The mission of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is:

To promote and conduct the finest international cross country ski competition;
To serve as good stewards of the American Birkebeiner Trail;
To support healthy and active lifestyles among people of all ages and abilities.

American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation - Warriors

The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated, as reflected in the Birkie Mission Statement, to hosting one of the world’s best cross country ski events, the American Birkebeiner, maintaining one of the nation’s premier recreation trails, and promoting healthy lifestyles for people of all ages. The American Birkebeiner is made up of several events in addition to the 51K and 55K Birkie marathon races and the 24K Kortelopet race (the second largest ski race in North America).

American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is a membership organization. Memberships are annual for individuals, families and businesses. The Foundation is lead by a 13 member Board of Directors with six permanent and several part time and seasonal staff. The permanent staff includes an Executive Director, Director of Race Operations and an Office Manager.

Our History

birkie_twins_color_largeThe late Tony Wise who looked to his Norwegian heritage and patterned the ski marathon after the Birkebeiner Rennet, which had been held in Norway since 1932, founded the American Birkebeiner in 1973. Both events honor and re-create a historic Norwegian event when in 1206, two warrior soldiers, called “Birkebeiners” because of the birch-bark leggings they wore, skied infant Prince Haakon to safety during the Norwegian civil war. Prince Haakon subsequently became King of Norway, and the Birkebeiner soldiers became a Norwegian symbol of courage, perseverance and character in the face of adversity.

Over the years many thousands of people, both elite and “Citizen Skiers,” have enjoyed the thrill of personal triumph crossing the finish line of the Birkie and earning their prestigious award medallions.

In 1978 Wise formed the Worldloppet League, which now unites the American Birkebeiner with 19 of the world’s most prestigious ski marathons. In the trying days of the Cold War, Wise envisioned the exhilaration of marathon skiing as a conduit to international understanding. Today, skiers from many nations come to America to ski the Birkie. The Tony Wise Legacy Fund seeks to perpetuate his vision by creating an endowment to further the events and programs of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.

The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation was formed in 1985 when Tony Wise lost control of the event in the bankruptcy of his Telemark Resort property and other interests. Since then the ABSF has endeavored to preserve his legacy in the Cable/Hayward area.

Promotion of cross country skiing and protection and maintenance of the American Birkebeiner Trail are two of our primary goals. Each year our Young Skier Fund awards thousands of dollars in grants to youth skiing organizations throughout the region and nation to foster young people making skiing part of their life.

Our Trail Fund was established to raise money to help offset our annual $130,000 trail budget. This money is used to pay for mowing and grooming the trail, repairing erosion, removing fallen trees, and providing signage throughout the year.

Please consider a donation into these funds. All donations to the ABSF are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

The ABSF office is located in downtown Hayward, WI. The Board of Directors is elected to staggered, three- year-terms by Foundation membership at the Annual Meeting held each August.

We invite you to join skiers, the ski industry, and dedicated people in the Cable/Hayward area and the nation in perpetuating these uplifting ski events and the most life affirming sport on snow.

If you would like to stay up to date on the latest information about the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation and its events click here to subscribe to our Carpe-Skiem e-newsletter.

Birkie Staff

Ben PoppBen Popp
Executive Director
T.J. BarnesT.J. Barnes
Grooming
Chris CampbellChris Campbell
Trail Director
Colleen DressenColleen Dressen
Registration/Office Manager
John FitzgeraldJohn Fitzgerald
Grooming
Michael HaagMichael Haag
Grooming
Louise JonesLouise Jones
Birkie Enterprises Retail Manager
Susan KendrickSusan Kendrick
Sponsorship Director
Nancy KnutsonNancy Knutson
Director of Marketing & Communications
Kristy MakiKristy Maki
Sport Development & Operations Manager
Stephanie MartinStephanie Martin
Audun Mikkelson
Foundation / Development
Paul OstrumPaul Ostrum
Grooming & Trail Support
Lisa SchmockLisa Schmock
Finance Director
Allan SerranoAllan Serrano
Director of Race Operations
Jim SokupJim Sokup
Birkie Operations & Sport Development
Derec StraponDerec Strapon
Grooming
Ronda TworekRonda Tworek
Director of Volunteer & Participant Services
Gary WrightGary Wright
Grooming

Board of Directors

Tom Duffy
Representative, Sawyer County Board of Directors
2017
1476312_10201226404918060_1082544493_nBrett Rondeau
Representative, Bayfield County Board of Director
2017

Committees

Foundation Committees

Competition

Finance

Skier Development

Trails and Facilities

Documentation

ABSF Bylaws

The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 membership-based organization that is governed by non-profit foundation bylaws.

A.B.S.F. Bylaws »

A.B.S.F. Procedures Manual »

Meeting Notices

Board of Directors:

Meetings are held the 3rd Monday of each month at the Birkie offices (10527 Main St, Hayward WI), at 3:00PM (normally, no meetings are held February, June or November).  See next section for special information regarding the Annual Meeting.

Finance Committee:

Meets on the Thursday prior to the date of the full board meeting at 8am at the Birkie office.

Annual Report

ABSF Annual Report – 2015-2016
ABSF Annual Report – 2014-2015

Annual Meeting and Board of Directors Elections

Board Term Length

Each member serves three (3) years each. The board is comprised of 13 members, with one-third elected annually.

The term of service for each of the following board members continues through the year listed for each:

  1. Paul Eckerline (2018) – President
  2. Dennis Kruse (2017) – Vice President
  3. Joe Timmerman (2019) – Treasurer
  4. Charlie Dee (2019) – Secretary
  5. Jeff Tumbleson (2019)
  6. Tom Duffy – Representative, Sawyer County Board of Directors (2017)
  7. John Garrett (2017)
  8. Jan Guenther (2018)
  9. Yuriy Gusev (2018)
  10. John Kotar (2017)
  11. Mike Mandli (2017)
  12. Brett Rondeau – Representative, Bayfield County Board of Directors (2017)
  13. Sue Scheer (2018)

Join the Birkie Foundation

The ABSF Board and staff offers a sincere thank you to all Foundation Members.  Being a member of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is the perfect way to contribute to the organization and race that means so much to you!  Your ABSF membership contribution helps us achieve our mission of maintaining the Birkie Trail System, hosting world class events, and promoting healthy and active lifestyles for people of all abilities.  You are supporting the largest cross-country ski marathon in North America as well as a variety of other activities and programs for adults and children throughout the year.  Your membership is an investment in one of the most scenic and beautiful recreational forest trails in the USA.  Spread Birkie Fever!

Interested in joining the Birkie Foundation? Learn more about ABSF Membership by visiting our Membership Page or click the button below!

Become a Member of the ABSF Now!