HAYWARD, WI, January 20, 2014 – The 5th annual BirkieTour on Saturday, January 18, was a huge hit at its new start and finish location, the Birkie’s newest trailhead, Birkie Ridge. Located on hwy 63 just two miles north of Seeley, WI (and the intersection of hwy 63 and hwy “OO”), Nordic Ridge provided the perfect setting to host the 663 skiers who registered for this year’s BirkieTour, co-presented by the Cabin Stop of Hayward and Brent Carlson, MD. An untimed “open-field” cross country ski event, the BirkieTour attracted Birkie skiers, many people new to skiing, and many first-timers to the Birkie Trail itself. Even this year’s Birkie 2014 Warriors and Inga were there. After weeks of deep freeze throughout the region, the milder temperatures plus bright, sunny skies made for a great day. See photos on Birkie Facebook.
Skiers congregated at the Birkie Ridge trailhead where they could both park and enjoy the amenties in the giant, heated tent. The tent was situated so that skiers could enter the tent at one end, get themselves and their gear together, then head out the other end and right onto the Nordic Ridge trail, a 2.5K connector trail to the main Birkie Skate Trail just south of Fire Tower Hill.
Skiers took off between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m.–at their leisure because the event is untimed–skiing alone and with family and friends. It was a chilly start at 3 degrees, but with the sun beating down, clear blue skies, and a high of 20 degrees, it turned out to be perfect conditions for a tour of the Birkie Trail system.
Skiers could choose a 26 or 43 kilometer loop or any distance. They were fully supported along the trail with aid stations, cozy warming cabins with a fireplace or wood stove, and even a bus that ran from 12:00 noon to 2:15 for those who were ready for a ride back to the tent at either the 16K (short course) or 34 K (long course). The bus was a good back-up option for many skiers. It meant you could try out a longer distance, see more of the Birkie Trail, and then be able to stop when you were ready or simply make it back to the finish for lunch, which was served from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Waiting for skiers back at the tent was the a big chili feed, craft beers, and wine tasting provided by co-presenting sponsor the Cabin Stop of Hayward. Everything was included in their registration.
The BirkieTour attracts all kind of skiers who come for many reasons. The event is a great to get in a long ski on a supported course for those getting ready for the American Birkebeiner and Kortelopet races on February 22. It’s also a way for many skiers to try a longer distance for the first time or just check out various sections of the Birkie Trail. All BirkieTour participants received a long-sleeve T-shirt and commemorative 2014 BirkieTour pin.
Skiers came from all over the upper Midwest and this year from as far away as Barcelona, Spain and Japan. The couple from Barcelona and the three skiers from Japan all completed the 43K course for Worldloppet credit.
See Photos of the 2014 BirkieTour!
Go to the Birkie Facebook page
The BirkieTour is Presented by the Cabin Stop of Hayward and Brent Carlson, MD of Chippewa Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Other sponsors include Nordic Ridge, New Moon Ski & Bike, FITS, Hammer Nutrition, and GU Energy.