HAYWARD, Wis. (KMSP) - The country’s largest cross-country ski race, the American Birkebeiner, has been canceled for only the second time in its 44-year history because of unfavorable ski conditions.
The Birkie was set to be held in Hayward, Wisconsin this Saturday, but a bout of unseasonable warm weather, rain and lack of snow deteriorated the trails to the point where organizers felt they couldn’t guarantee the safety of the 10,000-plus skiers who were signed up to race. More than 10,000 people from all over the world descend
Throughout the last few weeks, race organizers had been hopeful they would be able to stage some sort of ski race. On Monday, they made the decision to move the race finish from downtown Hayward due to the lack of snow.
The trails were still in decent shape, but by Thursday morning it was clear if they didn’t get snow in the predicted snow storm, they would not be able to hold a ski event.
But, the predicted snow front missed the Hayward and Cable areas. On Friday morning, race organizers regretfully announced the 2017 American Birkebeiner was canceled.
According to Fox 21, the Birkie course has been altered nine other times in its history due because of low snow or open ice, but has only been canceled once before, in 2000.
Race organizers say they are creating a 5k loop near the Birkie trailhead for anyone who still wants to get some time on their skis. Meanwhile, they are also putting on a brand new event – dubbed BirkieStock 2017 – where skiers, spectators and friends can still enjoy some of the non-skiing aspects of the weekend.
More information on the schedule of events can be found here.