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Feb 21, 2012: Volume 12, Number 46

Birkie Fever Skipost 

Edition 2012



Birkie Fever & English 101

By Justin Easter 




1. A portable case for holding arrows.

2. A case full of arrows.

3. A collection or store; arsenal:

Intransitive verb (one that can not be followed directly by a subject)  

1. To shake with a slight, rapid, tremulous movement

Once upon a time I used the term quiver in reference to the bag full of skis I carried to races. There were skis for warm snow, warm snow with high moisture content, cold snow, very cold snow, cold wet snow, warmish coldish snow, dry snow, warm dry snow, cold dry snow, snow with bark from birch trees, and snow with leaves from an oak tree, in addition to one trusty pair of race skis. I was spoiled with a quiver of skis.

This year I am using the intransitive verb form of the word when I think of Birkie Fever. I quiver at the thought of Bitch Hill. I've skied a few times this winter. In fact, I can count on two hands the number of times I have put on my skis this year.


The truth is, I had great expectations for my return to the trail between Cable and Hayward. I thought of last winter living in Madison, WI and it seemed as if I would have ample opportunities to train for the Birkie. The snow was deep from December until well past March 1st in 2011. In contrast, this year there has been a perpetual feeling of spring. I'm not the only one suffering - I saw some birds trying to nest the other day. They have more to lose from this deceptive winter. This little side note about the birds doesn't do anything for my concern of the pain I'm preparing to experience on Saturday morning. I can only hope the post-race party hasn't started at the Sawmill when I get around to finishing.


Andy Gerlach asked me to write about the Birkie as a feature for the Pre-Birkie SkiPost. I thought about all the antidotal things that I could write, some of the wisdom I might still have tucked away, or even any words of encouragement I could pass along in an article. The truth is, I don't have any of that for the avid skier these days. I've moved away from skiing in the sense that I don't make my living coaching or racing, although I do volunteer my time as a Technical Delegate for a few races.


I can, however, still share some of my experiences from the American Birkebeiner. The first year I ever raced was the first year I was on the Factory Team , this was 2004. Back then it was the Subaru Factory Team and I was fresh out of college. I had raced several 20km races in college, one 30km race at US Nationals, and one 50km (classic) at a frigid classic marathon a few weeks before the Birkie. I'll never forget the days leading up to the Birkie that first time. Dave Sewart, now the Head Coach at University of Denver, looked at me with a very serious look in his eye and said, "This is the hardest 10km you will ever race, and then you have to survive for another 43km." I think I peed a little in my windbriefs that day. Rather than interpret this as a warning to go out slow, I charged like a Spartan Warrior from the line. By Bitch Hill I was a blubbering mess. Seriously, I was crying. I had peed my pants the day before and I was a grown man crying the next day. I should have hated the Birkie! There was not a person on course who felt more self-pity at that moment in time. I even recall spilling honey on my gloves and pole from a Honey Stinger packet at one of our feed stations, and then licking my pole to get some energy to get up little hills.


The following year was 2005, and I was determined to change strategy. There was no way I was going to win this race, but I figured I might be able to reclaim some of my pride from the year before. I started out more conservitively, took feeds often, and remember looking at the scantly-tracked snow on Bitch Hill. At that point I thought to myself, "Wow, I think I might be having a really great race!" That year I managed to finish 8th overall.


The next year was a reminder of the learning experience I seemed to forget in that first attempt. I made a gun-slinging attempt at the lead pack in 2006 only to be humbled again. The last year was a shortened version of the Birkie in 2007. In that campaign, my last year racing until now, I was in the mix for a long time, but had an unfortunate encounter between another skier's ski and my pole. Not to say I was in the mix to win, but I would have reveled in the chance to try. It's all water under the bridge, because I have the stories to tell.


This year I jumped at the chance to help Andy Gerlach again at the expo. I'll sign autographs, but I doubt anyone would want my signature (unless you're going to steal my credit card and try to buy a round of beers - please don't do that). Instead I'll be helping him at the START Wax tent. It will be fun because I'll have a chance to see some old friends and embrace the energy of Birkie Fever in person once again. We can't all win, and it's often hard to set goals for this event with so many factors at play. We can, however, have great experiences, and come back the next year with a story or two. This is why I love the Birkie.


I wish I could say that I'll see you at Telemark, but I guess the Expo is somewhere in Hayward. I hope I toe a line near Telemark Lodge in future editions of the Birkie, but it seems likely there will be some changes there as well. I hate to think some greedy land owner would charge something akin to three year's salary to cross a section of their land (see article here:, but I guess that's a sign of the times. No matter what happens, I still consider The Birkie one of the greatest races I've ever been to, and I hope you stop by and say hello to Andy and me at the Expo. For a long time we have tried to share stories with you, and bring you information that we hope help you enjoy the sport we love so much. Stop by and share your stories with us. We'll see you at the Sawmill, and if you're lucky I'll buy you a pickled turkey gizzard. Oh, that's another story to share, but only after the kids are in bed.

