American Birkebeiner


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American Birkebeiner

Last weekend in February
The Birkie started in 1973 as a 55-kilometer cross-country ski race from Hayward, Wis., to Telemark Resort in the neighboring town of Cable, with only 35 skiers competing. Now it is the largest and most prestigious cross-country ski race in North America, an event that attracts top cross-country skiers from all over the world. In addition to the 55-kilometer Birkie, there is also the Kortelopet or "short race" of 23 kilometers, which is open to competitors ages 13 and up. Other races held during the three-day festival include the Barnebirkie (for children) and the 10K Family Fun Ski.
The American Birkebeiner is part of the Worldloppet, an international series of 12 marathon races held in Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Austria, Finland, Italy, Canada, Australia, and the United States.
The American race was patterned after the Birkebeiner Rennet in Lillehammer, Norway. During the 13th century, a foreign invader was about to capture Norway's infant prince and heir to the throne. He was saved by two Viking warriors—called "Birkebeiners" for the birch-bark leggings they wore. These men took the child and skied 55 kilometers to safety. The baby eventually became the great Norwegian king, Haakon Haakonsson.
See also Vasaloppet
CONTACTS:
American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation
10527 Main St.
P.O. Box 911
Hayward, WI 54843
800-872-2753 or 715-634-5025; fax: 715-634-5663
www.birkie.com
SOURCES:
GdUSFest-1984, p. 210
References in periodicals archive ?
Slumberland participated in sponsoring the creation of the Birkie's Classic ski race, a major development in the American Birkebeiner race series.
With about 8,000 entrants, the American Birkebeiner had the largest field of any race in which Reznick has competed.
22 /PRNewswire/ -- The temperatures are falling and the excitement is rising for 9,000 skiers, 2,000 volunteers, 15,000 spectators and the organizers of the 32nd annual American Birkebeiner cross- country ski race.
The 2005 Subaru American Birkebeiner festivities begin Thursday, February 24 and culminate with the race, also known as the Birkie, on Saturday, February 26.
The origin of the American Birkebeiner dates back to 1973, when 53 hearty skiers traveled 52 kilometers from Hayward, Wisconsin to Telemark Resort in neighboring Cable.
For more information or to register for the 2005 Subaru American Birkebeiner call 715-634-5025, e-mail birkie@birkie.

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