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17,000 Birkebeiners Turn Critics as Legendary Norwegian Marathon Canceled Due to Extreme Weather

A photo of the Raufjell taken by Johannes Haukåssveen early Saturday morning and posted to the Birken website.

Almost all of the participants in the Birkebeiner, one of the largest ski marathons in the world, had reached the start in Rena on Saturday when race organizers were forced to cancel the race due to wind gusts that reached 50 miles per hour in the mountains. Since then, the decision has caused nothing but grief as many in Norway are fiercely critical of the cancellation.

Engadin is Anything But Easy: Glørsen, Roponen Win Swiss Marathon; Brooks Fourth

2014 Engadin Ski Marathon (Photo: www.Engadin-SkiMarathon.ch) http://www.liveimageticker.ch/slideshow/?border#_hdskimarathon2014

The 46th annual Engadin Ski Marathon took place this past Sunday. Though the 42-kilometer skate course follows a valley downhill, losing a total of 150 meters (nearly 500 feet), that fact alone did not guarantee an easy race — on the contrary, most top finishers claimed this marathon to be one of their toughest.

Give Me The Blåbärssoppa and Nobody Gets Hurt: An American at the Vasaloppet

The first hill on the Vasaloppet course. 15,800 skiers start at once, and it took me 35 minutes to go three kilometers. Photo: Rauschendorfer/NordicFocus.

I might be a nobody who struggled my way through Sweden’s 90 k Vasaloppet with next to no preparation, but I also saw what it takes to win the Vasa: through the generosity of a friend, I accidentally embedded myself with Team Robin Bryntesson. Here’s the next installment of our first-person staff accounts of famous races.

Adventures in Birkie Land: A First-Timer’s Experience at the American Birkebeiner

Birkie Fever.

This past weekend, nearly the entirety of the adult population of Midwestern skiers made their way to Hayward for the annual get-together of the ski community: The Birkie. The American Birkebeiner (or Birkie, for short), is the biggest ski race in North America. For many skiers, the race represents their culmination of training for the whole year. Read a first-timer’s perspective on the race, the trail, and Birkie Fever.

Tom Reichelt of Germany Nabs First Birkie Victory, Matt Gelso Top American in 7th

Tom Reichert, winner of the 2014 Birkie crosses the finish line.  Photo: American Birkebeiner Foundation

Late in the race as the pace accelerated, Tom Reichelt took the lead as the course began to open up in the wide fields approaching Lake Hayward. Behind him were Bonaldi and Paredi, hanging on and looking for an opportunity to make a move in the final two agonizing kilometers across the lake. “I was waiting for the others to catch me,” he said, “but nobody did. I thought in the sprint I had no chance.”

DeBold Wins SISU Marathon with Ocariz’s Pole, Skillicorn Tops Weber for First Title

Former CXC teammates Santi Ocariz (l) and Doug DeBold racing to a photo finish at the 42 k classic SISU Marathon on Jan. 11 in Ironwood, Mich. DeBold took the win, using a pole Ocariz lent him a minute before the start. (Courtesy photo)

Doug DeBold edged his former CXC teammate Santi Ocariz by the slimmest of margins last Saturday in the 42 k SISU Marathon in Ironwood, Mich. And he couldn’t have done it without the pole Ocariz lent him a minute before the start. Another former CXC skier, Audrey Weber was the women’s runner-up in her second SISU Marathon.

The Paradox Loppet: Argentina’s Marchablanca, Ushuaia Loppet and Worldloppet Candidacy

The start of the 2013 Marchablanca, in front of Centro Invernal Tierra Mayor.

Colorado-based writer Matt Muir, who has spent the better part of the last decade summering in Argentina, studying the life and befriending local skiers, takes an inside look at the future of nordic in the Argentina and its quest for Worldloppet recognition.

Telemark’s Future in Flux, Birkie Looks to Buy Land, CXC Backs Training Center Idea

Telemark Lodge, which closed for supposed spring cleaning earlier this year and never reopened. Newco, LLC., bought the nearly 1,000-acre property at a sheriff's sale in mid-October and does not plan on reopening.

Just over two weeks ago, the sale of Telemark Resort to the highest bidder — somewhat of an unknown entity in the Colorado-based Newco, LLC. — left local stakeholders wary. Would they reopen the historic resort? And what would become of the start of the American Birkebeiner?

Marathon Queen Seraina Boner, with Scandinavian Support, Eyes Unconquered Vasaloppet

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Seraina Boner, a former Swiss national team skier, has transformed herself into the best long-distance skier in the world. Whether training with Team Coop in Norway or jumping in with Dario Cologna in Davos, she’s working towards a Vasaloppet victory – the one big thing that’s missing from her resume.

