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Story by Lynn Rosen, photos by D. Boswell

Pole,  Pedal, Paddle skier skids to finish line
In Oregon’s SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle race, a downhill skier slides into the finish line area.

Billed as “the country’s top multi-multisport event,” the 45th SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle race is scheduled for 2023 on May 13. It takes place in central Oregon, and the six legs include alpine and cross-country skiing, cycling, running, kayaking, sprinting for one mile and stretches from the slopes of Mt. Bachelor to the finish line in Bend’s Old Mill District. Online registration opens about two months before race day. In 2023, registration opened Wednesday, Feb. 15. Athletes of all ages compete in divisions ranging in skill level from novice to elite, and can register as individuals, pairs, or teams at

Held each May, the SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle has been a tradition in Central Oregon since 1976 and annually attracts thousands of competitors from throughout the Northwest and beyond. The SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle is also a critical fundraiser for Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation (MBSEF), a Central Oregon nonprofit that creates opportunities through competitive snow sports programs to support athletes in achieving their individual athletic, academic, and personal goals.

“The SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle has been a beloved tradition here in Central Oregon for nearly half a century because, in large part, it appeals to such a wide and diverse range of competitors,” said Amy Tarnow, executive director of the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation. “Whether you are a less-competitive racer who wants to join a team for fun, have an active day with friends or family, or an elite multi-sport athlete who pushes the boundaries of athleticism, the SELCO PPP has a place for you. This event is a celebration of the outdoors and active lifestyles that make Central Oregon a special place, and MBSEF is proud of what a wonderful tradition this has become.”

  Pole, Pedal, Paddle downhill skiers   Pole, Pedal, Paddle Nordic skiers  
Downhill skiers racing down Mt. Bachelor’s Leeway; cross-country skiers
on Mt. Bachelor’s trails striving toward the Nordic center.

The individual Pole Pedal Paddle legs include:

Alpine leg: Beginning at the top of Mt. Bachelor’s Red Chair, participants sprint 200 feet uphill to their waiting skis or snowboards, then proceed down the Leeway run to the base of the mountain near the West Village Lodge.

Nordic leg: The 8-kilometer cross-country leg winds around the West Village parking lot before taking skiers through Mt. Bachelor’s vast Nordic trial system, finishing near the Nordic Center.

  Pole, Pedal, Peddle race biker   Pole, Pedal, Paddle race boats  
Biker on the 22-mile leg of the race; canoes and kayaks
waiting for their competitors to take up the challenge.

Bike leg: The 22-mile, mostly downhill bike leg takes riders from the West Village parking lot down Century Drive to the edge of Bend, finishing at the Athletic Club of Bend.

Run leg: Departing from the Athletic Club of Bend, competitors will run a 5-mile singletrack trail along the Deschutes River, finishing at Riverbend Park. Kids teams (under 12 years) will compete on a shortened course.

Canoe/Kayak leg: The 1½-mile leg will begin at Riverbend Park and then head upstream on the Deschutes River for ½ mile, before heading downstream for ¾ mile. A final ¼-mile upstream segment brings paddlers to the finish at Riverbend Park.

Pole, Pedal, Paddle race sprinter
This happy sprinter crosses the finish line in the Old Mill District.

Sprint leg: Starting at the paddle finish in Riverbed Park, the 1-mile sprint leg follows the paved path along the Deschutes River, taking participants to the finish line in the Old Mill District.

Discounted early bird registration is available until April 1, and ranges from $50 for 12 and under teams to $115 for elite athletes. For more information or to register for the SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle, visit

About the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation:
The Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities through competitive snow sports programs to support Central Oregon athletes in achieving their individual athletic, academic, and personal goals. Its vision is to positively impact the life of every athlete it serves. For more information on MBSEF and its programs, visit

About the Author

  Lynn Rosen is an Emmy award-winning TV broadcaster, producer and director, and has been on the Journalism and Theatre faculties at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. She’s also a theater critic, travel writer, published author, fearless skier and belongs to the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).   Lynn Rosen