The American Birkibeiner is part of the World Loppet races, promoted as the largest cross country ski race in the the world and truly an accomplishment in organization for an event. This year there were more than 8,000 participants, 5,500 skied the 50km. Groups of about 300-500 skiers were started at 5 minute intervals from Cable WI. The result, I’ve never seen so many broken poles and lost baskets.
The atmosphere is a lot of fun and very festive with the Minnesotan and Wisconsinites all wanting to be Swedes and Norwegians… no shortage of skiers with Viking helmets and crazy costumes.
Race day was -16C when we arrived and warmed quickly in the sunshine to +3C by noon. A nice challenge to find the best wax for the morning. The trails are tracked three skiers wide for the skate and a separate trial for the first 29k for the classic skiers. The trail winds across rolling hills of forest, very picturesque. Sort of reminds me of Duntroon Highlands. Approximately every 7-8km is a check station.
The 50km race ends at Hayward WI where the trail runs the length of Hayward Lake, up a boat launch and straight up Main Street to the finish line with crowds cheering and cow bells to add to the excitment.
I think we should consider a group trip for next year