abc
QUICK LINKS:

Birkie Forecast: More Snow and More Cowbell

Updated: 02/20/2014 6:11 PM
Created: 02/20/2014 4:29 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

The Northland slowed to a crawl Thursday as a snowstorm pounded the region, but the fresh powder only helped usher in the American Birkebeiner in Hayward.

There was a calm before the storm set to drop nine inches of snow in Hayward. Birkie organizers said that would cause some challenges, but the biggest show on cross-country skis will go on.

More cowbell and more snow were in the forecast for the Birkie, and Executive Director Ben Popp said Mother Nature can do her worst.

“The trail staff will be out in five big piston grooming machines pretty much grooming non-stop, including plowing a lot of the snow off the trail if we do get above a foot just to get down to the hard base,” Popp said.

He said that trail groomers will work 40 to 50 hours this weekend to keep the skiers on track.

"The harder we can make the surface the better it is. It's not so important for the first 200, the elite skiers, but for skiers 5,000; 8,000; 10,000 if we don't make it very firm it gets very difficult for them. So well do everything we can to get it ready for everybody no matter whether your skier number one or skier 10,000," Popp said.

But he said the fresh snow is a beloved burden. Rain and lack of snow has canceled marathons recently in Europe so international skiers were loving the winter wonderland.

“They've been coming into the race office and said, 'Hey, we'll take as much snow as we can get. We love it.' So I guess sometimes beggars can't be choosers. We're happy to see it,” Popp said.

He said thousands have already arrived, but more regional racers would have to trudge through the storm on Friday.

“Certainly the roads are going to be slick. There's going to be big drifts, of course, so travel is going to be tough,” Popp said.

He suggested that everyone leave early and drive safely. Snow can slow the Birkie, but the racers will sake on through the storm.

Popp said races like the Junior Birkie should go on as scheduled Friday morning.

Front Page

  • Car Show Kicks Off Spirit Valley Days

    Spirit Valley Days is celebrating 35 years of appreciating the West Duluth neighborhood this year.

  • Alzheimer's Association Expands in Duluth

    The Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the Alzheimer's Association has a new, bigger location in Duluth. With growing numbers of people getting diagnosed, the association said they needed more space to do their job.

  • Duluth Man Arrested in Death of Baby Daughter

    Duluth police officers have arrested a man in the death of his 14-month-old daughter. 29-year-old Christopher Dennis Peterson has been charged with unintentional second-degree murder.
     

  • Pediatrician Accused of Assault Gives up License

    Dr. David Van De Loo, a Eau Claire pediatrician accused of sexual contact with 15 juvenile male patients, has agreed to surrender his medical license so that the remaining counts will be dismissed. Van De Loo has already been acquitted of the majority of his sexual assault charges.

  • Thomas the Tank Engine Visits Duluth

    Thomas the Tank Engine rolled into Duluth on Wednesday. The popular children's train is in town for two weekends, August 1-3 and 8-10. Tickets are available online for $19 each.

 
Advertisement