn’t enter foot races. He doesn’t ski very much, either: Only about 30 kilometers this year previous to Saturday’s race.

Lende keeps in shape by snowshoeing and riding a bike, he said. He attributes his success at the Buckwheat to a good parking spot at the race start.

Choosing the right ski wax is critical in long-distance events, but “nobody in Haines knows anything about waxing,” so the key for Haines competitors is to park their cars next to someone who does. “It’s all about how well you can glance over your shoulder at your neighbor and see what (wax) they’re using. Thank God I parked next to Merry Ellefson.”

Ellefson, of Juneau, placed second in the women’s 50K at Buckwheat.

Lende has raced in nearly all 27 runnings of the Buckwheat, most at the 50K distance. His time in the 25K compares to 1:30:03 by men’s winner Dave Brook of Whitehorse, Y.T. Canadians once again dominated the Buckwheat, which saw a record 393 skiers register.

Men and women event winners included: 50K: Ray Sabo of Whitehorse, 2:52:41 and Marit Rjabov of Fairbanks, 3:30:29; 25K: Dave Brook of Whitehorse, 1:30:03, and Julie McVicar of Whitehorse 1:41:11: and 10K: Simon Cash of Whitehorse, 34:14, and Regan Fuerstner of Whitehorse, 43:43.

Other Haines finishers in the 25K included Liam Cassidy (2:05:32), Jane Pascoe (2:41:42). Scott Doddridge and Tom Morphet also completed the course.

Jedediah Blum-Evitts led Haines participants in the 10K race, finishing 13th with a time of 59:55 in a field of about 45 competitors. Sisters Kerry and Eileen McIver finished tied at 1:56:59, 71st among about 105 women participating. Residents Bart Henderson and Cynthia Adams also completed the course.

The event, held at Log Cabin, B.C., included a skier aid station carved in snow to resemble a life-sized pirate ship.