Steamboat graduate, sailor to discuss grueling Race to Alaska Tuesday |

Steamboat graduate, sailor to discuss grueling Race to Alaska Tuesday

Mark Bostrom, a Steamboat Springs High School graduate, stands with the first-place prize from the Washington 360 sailing race in 2020.
Bud Werner Memorial Library/Courtesy photo

While most Steamboat residents are outdoorsy and enjoy sports, sailing is pretty rare for this mountain town.

That has not discouraged former Steamboat resident Mark Bostrom from embracing the sport and endeavoring on sailing adventures, including the recent Race to Alaska, or R2AK, a grueling 750-mile sailing race.

The Bud Werner Memorial Library recently screened “Race to Alaska,” which documents the extreme conditions and perseverance the race requires. The library is hosting a follow-up virtual chat with Bostrom at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 12.

Bostrom explained that he lived in Steamboat from second grade through high school, graduating from Steamboat Springs High School in 1982. 

“Other than the high school mascot being the Sailors, there’s not a lot of people that sail on a team,” Bostrom said of Steamboat.

Bostrom was first introduced to sailing through his father.

“My father, he really wanted to sail, but he had never done anything like that. And he bought this old boat from some guy there in town,” Bostrom said. “We used to take it up to Steamboat lake and sail around up there until he got comfortable enough to sail other places.” 

Bostrom and his father once ventured to Mexico and sailed in the Sea of Cortez, as well as venturing to Dillon Reservoir or Pueblo closer to home.

Once Bostrom went to college and moved, he mostly stopped sailing — until about five years ago.

“I was down in San Diego about four or five years ago now. And we’re just having a beach vacation,” Bostrom explained.

He decided to give sailing another go.

“My partner Melissa, she didn’t even know I’d sailed very much,” he added.

From there, Bostrom’s renewed passion for sailing only grew. He began participating in sailing competitions throughout the country and connecting with other sailors in his home state of Montana.

He first participated in the R2AK in 2019, getting 10th place with a team of six. He won the Wild Horse Island race in 2020, got second place at the Round Whidbey in 2021 and also won the Washington 360 in 2021.

This year, the R2AK took Bostrom and his team seven days and 23 hours. He said the conditions were difficult with constant wind and cold. The crew has to sleep in shifts to continuously man the boat.

“The conditions were pretty brutal this year,” he said. “I think 15 boats either capsized or just quit, and there were a lot of logs in the water.”

He added that these long races certainly build character and grit, bringing benefits along with the challenges.

“I think each race kind of gives you something a little bit different,” Bostrom said. “(With) Race to Alaska, the setting is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and you have a lot of time to contemplate and think, and just completing the race in 2019 was a huge accomplishment for me personally and for the crew.”

Bostrom will be speaking about his experiences and answering questions Tuesday morning. Reserve your spot or get more information at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.