Open Track Returns to Birkie Week Lineup
Hayward, WI (May 3, 2022) – The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) opened registration for the 2023 Slumberland American Birkebeiner, Kortelopet, Prince Haakon, and Open Track events on Monday, May 2, 2022. After a strong return to in-person events in 2022, the ABSF is excited to continue the tradition of conducting the finest international cross country ski competition. Next year’s race will mark the 49th anniversary of the Slumberland American Birkebeiner.
Kicking off the 2023 events on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, will be the Open Track. Open Track skiers choose their distance at time of registration and will ski identical courses as the traditional American Birkebeiner skate/classic, Kortelopet, or Prince Haakon. “Although this event is small, the feedback we’ve received has been resoundingly positive,” said Event Director Kristy Maki. The Open Track events are non-competitive and capped at 1,000 skiers total. These events contribute to a skier’s overall race count but are not used as a basis for wave placement in traditional Birkie Week races. Skiing on Wednesday allows for a full Saturday Birkie experience, spectating, volunteer or even choosing to ski two American Birkebeiners in one week (only one Birkie event counts per year).
Thursday will be filled with a wide variety of events including the Barkie Birkie, Barnebirkie, Jr. Birkie, and Giant Ski. Registration for these events will open later in the Fall. The Birkie Expo also opens on Thursday for bib pickup and vendor booths. Check out great new skis, boots, poles, wax, gear, clothing, ways to fuel your active outdoor lifestyle, fat bikes, trail running shoes, and more! The Birkie Expo is the place for samples, swag, big discounts, and a chance to connect with organizations that support cross country skiing and the Birkie community.
The first of the week’s competitive events will take place on Friday, February 24, 2023, with the Kortelopet and Prince Haakon races. In 2022 over 3,600 skiers competed in these races. The Kortelopet is a 29-kilometer race that starts at the OO trailhead in Seeley, WI. While shorter in distance, the 14-kilometer Prince Haakon boasts the most vertical feet of climbing per kilometer of any Birkie Week event. Both courses follow the American Birkebeiner trail toward Hayward, across Lake Hayward, and to the finish line on main street. The Kortelopet is a seeded race with waves departing the start line every five minutes. The Prince Haakon is a mass start event, except for U20 skiers who depart first.
Saturday, February 25, 2023 will mark the 49th anniversary of the American Birkebeiner. The 2023 course will feature a 50-kilometer skate course and 55-kilometer classic course. Both courses start at the American Birkebeiner Trailhead in Cable, WI and finish in downtown Hayward, WI. Skiers will depart the start line based on their wave placement and technique every five minutes. The course has seven fully staffed aid stations along the route that provide hydration, nutrition, medical, and tech support.
Visit www.birkie.com for a full list of events and registration information. The ABSF is looking forward to another great year of events and is even starting to plan out to 2024 for the 50th anniversary of the American Birkebeiner. Stay up to date with ABSF projects by following their social media feeds on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.