Skiers Needed to Re-enact Historic Birkebeiner Journey at Birkie 2017

Hayward, Wisconsin (November 7, 2016) – In February 2017, an estimated 13,000 cross-country skiers will gather in Cable and Hayward, Wisconsin to take part in North America’s largest and greatest cross-country ski race, the Slumberland American Birkebeiner. In homage to the race’s roots, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) is seeking a trio of cross-country skiers to portray two Birkebeiner warriors and Inga in the 44th American Birkebeiner Ski Marathon slated for February 25, 2017.

With a nod to the past, the American Birkebeiner selects a trio to portray Birkebeiner warriors, Torstein and Skervald, and Inga, mother of Prince Haakon. The three characters played a pivotal role in Norwegian history when in 1206, in the midst of civil war, the two Birkebeiner warriors, so called for their protective birch bark leggings, skied through the treacherous mountains and rugged forests of Norway smuggling Prince Haakon, the Norwegian King’s son, to safety. Norwegian history credits the Birkebeiners’ bravery with preserving the life of the boy who later became Norway’s King.

The three skiers reenact the historic flight on wooden skis and in full period costume along the entire 55K classic cross-country race course. While on the race course, the trio serves as Birkie Ambassadors, engaging other skiers and spectators along the way. Inga, Torstein, and Skervald finish with a bang as they ski down Hayward’s snowcovered Main Street amidst cheers from spectators and skiers alike. It is a true celebration of the legacy and tradition of the race.

In 2016, Inga, Torstein, and Skervald, all hailed from Duluth, MN. Here is what they had to say about their historic experience.

“Portraying Skervald at the 2016 Birkie was a wonderful way to celebrate this spectacular race, this beautiful sport, and my Norwegian heritage. The warm response and connection with fellow skiers and spectators was far more than I expected. I highly recommend others submit their applications to become warriors and Inga – it’s an unforgettable, joyful experience!”
Steve Long, Duluth, MN (2016 Skervald)

“The energy and enthusiasm I received throughout the weekend was amazing. Standing at the top of the bridge, with the adorable “Baby Haakon” on my back, looking down Main Street with people cheering and toasts being raised, will forever stand hairs up on my arms. It was a magical moment. It was a Birkie like none-other, and truly a way to celebrate the heritage and joy of the Birkie experience.”
Jen Pearson, Duluth, MN (Inga 2016)

“I felt honored to portray Torstein and I loved sharing my enthusiasm for the American Birkebeiner. Skiing up Main Street with the prince, Skervald and Inga, made for a very memorable day. It was an unforgettable experience.”
Bruce Derauf, Duluth, MN (2016 Torstein)

Skiers interested in this amazing experience are encouraged to register with the Birkie no later than November 30, 2016. All details and registration information are available at Interested parties may contact the Birkie office at 715-634-5025, Ext. 2 or

Posted November 7, 2016 at 5:13 pm