"The conditions went from marginal 10 days ago to superb at this point. Even though we haven't had measurable snow for 97 or 98 days, the base is really, really hard. We keep getting these little one-inch clippers that are just on the edge of the lake-effect snow. So, they just keep making things better and better. Now, it could be some of the best conditions ever. ... We have this really rock-hard base, and on top of that we have fresh snow. So it could be really, really great conditions for the skiers."

Ben Popp, executive director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, on the trails for the Birkie ski races in the Hayward, Wis., region. The races go on through the weekend. The classic (55 kilometer) and skate (51 kilometer) marathons are Saturday.