On Monday, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) announced via a press release it will be adjusting the race course for Birkie events, set to take place this week in Hayward, Wis., due to “recent above average temperatures, along with continued warm weather conditions and rain forecast for today.”
“After this weekend’s warm weather, Lake Hayward is no longer a viable option for race week,” the press release stated. “As part of a normal race, skiers would ski across Lake Hayward before entering downtown Hayward. Without Lake Hayward, there is no longer a possibility of finishing races in downtown Hayward. Given this decision, the International Bridge that normally spans Highway 63, will not be installed for Birkie week events this year. While snow is in the forecast for later this week, a downtown finish is no longer a feasible option for 2017 events.
“As always, the safety of participants is first and foremost in mind for the entire ABSF staff and board, followed by their goal of creating the best possible participant experience for all,” the release continued. “Both things are weighed and considered with each and every decision the ABSF makes.”
On the whole, the Birkie Trail’s base has remained “quite stable” despite the February thaw. Trails north of the OO halfway point have a four-inch base and south of it “remain mostly intact,” the release stated.
“As of today, the possibility of finishing at Duffy Field in Hayward remains an option for Birkie Week races. That being said, the ABSF is very realistic with contingency planning and are focusing on the increasing likelihood of staging Birkie week events on the trail north of OO.”
The locations of Thursday’s events will be made and announced on Tuesday, and the ABSF planned to wait 24 hours “to see what Mother Nature has in store for Cable and Hayward” before making decisions regarding Friday’s and Saturday’s events. The Kortelopet (half Birkie) is scheduled for Friday and full Birkie on Saturday.