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 ?
The majority of Birkie skiers have a Slumberland store within 20 miles of their home, with online access, so the geographical connection between the brands is very strong.
We couldn't be happier to have an organization like Slumberland support the ski community and, more broadly, the year-round Birkie lifestyle," says Popp.
A year ago, Birkie was thrown from a car in Aberdeen.
But Birkie pulled through and now lives happily with retired Val and Harry Kinghorn in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.
Birkie, who was just three months old when he was thrown from a moving car, was found dumped in an Aberdeen street by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals in July last year.
Hilary Nelson of the PDSA, which is sponsoring today's final said: "We wish Birkie could have been with us.
For eight years Birkie matched the fishermen regulars word for salty word at a Plymouth pub.
Spanning 51 kilometers from Cable to Hayward, the Birkie is part of the esteemed Worldloppet series of 14 international races, part of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Marathon Cup series of eight races, and part of the American Ski Marathon series of 11 races.
Retired teacher Val, 56, of Ellon, Aberdeenshire, explained: "It would be too sore to see everyone with their pets and us without Birkie.
This will be Ream's 18th Birkie, which has been held in Hayward since 1973 and began in Norway in 1932.
But a few months later I learned the Birkie and the National MS Society were working together.