Birkie Seeks Birkebeiner Warriors, Inga & Prince Haakon

American BirkebeinerNovember 6, 2015

Birkie Contest

Re-enact historic ski of the original “Birkebeiners” at this year’s Birkie!

(Press Release)

HAYWARD, Wis. – Each February more than 10,000 cross-country skiers gather in Cable and Hayward, Wisconsin to take part in North America’s largest and greatest ski race, the American Birkebeiner. In homage to the races roots, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) seeks a trio of cross country skiers to represent two Birkebeiner warriors and Inga, mother of Prince Haakon, in the 43rd American Birkebeiner Ski Marathon slated for February 20, 2016.

In 1206, Norway was in the midst of a civil war when Birkebeiner skiers, so called for their protective birch bark leggings, skied through the treacherous mountains and rugged forests of Norway, smuggling Prince Haakon, the son of King Sverresson and Inga of Vartieg, to safety. Norwegian history credits the Birkebeiners’ bravery with preserving the life of the boy who later became Norway’s King Haakon Haakonsson IV and forever changed northern European history by his reign. This historic rescue inspired the creation of three ski marathons: The Birkebeinerrennet in Lillehammer, Norway; the American Birkebeiner “Birkie” from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin; and the Canadian Birkebeiner, in Alberta, Canada.

Each year, the American Birkebeiner selects a trio to portray Inga and Birkebeiner warriors, Torstein and Skervald. The trio reenacts the historic flight on wooden skis and in full costume along the entire 55K classic cross-country race course. It is a true celebration of the roots, legacy and traditions of the race.

“The re-enactment has become a great tradition that our skiers, volunteers, and spectators look forward to every year,” said Ben Popp, ABSF Executive Director. “It is an honor to be selected to portray Inga and the warriors and it’s a great way to experience the ultimate in Birkie Fever!”

Skiers interested in this amazing experience are encouraged to register with the Birkie no later than November 30, 2015. Winners will be selected by former Inga and warrior participants. Details and registration information is available at

Considered an iconic world-class sporting event, for over 40-years the Birkie has helped shape the lives of tens of thousands of participants from elite athletes to recreational citizen skiers. To date, over 250,000 skiers have finished Birkie ski events. Nearly 45,000 spectators and skiers gather each February in the Cable and Hayward, Wisconsin areas for the Nordic sports festivities and in celebration of the courage, perseverance, character and determination of the Birkebeiner warriors, the “Birkies.”

Slumberland American Birkebeiner Inga & Birkebeiner Warriors Contest Details

  • This historic re-enactment requires skiing the Birkie Classic 55K on wooden skis, and wearing the historic costumes provided by the ABSF.
  • Each skier must supply his or her own wooden skis.
  • Inga will ski either the 55-kilometer Classic Birkie or 24-kilometer Kortelopet then be reunited with the Warriors just before skiing the final two blocks up Main Street to the finish.
  • The Warriors & Inga group will serve as “ambassadors on the trail,” encouraging both skiers and volunteers along the course route.
  • The warriors will carry a baby doll along the course until Main Street where they will pick up a real infant “Prince” before skiing the last two blocks with Inga to the finish line.
  • Entrants need not provide a young child to portray the baby Prince Haakon
  • The group will also make appearances at other events during Birkie race week, February 17-21.
  • All three skiers – two warriors and Inga – must sign up as a group rather than individual skiers.
  • Entries must first demonstrate their skiing ability, then their passion, sense of tradition, and why skiing in these roles would be of importance to the entrant.
  • Each contest winner will receive a free 2015 Slumberland American Birkebeiner or Kortelopet race entry.
  • The contest application deadline for the 2016 Warriors & Inga contest will close at 11:59 p.m., November 30, 2015.
  • Details and registration available at:
  • Questions? Email or call 715-634-5025.

American Birkebeiner

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