Hayward, WI (January 13, 2023) — The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is excited to announce the selection of another set of cross-country skiers portraying the two Birkebeiner Warriors, Torstein and Skervald, and Inga, mother of Prince Haakon for the 49th annual American Birkebeiner Ski Race.
Here in Northern Wisconsin the late Tony Wise founded the American Birkebeiner in 1973 to honor and re-create the historic Norwegian event. Since 2003, participants from all over the United States have been able to reenact this amazing story by dressing up as Inga, Torstein, and Skjervald. The participants ski the full Birkebeiner or Kortelopet in period attire, bringing awareness to where the original “Birkebeiners” came from. (“Birkie” means “birch” in Norwegian and “bein” means “legs”). The journey concludes with Inga, the baby Prince Haakon, Torstein, and Skjervald skiing down Main Street with cheers from the crowd and Birkie skiers alike as they cross the finish line.
On February 25th, 2023, Jackie and Dan DeRoma, Minnetonka, Minn., and Jim DeRoma, Cable, Wis., plan to take on the quest of skiing the famous 53km American Birkebeiner classic route on wooden skis, in full Birkebeiner attire. Jackie and Dan are married and recently had a baby named Clara, who is in training to make an appearance as Prince Haakon as the group finishes on Main Street.
In the application process we ask everyone to state what would make them the best Inga and Warriors. Jackie’s response to that was, “As we start to grow our family with our “Prince Haakon” it’s important to show how we can give back to the ski community that has provided us with so much joy. By representing the Birkie warriors we hope to spread the joy of the Birkie to other participants, volunteers, and spectators that we see on the trail. We hope to instill the values of courage, perseverance, and determination in our children. By representing the warriors, we hope to set a good foundation for the future.”
The three skiers are excited to be apart of the Birkie in a way they can honor the legacy of Inga and the Warriors. Jackie DeRoma said, “Cross-country skiing has always been of great importance in the DeRoma family.” The family has been involved in the sport from the time Dan was five years old and learned to ski. It has now developed into a lifelong family pastime. Spending time up at their cabin in Cable, Wisconsin has meant many winters skiing the Birkie trail and meeting friends out on the course.
Due to their love of cross-country skiing, Jim has skied 25 American Birkebeiners and 11 Worldloppet races. Dan already has 17 American Birkebeiners and four Worldloppet races under his belt. Jackie has also completed three American Birkebeiners and four Worldloppet races.
Birkie Fever is runs strong in the DeRoma family and can be seen by their commitment to volunteer for many of the year-round Birkie events. When they aren’t out on the trail, Jim and his wife Dianne spend their time volunteering for the Birkie year-round when they aren’t out on the trails.
We are excited to welcome Jackie, Dan, Jim, and Clara as the new Inga, Warriors, and Prince Haakon for the 2023 Birkie week of events. We can’t wait to hear all the cow bells and the encouragement from the crowd cheering them across the finish line in February.