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  • Birkie still needs $75K to secure permanent start area for the race
    The ABSF says it is $75,000 shy of the $650,000 needed "to fund a permanent start area and year-round trailhead." Given the ongoing financial straits of the Telemark Lodge in Cable, no one should need convincing that the race needs to secure its own future. 
  • A long wait for a long race
    "Thirty-seven years of doing this and this’ll be the first time I miss my start," I told the skier sitting next to me on the bus transporting us to the start of the American Birkebeiner. 
  • Short film about the Arrowhead 135 Ultra to be released online April 1
    A short documentary film about the Arrowhead 135 ultramarathon in northern Minnesota each winter will be available to view online starting April 1. The 30-minute movie by Adventure Minnesota Films is the first of four in a series which will also cover whitewater kayakers, rock climbers and adventure racers in Minnesota. 
  • Throw the flag!
    In general, cross-country skiers are thought of as friendly and civil. But whenever you have 10,000 people turn out for a competitive event like the Birkie, there will always be a few issues. 
  • Birkie Fever for all
    Starting as a secretary of the American Birkebeiner organization in 1986, Shellie Milford rose to assistant director, chief of race and race operations director. But Milford will retire after the 2015 Birkie, leaving huge boots to fill as the chief problem solver, crisis calmer, disaster averter and volunteer recruiter for the race. 
  • Birkie roots run deep
    It’s no wonder that Ben Popp, executive director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, has such a burning passion to get children and families outside and on cross-country skis. He started skiing with his family in Phillips, Wisconsin, not long after he had learned to walk. 
  • Paralympian skiers take flight
    All the other competitors proved their drive, courage and perseverance long before they entered the International Paralympic Committee Nordic Skiing World Championships, that took place on the trails of Telemark Resort near Cable, Wisconsin. 
  • Trading my Birkie for a Korte
    So I called the American Birkebeiner office to switch my registration from the full 54K classic Birkie to the 23K Kortelopet set for February 21. Sigh. 
  • The Outfitter Loppet is groomed as it’s skied
    The snowmobile-riding groomers of the Loppet Trail in northern lower Michigan bogged down in the thigh-deep powder. With 120 skiers expected Sunday for the 31st annual Outfitter Loppet, race director Josh Baker had 25K of powdery snow trail that needed packing. 
  • Birkie officials come south seeking donors

    For decades, skiers from southern Wisconsin have traveled north to the American Birkebeiner. On Thursday, January 8, the Birkie will come south, looking to lure donations for a capital campaign to secure and build a permanent start area near the Telemark Resort.

  • American Birkebeiner aims to buy land, improve trail through capital campaign
    The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation has launched the first capital campaign in the history of the iconic race, and will seek $2.3 million to buy land for a permanent start area, improve the extensive trails and add an outdoor recreation center. 
  • Birkie registration closing
    Registration for the American Birkebeiner ski race and its shorter companion, the Kortelopet, will close at 11:59 p.m. today, Thursday, October 23, with 10,500 skiers in the field for the iconic event on February 21, 2015. 
  • Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities juxtaposes life in Paris and London during the onset of the French Revolution. In contrast, two small northwestern Wisconsin hamlets, Hayward and Cable, serve as anchors to two of my favorite and humbling events, the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival and the American Birkebeiner.  
  • How tough could this be? Only one other sit-skier had completed the Korte, and it took him four hours. For able bodied, fourth-wave skiers like Burke and I, piece of cake, right?? 
  • The first Birkebeiner in 1973 was a pretty simple affair compared to the complex modern version. A few dozen skiers drove to the start at the Lumberjack Bowl on Lake Hayward, paid the entry fee, rubbed some wax on their skis and then found a place with 34 others on the start line across the frozen ice and snow of the lake.  
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