The 40th American Birkebeiner is on tap Saturday with an expected record field of more than 13-thousand skiers They’ll make the 50-kilometer trek from Cable to Hayward.
It’s not just a local thing either. Elite racers and citizen athletes from 21 countries and 48 states will take part.
The participants will be in for a treat this year. Conditions have not been very good the past two years, but officials say with recent snows up north, course conditions are near perfect.
The Birkie is the largest Nordic ski race in North America and the fourth largest in the world. It’s 13,000+ participants will compete in the 30-kilometer Birkebeiner, the 23K Kortelopet and the 12K Prince Haakon.
In addition to the participants, Birkie officials expect more than 15,000 spectators. More than 2,000 volunteers will provide support on the course.
The total purse in the skate race is $39,000, with $7,500 for the top male and female skiers.
Appleton’s Mary Love, who works with Woodward Radio, is about to ski in her 4th Birkie. Following are comments from Mary on the Birkie.
AUDIO: Love on skiing in her 4th Birkie :20
AUDIO: Love says skiing the Birkie takes tremendous dedication :24
AUDIO: Love says this race helps her embrace winter :22