The esteemed American Birkebeiner ski races in Hayward, Wis., that draw upward of 10,000 skiers could be reduced to a run when all is said and done.
Organizers announced Tuesday afternoon more contingencies to deal with warm weather and rain that has made big swaths of the ski trail system unusable and forced the cancellation of several Birkie Week events. Plans seem fluid, and already the iconic finish of Saturday’s race marathon in downtown Hayward has been called off because of conditions.
“The Birkie staff and board are hard at work and pulling out all the stops,” said Birkebeiner executive director Ben Popp in a news release that listed three scenarios:
• Hoping for measurable snow Friday, race officials said there is a slim chance for a one-way, timed raced for the marathon, Kortelopet and Prince Haakon races from the Birkie trailhead to the Hwy. OO trailhead.
• An untimed, open-track, looped-event on the Birkie Trail (north of Hwy. OO) for the three races if there is enough snow but conditions are unsafe for “a competitive race.”
• If there is no snow worth skiing, there will be a Birkie run and street party downtown.
Birkie organizers already have canceled Friday’s events, from the opening ceremonies to the elite sprints and adaptive races.