Two new Birkie sponsors bring their focus on public lands
to support the American Birkebeiner Trail
Hayward, Wis. (April 28, 2020) —Two new sponsors of the American Birkebeiner® Ski Foundation (ABSF)—Fat Tire Amber Ale from New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, CO, and GORE Wear, headquartered in Newark, DE—are going above and beyond their sponsorship of the ABSF to support the iconic American Birkebeiner Trail. This effort is part of their respective commitments to public lands. The two companies started raising funds at the 2020 Birkie ski race week of events through the Birkie’s new “Year of the Trail” endowment fund.
“As first-time sponsors of the Birkie, our GORE Wear Team felt truly welcomed and supported by the Birkie community,” said Carlie Mock, U.S. Marketing / GORE® Wear. “We were honored to provide mutual support for the foundation for it to continue providing access and great service to the trails so that people can continue to recreate in a welcoming space.”
GORE Wear used its retail and hospitality space at the two-day Birkie Expo to introduce its GORE® Wear XC Ski collection to American skiers. The new line extends GORE Wear’s portfolio beyond its widely known and award-winning bike and running wear for the first time. The GORE Wear Team also warmed up the crowd by serving cocoa and “Birkie Brew” coffee from Hayward Coffee Co., donating 100 percent of sales for a total donation of $1,700 to the American Birkebeiner Trail.
Derek O’Keefe, Brand Activation Manager for Fat Tire and New Belgium Brewing, said that “Beer just tastes better after a day spent enjoying the outdoors. Working to protect our shared open spaces has been a part of Fat Tire’s purpose since Day 1 and we are honored to play a role in the stewardship of the Birkie Trail.”
As part of its sponsorship agreement, Fat Tire is Presenting Sponsor of the Birkie Trail. O’Keefe created relationships with Hayward-area restaurants and bars to make its Fat Tire beer available for sale during Birkie Week. Fat Tire donated $1.00 per beer sold through its “Pints for Public Lands” initiative for a total donation of $3,216. Participating Hayward businesses included: Anglers Bar & Grill, Coop’s Pizza Parloure, Flat Creek Lodge, The Sawmill Saloon, The Steakhouse & Lodge, The Whistle Punk, and TNT Sports Bar & Grill.
Long-time Birkie participants Richard Pierce and Sandy Lampman generously donated $25,000 to fund and seed the Pierce & Lampman Trail Fund in support of the American Birkebeiner Trail.
According to Ben Popp, executive director of the ABSF, “One of the core pillars of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation’s mission is to act as good stewards of the iconic American Birkebeiner Trail. It’s at the heart of all Birkie events and provides a way to live an active, outdoor lifestyle year-round. We are grateful to both Fat Tire and GORE Wear for joining us in this mission and excited that they are now part of the Birkie experience.”
The Birkie Trail is 99 percent of public land in both Bayfield County and Sawyer County, Wisconsin. The ABSF has legal agreements with each county to maintain the trail and to take on the costs of doing so.
Last year alone, the Birkie spent an estimated 1600 hours grooming and maintaining the Birkie Trail system. While annual maintenance costs can vary depending on the weather, last year the ABSF spent $391,000 to maintain this amazing recreational resource. Annual maintenance costs include brushing, mowing, erosion control, clearing rocks, lighting, signage, and plowing, plus the equipment and tools required to maintain the Birkie Trail system.
The “Year of the Trail” provides an opportunity for all Birkie enthusiasts to ensure the future of the Birkie Trail by supporting the Pierce & Lampman Trail Fund. Managed by the Foundation for the Endowment of the American Birkebeiner (FEAB), the income from this fund will support year-round Birkie Trail development and maintenance for years to come. Learn more about “Year of the Trail.