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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

More than 150 turn out for annual Mount Spokane cross-country ski race

A little bit of mist isn’t enough to put a damper on Mount Spokane’s annual cross-country ski race.

Tim Ray, director of the Langlauf Ski Race, said moisture in the air and temperatures close to freezing made trail grooming and ski waxing tough, and there was even a moose spotted along the course at Mount Spokane State Park.

But the 154 skiers who turned out for the race overcame those obstacles, and the event went off without a hitch.

”We had fairly fast times and overall it was really good,” Ray said.

For the second consecutive year, Sergey Avdyushkin of Spokane was the top finisher. The 55-year-old finished the 10-kilometer course in 32:28 – 6 seconds faster than his winning time in 2023, and almost 5 minutes ahead of the next finisher.

Former Olympian Rebecca Dussault of Sagle, Idaho, was the top female finisher. Dussault, 43, logged a time of 38:27. Dussault was also the top female finisher in 2022.

Ray said skier numbers appeared to be down going into the weekend, but a flurry of late registrations boosted the total. He added that 30 to 40 junior racers were unable to attend because of a junior qualifier that was being held the same weekend.

About 3 inches of fresh snow arrived for the race, and clouds of mist the morning of eventually turned into snow. The main groomer tilled the snow a couple of times before setting the track.

Temperatures fluctuated throughout the morning, making it tough for skiers to find the right wax mixture for their skis, Ray said. Many people used waxless skis.

And a few skiers carried on the “woodies and woolies” tradition – completing the race on wooden skis while wearing wool clothing.

A forerunner who skied the track before the race began spotted the moose. The moose eventually moved off into the woods, clearing the way for the participants to zip through the course.

It was the 43rd iteration of Langlauf, the classic ski contest that was started as winter’s answer to the annual Bloomsday race. Ray said they gave away a number of prizes to participants and volunteers, including a complete ski set and accommodations in the Methow Valley, a popular cross country skiing destination.

”Everything went real smooth,” Ray said. “(Everyone) had a great time. It’s kind of a big winter celebration for the ski community.”