Welcome to the 2021 Frostbite Regatta

Three black-and-white line drawing penguins hold rowing oard. The word "Frostbite" is below in letters that have snow caps on them.
Three eight-person rowing shells on Green Lake at the 2019 Frostbite Regatta.

Photo by Alex Grümmer

56th Annual Frostbite Regatta

Saturday, November 6, 2021

 Green Lake, Seattle

First held in 1964, the Frostbite Rowing Regatta is hosted by Green Lake Crew and the Rowing Advisory Council on the first Saturday of November. Back-to-back with the Head of the Lake Regatta on Sunday, many crews make a weekend of racing in Seattle.

A penguin is the fitting mascot for these 1000-meter all-weather rowing races for all skill levels and ages. Canceled in 2020, we are delighted to be able to offer the regatta once again in 2021. Although COVID-19 precautions will limit some of our usual regatta elements, we are grateful to be back on the water at Green Lake and are looking forward to hosting a day of fantastic sprints. Welcome back to Green Lake, where we pull hard, go fast, and have fun!

Location and Venue

Green Lake is a freshwater glacial lake in the northern part of Seattle, so named for its color which is influenced by algae blooms. The Duwamish (indigenous people of the land presently called Seattle) name for the lake was dxWTLusH, a Lushootseed word of unknown meaning. Green Lake is one of the most protected bodies of water in the Seattle area, allowing for rowing at times when clubs on the big lakes are closed due to wind and bad weather. Its surface area is 259 acres (1.05 km2) and it lies within Green Lake Park, which has a 2.8 mile walking/running path around the lake.

The rowing course is a straight 1000m sprint buoyed course. Crews launch at the southwest corner of the lake at the Green Lake Small Craft Center and row counter-clockwise around the east edge of the lake to reach the start line.

The finish line is directly in front of the spectator area at the Small Craft Center. Best viewing spots are along the shore to the north of the Small Craft Center and in the Aqua Theater stands. Races can be viewed from start to finish. Launching and landing are from rowing docks.

Facilities include restrooms and port-a-potties. There is minimal parking available near the staging area and start line, with priority going to trailers and other official crew vehicles. More parking can be found within a short walking distance at the sports fields across the street and in the surrounding neighborhoods. DO NOT PARK ON W GREEN LAKE WAY N. You will be ticketed and possibly towed if you park along the road. It happens every year – don’t let it happen to you.

New in 2021 is a reconfiguration of the street to include a two-way bike path on the lake side of W Green Lake Way N. In the time since the last Frostbite Regatta in 2019, a two-way bike path was constructed around the entire lake, so things in the neighborhood may look a little different than the last time you came to Green Lake. Please be mindful of bikes in the path when you enter and exit the parking lots. Green painted pavement indicates areas where car and bike traffic may intersect, and you should be watchful for bikes in those areas.

Although there is no food right at the regatta location, there are coffee shops and restaurants within comfortable walking distance in the nearby neighborhoods.

Race Course

Green Lake uses a buoyed 1000-meter race course, with a counter-clockwise warmup path around the east side of the lake to the start line. You can download a PDF of the race course at the link below the map.

A map of Green Lake showing the race course. The start line is located at the north end of the lake. The finish line is at the south end of the lake. Buoys and lanes are marked on the map.

COVID-19 Changes and Requirements

In order to avoid triggering City and County mandates which require proof of vaccination or a negative test for outdoor events of more than 500 participants, our plan is to keep the total number of event participants in the park area around the regatta under 500 at any one time. When not required to be near the Small Craft Center, please take advantage of the rest of the large surrounding park and the many restaurants and coffee shops in walking distance of the lake. We are discouraging spectators at this year’s regatta, however, we are located in a public park and the trail area is open to all, so we are not going to attempt to police spectator activity. Please consider wearing a mask if you are attending as a spectator.

All participants, including coaches, support staff, volunteers, officials, etc. must be masked at all times in the restricted area around the apron, boathouse, office, and docks, except for while drinking water or other beverages. No food is permitted in the restricted area. Athletes may remove their masks once on the water. We ask that your crews manage their time in the restricted race area efficiently and avoid having large groups congregating outside the restricted area in situations where masking is not possible (while eating, for example).

The Green Lake Small Craft Center office will be closed to all except staff, regatta officials, Green Lake coaches, and certain event volunteers. As usual at our regattas, all race management activities will take place outside in tents. These include:

Volunteer Tent
Regatta Management
Award Distribution

There will be no vendors at this year’s event, including the usual coffee cart and t-shirt vendor. We are working on the possibility of pre-order merchandise sales and will update if that comes together.

We are grateful to be hosting a regatta at all this year after two years away, so let’s work together to make it a safe and fun event!

Directions and Parking

We are located at 5900 W Green Lake Way N

New! Just opened on October 2nd, there is a Link Light Rail station at on 12th Ave NE between NE 65th and NE 67th streets, a 36-minute walk from the Green Lake Small Craft Center

For bus access, we recommend using the King County Trip Planner, located here: https://tripplanner.kingcounty.gov/#/app/tripplanning

From I-5 (north or south)

Take exit #169, 45th/50th Street exits. You want 50th St.
Turn West on 50th St.
Stay on 50th to Stone Way/Green Lake Way.
Turn right on Green Lake Way and go 1/4 mile
Turn left onto W Green Lake Way N
The facility is 1/4 mile up on the right, next to the historic Aqua Theater.

From Highway 99 Northbound

Take the exit at Green Lake Way North.
Proceed through the intersection at Green Lake Way N and N 50th St. onto Green Lake Way N.
Turn left onto W Green Lake Way N just after the sports fields.
The facility is 1/4 mile up on the right, next to the historic Aqua Theater.

From Highway 99 Southbound

Exit with a slight right turn at N 66th St.
Take a sharp left onto Woodland Place N
Continue on to N 63rd St.
Turn right onto W Green Lake Way N
The facility is 1/4 mile up on the left, next to the historic Aqua Theater.

Trailer parking is in the two parking lots on the WEST side of W Green Lake Way N (across the street from the lake). 

There is minimal additional parking available in the lot directly behind the boathouse/Aqua Theater. More parking can be found within a short walking distance at the sports fields across the street and in the surrounding neighborhoods. DO NOT PARK ON W GREEN LAKE WAY N. You will be ticketed and possibly towed at your expense if you park along the road. It happens every year – don’t let it happen to you.