Wednesday Workout: The Art of Tapering

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In this edition of the Wednesday Workout, we talk about tapering and present some conventional wisdom along with endurance-specific tips. Zach Caldwell explains what some of his professional skiers do to rest up for a big event, and explains why there’s no sure-fire method of peaking.

Birkie Lands Title Sponsor in Swix Sport USA

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Swix Sport USA and the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation came out with some big news for their respective organizations on Tuesday, announcing that Swix signed on as title sponsor for the Birkie’s ski events for two years. Swix Sport USA President and CEO Steve Poulin talks about the significance of the partnership and how it will contribute to Birkie Fever.

Worldloppet Meeting Means Big Things for Smaller Ski Nations, Passport Holders

Worldloppet Secretary General Angelo Corradini from Italy enjoys a dance with a local Ojibwa Chippewa dancer during an Indian Pow Wow at the Worldloppet Annual General Meeting at Lakewoods Lodge near Cable, Wisconsin. (Tom Kelly)

For the first time in 15 years, the Worldloppet Annual General Meeting returned to where it was essentially born in northern Wisconsin. There, an estimated 45 delegates from 16 nations met to invite four more countries to the party, with Argentina, China, Iceland and New Zealand being granted associate status and their own Worldloppet marathons.

Amid the Chaos, Dreissigacker and Burruss Enjoy Engadin Experience

Racing field in the Engadin Ski Marathon, Switzerland

Several U.S. skiers competed in the Engadin 42 k marathon two weekends ago in Switzerland, with Hannah Dreissigacker and Matt Liebsch both finishing in the top 25. Oliver Burruss blew away his top-100 goal in 50th. Burruss and Dreissigacker recall their first Engadin.

Weekly Roundup: A Crystal Globe, NCAAs and More from Sochi

The women's Lahti sprint podium: 1. Kikkan Randall (USA), 2. Marit Bjørgen (NOR), 3. Alena Prochazkova (SVK). Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus.

With only a few weeks left of racing across the nordic sports at each competitive level, the season is beginning to show distinct signs of drawing to a close. Most notably, Kikkan Randall (USA) won her one and only shot at [...]

Canadian Sprinter Dupont Goes the Distance for 11th in 90 k Vasaloppet

Andrea Dupont (CAN) skiing to 49th place in the classic sprint at World Championships.

Andrea Dupont was called up by Canada to race in the sprint at World Championships, and offered a World Cup start the weekend before. But it seemed silly, she thought, to go to Europe for just a few days – and so she managed to gain a start spot in Sweden’s famed Vasaloppet, where she double-poled her way to 11th place.

Weekly Roundup: World Championships, Oslo, Vasaloppet

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The classic races of World Championships took place in Val di Fiemme: interval start, relay, marathon. Biathletes competed in Oslo, Americans held their own in Slavic Cup action, and Swedes (and everyone else) gave it their all in the Vasaloppet. Summaries of the action, along with links to reporting and results.

Weekly Race Roundup: Golden Americans, Historic Bronze for Harvey and NoCo, Another Birkie in the Books

The USST enjoys the moment.

Marit Bjørgen of Norway and Nikita Kriukov of Russia both have two gold medals to their names so far this Championships, and Dario Cologna finally got the title he’s been search for; but Americans made a splash too, in every discipline, with Sarah Hendrickson winning jumping, Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins the team sprint, and the nordic combined team bronze in the team event. Alex Harvey also made history when he took bronze in the classic sprint, the first individual World Champs medal for Canada.

Gregg Picks Winning Lottery Ticket in 2013 Birkie Sweepstakes

Caitlin Gregg (left) edges Estonia's Tatjana Mannima to win the 2013 American Birkebeiner. Photo, Darlene Prois/American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation

The cash from Caitlin Gregg’s Birkie victory on Saturday will help keep her and husband Brian Gregg on sound financial footing as they train for next year’s Olympics in Russia.

In Sprint Finish, Italian Men Sweep American Birkebeiner

Fabio Santus (right, in blue), leads the men's 2013 American Birkebeiner field to the finish line in Hayward, Wisconsin. Santus was second; his teammate Sergio Bonaldi (far left in blue) won the race. Photo, Darlene Prios/American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation

The teamwork and tactics of a group of Italians locked the American men out of the prize money on their home turf, with Sergio Bonaldi leading a sweep of the top four.

Birkie Preview

Brian Gregg greeting his fiance Caitlin Compton as she wins the Birkie. (Photo: David Owen)

The skiers who set the first tracks in what has become North America’s largest ski race basked in the glow of the Birkebeiner torch Thursday, telling stories, wearing knickers and gliding on wooden skis.