Jessie Diggins, renowned for her remarkable accomplishments in cross-country skiing, holds a special connection to the Slumberland American Birkebeiner. Since childhood, she has been attending Birkie Week events, forging lasting memories amidst the snowy trails. Her journey has come full circle as she prepares to compete for the first time in the historic 50th Anniversary Slumberland American Birkebeiner, marking her own milestone in this cherished event’s history.
Diggins’ affinity for the Birkie includes her triumphant wins in the Kortelopet – a 29-kilometer race held during Birkie Week – not once, but twice, in 2008 and 2009. Her early successes exemplify her dedication to the sport and her long-standing relationship with the event.
Speaking at the capital campaign kickoff event, via videoconferencing software, Diggins shared her sentiments, saying, “Growing up in Minnesota every winter my family would look forward to Birkie weekend as a winter highlight where we could challenge ourselves and enjoy an exciting day of racing. I’ve always wanted to race the American Birkebeiner, and this year presents a unique window of opportunity that I’m very excited about embracing in between World Cup events! I’m very excited to be part of the 50th anniversary of such an iconic and exciting event, and to join the awesome ski community in this race.”
The kickoff event not only marked Diggins’ participation but also signaled the commencement of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation’s $10 million capital campaign for the reinvention of Mt. Telemark Village, an integral hub for cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and outdoor activities. The campaign is off to a great start, with over $5.2 Million already committed.
Adding to the excitement of Birkie Week Events, several other World Cup athletes are expected to join the race field with Jessie Diggins at the 50th Anniversary Slumberland American Birkebeiner. Following their participation in a World Cup event in Minneapolis, Minn. the prior weekend, several World Cup athletes are expected to stay in the U.S. for the opportunity to compete in the largest cross country ski event in North America. Athlete names will be released on social media as they are confirmed (@americanbirkebeiner). Participants racing alongside World Cup athletes can expect the largest spectator crowds of any cross country ski race in the United States and likely in the history of the American Birkebeiner.
Ben Popp, executive director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, expressed his gratitude and excitement, saying, “Jessie Diggins embodies the spirit of the American Birkebeiner, and her decision to announce her participation during our kickoff event brings both historical significance and an exciting energy to our 50th anniversary celebration.”
The 50th Annual Slumberland American Birkebeiner is scheduled for February 24, 2024, in Cable, Wis., promising a momentous celebration of cross-country skiing excellence, camaraderie, and perseverance. With Jessie Diggins’ participation and the anticipated presence of World Cup athletes, the event’s legacy is further enriched, as it continues to inspire athletes of all levels.
Birkie Week includes a multitude of cross country ski events for participants of all skill levels and ages that take place February 21-25, 2024, culminating with the Slumberland American Birkebeiner. For more information, including registration details and the event schedule, please visit www.birkie.com/birkieweek.
For inquiries related to the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation’s capital campaign for Mt. Telemark Village, please contact Ben Popp at (715) 634-5025.