October 2008
                                   Volume 5 - Issue 11
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Mark your calendars for the 36th American Birkebeiner
® from Feb. 19-21, 2009!

The 2009 events include the 50K Birkie Skate, Subaru 54K Birkie Classic, and 23K Kortelopet Skate and Classic races.

Birkie 2009 also features shorter races, events and festivities for:

  • men, women, teens and kids
  • families
  • the super fit
  • the super enthusiastic
  • those vowing to get in shape
  • those wanting pure and simple recreation
  • those wanting to meet like-minded fitness buffs
  • those wanting challenge, excitement and fun
  • those wanting to support friends, family and skiers from around the world!

From the Barnebirkie to the Birkebeiner...Take the Challenge, Ski the Adventure, Live the Birkie!

Find out more at
or call us at 715.634.5025. We're eager to hear from you!

American Birkebeiner Trail Run, Relay & Trek

Sept. 26, 2009

The 2009 American Birkebeiner Trail Run includes you choice of:

  • 26.2 mile Marathon Relay
  • Individual 13.1 mile Half Marathon
  • 21K Birkie Trail Trek
  • 5K Fun Run/Wlak

Learn more visit

The Birkie®:
36 Years of Inspiring Skiers
to Live Fit, Healthy Lives!

"Tony Wise asked me to design a good trail system at Telemark. I spent 14 days there and laid out trails similar to the Vasalopet trails in Sweden. Later, Marty Hall added more hills. From the point of view of competitive skiers, it is a very good course."

~ Sven Wiik, Nordic guru, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

"The Birkie has been a factor in my life since the first time I skied the trail in 1976. My philosophy is to do whatever we can do to foster participation in the overall event. I want more people on the snow and enjoying the weekend."

~ Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director, Cable, WI

"On my 63rd Birthday (Feb. 11th) I made my "Birkie Fever" goal to do the race in under four hours. I was running behind my goal for most of the race. While crossing Duffy Road a cheering crowd of younsters gave me an adrenalin boost to kick my stide into overdrive. My finish time was 3:59:59. Thanks kids!

What I appreciate most of all is how the Birkie Staff does not quit after the race. They still have a grooming priority following the race and it makes for many hours and days of great grooming."

~ Carl Kozak, Hayward, WI

Praise for 2008 Events!

"It was like skiing on Heaven's Floor."

"Better than Christmas. I will be skiing the Birkie every year I'm alive on Earth. It's that special. Thanks for another spectacular year."

"To all of the you who make the American Birkebeiner your life. I thank you."

"Every year I marvel at the manner in which details are prepared and the volunteers so willing to help. Great stuff, always a highlight of the year for me."

"I just finished my first Birkie and loved it. You guys are amazing. I'm hooked. I'll be back next year."

"I would like to thank all the organizers and volunteers who provide a fun and motivating experience."

"It is just amazing how each year, something is always improved, since every year I think it is just perfect."

"I have grown to consider the Birkebeiner a lifestyle as opposed to a race, so there's no urge to let it go at the milestone of registering for my 20th race."

"What I appreciate most of all are the Birkie Staff efforts and how they don't quit after the race. They still have a grooming priority and it really makes for many hours and days of great skiing.   Thanks guys."

"I want to compliment the volunteers who staffed the course for their bright moods and helpfulness.  I also want to thank the folks who drove the buses and managed the traffic. Even the snowmobilers who add a little spice to the event.  It seems that every year those things are just the best.   This year you had snow and you used it perfectly."

"One of the most wonderful moments while skiing my first Kortelopet was skiing up the big hill to the amazing rhythm of Anishinabeg drummers and singers.  What an outpouring of power and warmth!  Please extend my thanks to those musicians if you know who they are." 

"As a volunteer, Kortelopet participant and spectator I wanted to thank the entire Birkie staff for a fantastic event. I continue to marvel at how you folks year in and your out conduct such a world class event!  Thank you!"

"My hat goes off to everyone involved in the "Greatest Show on Snow"  Every single volunteer should be proud."
"Congrats you pulled off one of the best Birkies ever!  I've done 28 Birkies and this one was really top notch.  Thanks to all of you who work hard all year to give us a fun day."

"Congrats you pulled off one of the best Birkies ever!  I've done 28 Birkies and this one was really top notch.  Thanks to all of you who work hard all year to give us a fun day."

  Greetings from the Birkie®!

Ned Summer Image 2 Hi Skiers and Friends!

It's been great to be out on the trails this Fall. The colors are at peak and the weather has usually been "friendly and crisp". A very successful Birkie Trail Run, Relay and Trek is behind us (you should have been there if you weren't!) and now we focus on the 2009 Birkie.

Thanks to many generous donors and many hardworking volunteers over the past three Summers, the Birkie Classic Trail project has reached "OO", is completed, and is ready for the 2009 American Birkebeiner. While the Birkie has been a challenge for both skate and classic skiers for years, the new 54K Birkie Classic course promises to provide the test you're looking for whether you're out for a tour or racing!

