Birkie Weekend 2012

Birkie Weekend 2012

Welcome to Hayward, Wisconsin. Home of the largest and one of the longest cross country ski races in North America! At 54 km/34 mi for classic and 50 km/31 mi for skate, it is an impressive athletic event through the northwoods between Cable and Hayward. The event started in 1973 and has grown throughout the years to include so many events for the entire family.

As a wee one, I skied in the Barnebirkie every single year that I could.

An event that I personally would love to try next year is the Barkie Birkie 5k Skijor Race. Basically, you have a harness on your dog and you are powered by their pulling while you ski. Since German Shorthaired Pointers took all podium places this year, I’m determined to get Nike up there next year. 😉





There’s also a family event–the Giant Ski. You are strapped into snowshoe bindings and need to work together to go about a city block. It sounds easier than it is! Lots of tumbling and falls occur!

There are a number of other ski and outdoor events on the Thursday and Friday before the big event. Check out the Birkie page for the full list.


And then, the main attraction. What I was planning on completing for the first time this year. And then Mother Nature decided to give us 40 degree weather for most of January into February. The only time I went skiing was on Christmas Eve on Nelson Lake. So Birkie was a no go for this year, but it’ll happen…just have to figure out when!


Since we weren’t competitors, we decided to do the next best thing–be the spectating elite. From Ironman Wisconsin to here, I think I’ve perfected my cowbell-ringing, cheering and photo taking all into one. We started at Bodecker Road, which is at the 1/3 done point. We watched the elites come through.


These foreign guys came out fast. At least two minutes ahead of the next pack. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep up the pace and the Americans won.

The guy in the black with yellow hat won. Tad Elliott from Durango, CO. USA represent!Getting relief on a downhill.Great conditions. Light snow. Temps in the 20s. Sun starting to shine through the pines.It looked like glitter was falling from the sky.From Bodecker Road we went down to the finish line to catch Tad crossing the finish line in just over 2 hours. Incredible.

From another vantage point on Main Street. I liked this guy’s form and his skis. I have the same pair.

Even 4 legged friends enjoy watching. Dogs are everywhere and it makes me super happy.Beaver hats keep your head very toasty. True story.The first women coming through. Both Americans. Go USA!

I thought I would be bummed or feeling left out not being able to ski. Surprisingly, I was grateful that I was able to spectate this year behind the lens. And talking to friends that night at the Sawmill in Seeley, I realized the conditions were tough–especially if you would’ve been in Wave 9, like me. Next year, I hope to do the Pre-Birkie, qualify for a faster wave, and have a good race. Time will tell…and Mother Nature, please give us a real winter next year. 🙂