Hayward, WI (February 25, 2017) – The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation’s BirkieFest 2017 brought over 10,000 skiers and spectators to the American Birkebeiner Trailhead and new start area near Cable, WI. Skiers from around the world and across the country took to the Birkie Trail for a quick ski on the 5K loop painstakingly saved and crafted by the Birkie Trail Crew for the event.
The American Birkebeiner is North America’s largest cross-country ski race which normally runs from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin, finishing on the snow-covered Main Street of Hayward. However, after days of unseasonable weather, rain, and snow storms that missed the Hayward and Cable areas, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation was regretfully forced to cancel the 44th Annual Slumberland American Birkebeiner, Kortelopet, and Prince Haakon cross-country ski races.
“Of course, we were really disappointed that we weren’t able to host a ski race, but if there is a silver lining, BirkieFest is certainly it. Over 10,000 skiers and their family and friends enjoyed the day skiing, eating, listening to great music and having a great time in the north woods,” said Ben Popp, American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation Executive Director. “I’m really proud of our Birkie team, the Nordic community, and the Cable, Seeley, and Hayward communities – it was certainly an all hands on deck effort! We consider this the first day of training for Birkie 2018!”
Skiers spent the day skiing a 5K loop on the Birkie Trail crafted from snow caches stored in the woods along the trail system. Festival goers enjoyed live music, a beer garden serving Birkie Brew-Ski crafted by Lucette Brewing Company, Birkie Brats by Louis Finer Meats, Norwegian waffles, shopping in the Birkie Store, on-snow ski and fat bike demos, biathlon demos, and more. Skiers and spectators were bused to the brand new American Birkebeiner Trailhead for the day of Nordic fun.
“This past week was a great learning experience, it taught us things that will make us even more successful in the future,” said Chris Campbell, Birkie Trail Manager. “We learned so much about snow management. We’ve never needed a snow cache on the north end of the trail and we used every snowflake we could muster for our 5K course today. It was certainly worth it.”
The 45th Annual Slumberland American Birkebeiner week of events is slated for February 22-25, 2018 with registration opening on May 1, 2018. The ABSF is hosting the Fat Bike Birkie, the world’s largest fat bike race on March 11, 2017 at the American Birkebeiner Trailhead near Cable, WI. “The Cable area was pleased to play a part in helping to host the BirkieFest today. Skiers were really happy with all the hard work that the Birkie staff and countless volunteers put into make this event possible,” said James Bolen, Executive Director, Cable Area Chamber of Commerce.