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Southenders slog through Hog Loppet
The snow was iffy, the distance was long, and the wax was not sticking, but eight South Whidbey cross country skiers still made it through one of Western Washington's longest cross country ski treks late last month.
On Feb. 23, the eight skiers ventured out for the Hog Loppet ski trek in the Cascade Mountains. The Hog Loppet is an annual, high-country citizen's cross-country ski trek that covers 21 miles from the summit of Mission Ridge at 6,700 feet to Swauk Pass at 4,500 feet.
This year about 400 skiers participated with many levels of ability and a range of equipment choices. According to South Whidbey skier Barbara Dunn, Hog Loppet participants quickly spread out over the entire course, with the first skiers finishing as early as noon and the last finishing past 5 p.m.
Langley's Gil Low skate-skied the course in just three hours, finishing 23rd in the event as the first South Whidbey skier to cross the finish line.
Behind him, the course was tougher for skiers using the classic in-line style.
"It was a challenge," said Dunn.
The weather was a little windy, mild temperatures with some sun breaks, some snow showers and some rain showers. Dunn said the snow was also difficult to predict, as it changed consistency several times and caused many to question their choice of equipment for the day. The conditions inspired her and her compatriots to rename the event for their own amusement.
"We call it the Hog Slogget," Dunn said.
Despite the conditions this year, the South Whidbey skiers plan to return and take part in the event next year.