HAWYARD, Wis., August 2006 The Board of Directors for the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) recently approved the creation of a new cross-country ski trail for classic skiers. Construction of the 9-kilometer trail will begin within the next 10 days. Volunteers David G. Nelson and Jack Moin have already marked the course with geographic positioning system (GPS) technology.
The new trail begins at the Cable Union Airport, parallels the existing Birkie Trail, and merges back into the Birkie Trail at Timber Trail Road in Bayfield County.
This is a win-win for classic and skate skiers, said Executive Director Ned Zuelsdorff. Classic skiers will get better tracks throughout the season and on race day, and skate skiers will experience less congestion and more space.
Zuelsdorff said the new classic trail would be groomed 16 feet wide, with six classic tracks set at the start and narrowing gradually to four tracks after one kilometer.
The course would go over the same elevations, but with more gradual climbs and descents than the existing course, he added. There will be fewer places where classic skiers will have to herring-bone up hills.
Zuelsdorff said the change allows for the addition of another skate lane on the existing Birkie Trail as well as the creation of skater and classic divisions on race day.
This is an exciting addition that will change the future of the American Birkebeiner and Kortelopet ski races, Zuelsdorff said. We think it will entice more skiers and participants.
The ABSF is awaiting DNR approval of the storm water permit for excavation. In the meantime, work will begin to remove trees on the trail.
If this first segment goes well, there is the potential to lengthen the classic trail to Highway OO in Seeley and maybe beyond. The new trail would create three loops, which Zuelsdorff thinks will foster greater trail use throughout the year including trail runs and recreational skiing.
When asked whether the new classic ski trail will be ready for the February 24, 2007 race, Zuelsdorff said, We will have to see how it all comes together this year. The Board of Directors has not yet made a decision as to whether to use it for the 2007 race.
More than 7,000 skiers are expected to register for Birkie 2007. For more information about the North Americas largest cross country ski race, log on to http://www.birkie.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715/634-5025.