I just had the chance to talk with many of you at the Twin Cities Marathon Health and Fitness Expo about our plans for the 2009, 36th Anniversary American Birkebeiner. We've been working on these plans since the week after the 2008 event to bring you the best 2009 races we can.

One exciting addition is that it's been confirmed that Norwegian Olympian Bjorn Daehlie will attend and ski the 2009 Birkie (see story below). This will be your chance to share the course with arguably the best cross-country skier in history.

We will keep you informed of 2009 event highlights in the upcoming issues of the Carpe Skiem and in the Pre-race issue of the Birch Scroll that will be coming to you in late November, so stay in touch.

Stay Fit!

Ned Zuelsdorff
Executive Director

  Birkie News®
Ski with Bjorn!

Yes, that Bjorn! It is official, Bjorn Daehlie, the Norwegian cross-country skiing legend of the 90's who won 12 Olympic medals, 8 of them gold, will ski the 2009 Birkie as an Ambassador for Multiple Sclerosis Research. Despite retiring from the Nordic race circuit in 1999, at only 32 years of age, Bjorn Daehlie has always remained close to the Nordic skiing world.

He is proud of almost always ending up "on page 1 of the placement list" as he likes to emphasize, adding that, "it's important for me to stay close to the Nordic skiing world, which gave me the opportunity to be what I am."

The list of his skiing awards is huge: eight Olympic golds, four silvers, six time winner of the World Cup, with 17 medals, nine of which are gold in World Cup competitions.

Bjorn's mother has suffered from MS for several years and raising needed funds for MS Research is important to him. MS will be the sole focus of our 2009 Birkie Skiers for Cures effort. Persons raising the highest amount of donations will have the opportunity to meet, have lunch and ski with Bjorn during Birkie week.

This was all made possible through the efforts of Birchlegger Ian Duncan, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, whose research involves the repair of the nervous system in MS patients. More details will follow in the near future.

Search for Birkebeiner Warriors and Inga

The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is searching for two tough cross country skiers to dress as Birkebeiner warriors and trek 54 kilometers from Cable to Hayward on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009.

In addition to searching for two Birkie warriors, the ABSF is also looking for a skier to depict Inga, the mother of the baby Prince. Like the Warriors, Inga will wear traditional clothing and ski on wooden skis.

Inga will ski either the 54-kilometer Classic Birkie or 23-kilometer Kortelopet before meeting up with the Birkie warriors and baby Prince Haakon at the finish line on Main Street in Hayward.

Inga and the Birkie 2009 warriors will serve as "ambassadors on the trail" encouraging both skiers and volunteers. The warriors will carry a baby doll along the course until Main Street where they'll pick up a real infant "Prince" before skiing the last two blocks with Inga to the finish line.

"We are challenging skiers to find a friend, and tell us in 300 words or less why they would be the best Birkie 2009 warriors, Torstein (TOR-stine) and Skervald (SHER-vol)." said Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director. "Entries must show ability, passion and tradition and demonstrate that the pair is capable of skiing the 54-kilometer trek on wooden skis while wearing the warrior costumes, carrying weapons of the era, and transporting baby Prince Haakon."

"The Inga entries can be part of or separate from the warrior entries," Zuelsdorff said. "Again, we are looking for a 300-word essay that shows passion, ability and tradition and demonstrates why the entrant should be selected as the cherished mother of the baby Prince."

To enter the competition, email a 300-word essay to (one essay per warrior pair and one for each Inga). The deadline is November 1, and men and women are encouraged to apply. All three winners will be announced on December 1, 2008.

Interested in applying, click here to read more.

Birkie Trails Workday - Saturday, October 25, 2008

We need your help to finish trail work before the snow flies! Please join us Saturday morning, October 25, from 9 a.m. - Noon. We will split into several smaller work teams.

Work will include removing branches, roots and debris from various sections of both the Birkie and Birkie Classic Trails, and fixing minor erosion spots on this year's Birkie Classic Trail section. All you need bring are work gloves, a water bottle and large loppers if you have them.

We'll meet at the OO trail crossing at 9 a.m. and work until Noon. We'll supply energy bars and a grateful Thank You!

Please let us know if you can make it by email to, or by calling us at 715/634-5025. Hope to see you there!

2008 Birkie Trail Run, Relay and Trek

Nearly 100 volunteers, 475 runners and Nordic walkers, great Fall colors and perfect weather resulted in the most successful Birkie Trail Run event in our six year history. This included 130 half-marathon runners, 34 marathon relay teams, 96 in the 5K Fun Run and Walk, and 98 Nordic walkers in the brand new Birkie Trek.

Participants came from six States, Japan and Germany giving us another "International" event. The event has grown from 110 in 2006 to 315 in 2007 to our record number this year, and based on the positive comments and smiling faces we expect that growth to continue.

Thanks to all the participants and volunteers and our many Sponsors who made the event reality. Results and photos are available at Birkie Trail Run, Relay and Trek.

