A fever swept across northwest Wisconsin this past month, affecting over 10,000 people. No, it wasn’t another COVID variant, but what is known throughout the cross-country ski community as “Birkie Fever.”
The Slumberland American Birkebeiner is North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon, held its annual “Birkie Week,” which began on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and ended on Sunday, Feb. 26.
This multi-day celebration, which was filled with fun, competition, and plenty of snow, drew skiers and spectators from all around the world to the Cable-Hayward area for the Birkebeiner that will be long remembered.
According to the American Birkebeiner website, the 2023 Slumberland American Birkebeiner, “Spans 50 kilometers from Cable to Hayward for Skaters, and 53 kilometers for Classic Skiers.”
This year, there were almost 4,000 skiers who participated in the Birkie Skate race event, with around 1,700 participants in the Birkie Classic race event, with many more partaking in the week’s other skiing events.
Founded in 1973, the Birkie is one of 20 international ski marathons that make up the Worldloppet Circuit. The race consists of 17 waves, eight skate waves, six classic waves, and three special waves.
According to the American Birkebeiner website, “The goal of wave placement is to place participants of similar abilities together to minimize passing and encourage a smooth flowing race.”
This year, there were almost 4,000 skiers who participated in the Birkie Skate event, with around 1,700 participants in the Birkie Classic event, with many more partaking in the week’s other skiing events.
The 2024 Slumberland American Birkebeiner will be held on Saturday, Feb. 24.
For more information pertaining to the historic event, as well as 2023 race statistics, and upcoming registration information, information can be found on the American Birkebeiner website at birkie.com.