Organizers of the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race are deep into planning the 32nd annual event scheduled Saturday, February 26, 2005. In addition to the 51 kilometer Subaru American Birkebeiner and 23 kilometer Johnson Bank Kortelopet ski races, a new event, the 12K Prince Haakon 12 kilometer race sponsored by Johnson Bank, has been added to the three-day event.
The American Birkebeiner is North America's largest and most prestigious cross-country ski marathon. Spanning 51 kilometers from Cable to Hayward, the Birkie is part of the esteemed Worldloppet series of 14 international races, part of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Marathon Cup series of eight races, and part of the American Ski Marathon series of 11 races.
Birkie 2005 festivities begin on Thursday, February 24 and continue through Saturday, February 26. Ski events kick off with the Sons of Norway/Swiss Miss Barnebirkie, the largest children's cross-country skiing event in the nation, followed by the Salomon Elite Sprints, Century Tel Junior Birkie, Hayward Chamber of Commerce Citizen Sprints, Cheqtel Communications 10K, the Johnson Bank Prince Haakon 12K, and the 51KÂ Subaru American Birkebeiner and 23KÂ Johnson Bank Kortelopet.
“We are excited about the addition of the Prince Haakon 12K race to Birkie festivities,” said Shirley Riedmann, Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF). “The Board of Directors decided to cap the race at 200 participant so that we have a baseline from which we can order bibs, finisher pins, arrange for adequate busing, gate keeping, etc. The cap will help us blend in the 12K skiers with minimal disruption to the flow of the traditional Birkie skiers who are traversing the last leg of their competitive ski.”
The Prince Haakon 12K will start at 1:30 p.m. at Mosquito Brook and finish on Main Street in Hayward. The 12K is an open-track, non-competitive event. There will be no awards or publication of official results in the Birch Scroll.
Reidmann said the Birkie will provide a ranked list of finishers to each of the 12K participants shortly after the race.
“Each participant crossing the Birkie finish line will receive a generic finisher pin to recognize their achievement in completing the race,” she said. “Skiers can find the Prince Haakon 12K registration information online at birkie.com or contact the Birkie office at 715-634-5025 for more information. We expect the event to be a big draw and a huge success. Based on 2005 participation results, we will plan accordingly for 2006.â€
Riedmann encouraged those planning to ski the Prince Haakon 12K to get their entries in soon.
The 32nd American Birkebeiner is expected to attract 6,500 adult skiers, including Olympians, 1,000 children, and more than 15,000 spectators.
Source: American Birkebeiner Press Release