October 31st Registration Fee Deadline

Friday, October 31st, 2008, is the last day to register for the Birkie or Kortelopet at the $80 entry fee.

To register online or download a printable form log onto and click on the appropriate link on the right hand side of the page.

For questions or to have a form sent to you call 715-634-5025 or email

Not Sure If You Are Registered?

Check out online skier registration confirmation by clicking here.

  Birkie® Fever

Deb HultmanBreast Cancer Survivor Fulfills Birkie Dream

By Leslie Hamp

Debbie Hultman, 47, set her sights on her first Birkie in 2007 while going through chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.

"I thought about it all winter," she said. "It kept me focused during treatment. I walked around on skis and decided if I get through this, I'm going to do the Birkie. My doctors thought it really helped me. It stayed in my head, and I signed up in October."

Debbie started bicycling in the summer and said she didn't miss more than a couple of ski days all winter.

"50 below; I was out there," she laughed. "I'm a lousy skier, so I just go out every day. I'm in good shape, and I'm 25 lbs. heavier with lots of hair. It's all part of the journey. I went in thinking, 'I don't care if it takes me all day to finish.' It's really my personal thing; I just wanted to do it."

And she did. During Birkie 2008  ...continue reading click here.

Birkie Fever Stories Needed
We know you have a story to tell
. Whether you are a skier, spectator or volunteer we want to hear from you. Birkie Fever is a phenomonen that touches many people in many different ways. Share your Birkie Fever with others. Send 300 word essays or short quotes and photos to Afraid you can't write? Don't let that stop you. We can take your words and weave them into a great Birkie Fever story.
  Training Tips

Bill PierceChanging Gears

By Bill Pierce

As the leaves begin to change, fall, and blow and the night time temperatures make you feel like you need long sleeves for training instead of just a light tee shirt it is time to look at our training activities and adjust them for the upcoming snow season.  For most of us once the Birkie ends and the last snow is gone we don't think about skiing or ski specific training until the leaves fall and the ground freezes again.  Well, believe it or not that time is here and another season is soon upon us.

The two best activities for changing gears and acquiring ski fitness for the upcoming winter are running and roller skiing.  For some of us we may not have done much of these two activities this past summer. Therefore it may seem that when we start up we are not in very good shape.  If you're coming from doing a majority of non-weight bearing activities such as cycling or canoeing you may feel like you have lost a significant amount of ski specific fitness.

When changing activities start by analyzing...Continue reading, click here.

Bill Pierce, is a coach for Central Cross Country Skiing and the American Birkebeiner Trail Supervisor. He has skied 11 Birkebeiners.

 What's Next?
Mark Your Calendars for the 36th American Birkebeiner®:  Feb. 19-21, 2009

From the Barnebirkie to the Birkebeiner, this citizen's ski race features something for everyone. Watch for 36th anniversary details in upcoming issues of Carpe Skiem and online at

About the Birkie®

From February 19-21, 2009, more than 7,000 fit, colorfully-clad skiers from all walks of life and from around the world will descend upon the Wisconsin northwoods to participate in the 36th anniversary American Birkebeiner, a cross-country ski race that weaves more than 50 kilometers (30 miles) along a hilly, heavily wooded trail from the Telemark Resort near Cable to the finish line on Main Street in downtown Hayward.

For some, it's serious business. The Birkebeiner is part of the Worldloppet, a circuit of 15 Nordic ski races held on four continents. The race attracts a top cadre of professional racers from 19 countries, including past and present Olympians and those competing in the International Ski Federation standings.

For many hundreds of others, though, it's an annual celebration of personal endurance and outdoor enthusiasm. Since its inception in 1973, 'The Birkie' has grown into the largest cross country ski marathon in the nation. While pros may complete the course in about two hours, legions of weekend warriors soldier on in triple that time. Citizen skiers can compete in the full race or sign up for 23 kilometer Kortelopet or one of our many other events.

You don't even have to click into skis to join in on the party. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 spectators line many portions of the route, and it seems all of Hayward is there cheering at the finish line. Equipment demos, citizen sprints, family fun races/tours and other events round out the weekend.

Take the Challenge, Ski the Adventure, Live the Birkie®

Upcoming Events

Birkie Trail Work Day
Saturday, October 25, 2008
9:00 a.m. - Noon
Meet at Cty. OO Trail Crossing
Call 715-634-5025 or email if you plan to attend.

Birkie Classic Trail Tour
Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009 American Birkebeiner Events

Thursday, February 19 - Saturday, February 21, 2009

2009 American Birkebeiner Trail Run, Relay and Trek
Saturday, September 26, 2009

For more information visit
Oct 31st
Fee Deadline

The next entry fee deadline is October 31st, Fee $80.  Don't miss your opporutunity to save.  Register today click here!

Kortelopet skiers ages 22 or younger on race day take $20 off of your fee.
Offer Expires: October 31, 2008