Spectators cheer on the skiers in the 2022 American Birkebeiner

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It’s the 48th year of North America’s largest cross country ski race. American Birkebeiner 2022 has become the event of the season for the thousand skiers and spectators that visit.

Some spectators that try to come and race every year like Liz Westerhouse and Kelly Schuna.

"I mean the racing is a blast but to actually see the elite level skiers and how hard they work it’s just a whole different energy”, says Liz.

But for new visitors is a whole different ball game. Erin Martin came with her friends for the first time she says, "This is like blowing it out of the water. I feel like everyone’s just like really into it and it’s fun to see a town getting really excited about it."

Many people from across the world and the state came together to enjoy the races. Erin’s friend Rina Henrich says, “In the parking lot we saw a whole bunch of different license plates I even saw one from Florida this morning which is insane.”

While watching the skiers go by many were blown away by the effort the elite races put in to the sport.

Kelly and Liza say, "It’s a lot the gear the outfit. Planning for any kind of weather and any kind of snow condition. You just have to be prepared for all of it."

But the crowd has their job as well. Cheering and ringing their cow bells as the skiers came down Main Street. Kelly says, "When you’re a skier you go so much faster when you hear people cheering for you. There’s just something about that, it gets you through the end and it’s awesome.”

With some very emotional champions and skiers the Birkie continues to be an emotional journey that inspires the inner athlete in us all.

Full list of placements:

Women’s 50-Kilometer skate race
1. Alayna Sonnesyn, Minneapolis, MN, USA 2:22:52
2. Caitlin Patterson, Craftsbury Common, VT, USA 2:22:54
3. Rosie Frankowski, Anchorage, AK, USA 2:23:01

Men’s 50-Kilometer skate race
1. Gerard Agnellet, La clusaz, FR 2:07:24
2. David Norris, North Pole, AK, USA 2:07:24
3. Adam Martin, Craftsbury Common, VT, USA 2:07:26

Women’s 55-Kilometer classic race
1. Delaney FitzPatrick, Minocqua, WI, USA 3:23:39
2. Josie Nelson, Hayward, WI, USA 3:29:05
3. Molly Watkins, Duluth, MN, USA 3:31:49

Men’s 55-Kilometer classic race
1. Leo Hipp, Minneapolis, MN, USA 2:51:57
2. Chris, Burnham, Stowe, VT, USA 2:52:17
3. Evan Wetzel, Waukesha, WI, USA 2:54:21