Up North: Birkie Skiers Make the Best of Lack of Snow

Chelsie Brown
March 01, 2017 10:26 PM

"This is my third Birkie experience," said Karyl Hoeger of New Brighton, Minnesota. "Two years on the Korelopet, but this year was going to be my first full Birkie," said Hoeger.

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Hoeger was one of many looking forward to skiing more than 30 miles along the American Birkebeiner, but was surprised that Mother Nature didn't bring enough of the white fluffy stuff to put on the full marathon.

"Just driving into Hayward I thought there would at least be some snow in the woods. I'm disappointed that there isn’t the beauty of the snow, but grateful for what the committee has done to make this happen today," said Hoeger.

Organizers instead groomed a 5K loop, in efforts to not entirely cancel a year of preparation for North American's largest cross-country ski race.

"Certainly mid-week there was hope that the big snow storm was going to come and we were going to have a great race, but certainly a little disappointment showed up when the snow-storm didn’t," said Ben Popp the Executive Director of the Birkie.

The team of organizers made sure that Brikie fever was still in full force. For the 10,000 who made the trek to celebrate in the festivities, they say it's more than the race that fulfill their Birkie experience.

"All these people you see right to here," said Mike Reid of Lake Elmo Minnesota when asked what makes his Birkie experience. "It’s amazing," said Reid.

"I think it’s just the inspiration of all the people that come of all ages all over the world and that love Nordic skiing," said Hoeger.

The cancellation of the marathon actually brought a bit of relief to some of the recreational skiers who said they could always participate again next year.

"It was bittersweet," said Reid. "I trained more than I ever have in my life, yet I knew would not have to suffer the pain today."

"I was disappointed, sad, and maybe a little relieved," said Hoeger. "I guess there’s always next year."


Chelsie Brown

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