Ned Zuelsdorff Retires as Executive Director of American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation
(Jan. 24, 2013 press release)
Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, has announced his retirement, effective mid-May 2013. Ned has served as the executive director of the ABSF for the past eight years, starting in 2005. “I have really enjoyed my job with the Birkie, thanks to our staff, volunteers, and our skiers and runners,” said Zuelsdorff.
Sue Scheer, president of the ABSF board of directors said, “during Ned’s tenure as executive director, he has created many new events, expanded and improved the Birkie Trails, and nearly doubled participation in the American Birkebeiner events.”
The American Birkebeiner, Kortelopet, and Prince Haakon events alone have grown from 6,000 skiers, to the record number of 10,000 skiers registered for this year’s 2013 event. New events Zuelsdorff has created include the BirkieTour as well as some of the Birkie’s most popular race week events—the Giant Ski, Barkie Birkie skijor, and Birkie Adaptive Events. Additionally, he changed the format of the Birkie Trail Run & Trek event in September, now in its eleventh year, growing it from 125 participants to more than a 1,200.
All of these events have added to the total number of visitors to the Hayward and Cable area year-round, to participate in these events and enjoy the Birkie Trail and surrounding attractions.
“Clearly, the long-term effects of Ned’s leadership have created a legacy that skiers and spectators alike will continue to enjoy for years to come,” said Scheer. “Ned has also been a champion of the citizen skier, perhaps one of the reasons that increasing numbers of skiers of all ages and abilities continue to sign up as first-time Birkie skiers then come back as returning skiers.”
One of Zuelsdorff’s personal passions has been the Birkie Trail itself. From the beginning of his service as executive director, he has worked to extend, improve, and maintain the Birkie Trail system. He has been instrumental, for example, in the vision for and development of the Birkie Classic Trail.
The board of directors accepted Ned’s resignation at their monthly board meeting on January 21, 2013, “with genuine appreciation and admiration for a job well done.” The board is now in the process of making preparations to secure a new executive director after the 2013 Birkie.
Said Scheer, “The American Birkebeiner is one of the largest and most recognized cross country ski races in the world. We have accomplished great things and look forward to continuing that tradition for years to come. We have a great staff and a fantastic network of volunteers. We also look forward to finding the leadership that can continue to move the Birkie, now celebrating its 40th year, forward into its next decade and beyond. We are grateful to Ned for his vision, leadership, and setting such a high standard for where we can go next.”