 Justin Easter


skate sequence  

Salomon Birkie Events


 Meet Tad Elliott


Join U.S. Ski Team member Tad Elliott at the Birkie. Tad Elliott has Birkie Fever and returned to the Birkie direct from the World Cup Circuit. Tad, a 3 time National Champion, placed 2nd at the 2010 Birkie


Tad will be leading out the youngsters and handing out posters at the Barnebirkie on Thursday.  On Friday 2-4pm he will then be at the Salomon Expo Booth signing posters and answering questions. Test ride the Salomon Skis, Boots and Bindings that Tad is so successful on at the Salomon Nordic Demo at Telemark Friday


Tad Elliott faceTad Birkie Fever 



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Start Spoil Your Ski and Yourself  

Start's Weekend Racing Wax Recs

to Spoil your Skis and Yourself


American Birkie Wax Rec

Start Blue





Rf Blue 











 Start Blue Gliders & Kickers are the Birkie choice. 

Not too hard and not too soft.

Just right!




Front 1/3 Race Time Temps: 10F-19F

Middle of the Pack Race Time Temps: 14F-23F

Back of the Pack Race Time Temps: 16F-26F

Snow Condition: Old snow base with 1 few inches of new snow groomed in.


GLIDE: Start Blue for snow 10F-20F

It will be a high humidity day with plenty of moisture and dirt. The more Fluor skiers use, the faster the skis will be throughout the entire race. Flouros act as dirt and water repellant that is especially important in a marathon race with several dirty road crossings and old snow mixed in. It only takes one patch of dirt to slow down your skis significantly. The skiers in the back 1/3 will have air temps above this range but the snow will remain colder and with the extra dirt farther back Blue is still ideal. Choose between SG6, FG16, LF07 or HF70 based on your budget and goals. Two layers of Blue with your highest Fluor on top. The more Fluor the faster/easier the skiing. For 100% Start Speed use SF10g or SFR 99 block or Nano N7- 100% Finishing Fluors. These will really make a difference over last of race.  You deserve it!

Blue Gliders
SG6,       FG16~5% Fluor ,  LF07~10% Fluor,  HF70~20% Fluor
100% Speed
100% Start Fluor Speed SF10 & SFR 99 or N7 Nano

KICK: Start Blue

Iron in Base Wax on roughed up kick zone to keep you kick in your kick zone for 22km or 54km. Add 5-8 thin layers of RF Blue. RF Blue has the widest temp range 14F-25F of all our blues and has a lot of Flour for dirt and moisture. Terva Tar Blue (The poor man's Fluor) would be another good option for those that have it but we would recommend the durable Synthetic Blue under it for durability.  

Blue Kickers
Base                            RF Blue                    Syn Blue         Tar Terva Blue

All of these great Start products are available from your local Start dealer and also from the official Start's Birkie Expo Retailer Riverbrook in Hayward, Seeley and at Birkie Expo. 


Download this Wax Rec Here:



Start Birkie Wax Service and Expo Sales

Start Wax Service  


Take the stress out of waxing and have your skis waxed for top speed at Riverbrook. With two Birkie locations they know the Birkie. Spoil your skis and yourself with Start and Riverbrook.  

Start's Riverbrook Birkie Waxing Service click here!


The Birkie Warriors & Inga's wooden skis will be serviced with the Start Tar (& Fluoro-Nano) experts at the Out There shop in Rice Lake, WI.



  Start's Answers to Waxing Questions 

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Share with your Team and Friends

Missoula Nordic Ski Club, 
presents the Lubrecht Loppet
 noon on Sunday, February 26, 2011

Gallatin Glissade
Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Montana
February 25, 20K, 10K, 2K  
Gallatin Alpine Sports 888-325-7463 


33rd Annual Rendezvous  

March 3, 2012

Great Skiing in West Yellowstone!   


The 33rd Annual Rendezvous Race will be held on March 3, 2012

Start off Your Spring Ski Racing with a Bang!  There is still time to sign up for the Yellowstone Rendezvous Race.  Register before February 27th to save on entry.  For more information visit   


and when you are there SkiPost recommends the Holiday Inn 



The 6th Annual Equinox Snow Challenge will be
March 24th and 25th, 2012  
West Yellowstone, MT
6, 12, or 24 hours.

SkiTrax 2011/12 - DON'T MISS an ISSUE - SUBSCRIBE

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MARTY HALL Exclusive Interview - The Man, The Myth in SkiTrax Feb/Mar 2012 issue.  PLUS visit  for the latest news, FIS Fantasy Contests, Kikkan Randall's Daily Training Rap and much more.... DON'T MISS an ISSUE - take advantage of SkiPost's special discount and subscribe today...  


About SkiPost

Cross-Country skiing's community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing see or email us at

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

NNF 2012 Calendar Available Order Here

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The best World Cup images click here


Win a Dinner with Bjorn Daehlie in Norway here! 



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