By Erin Peterson
2019 was another great year for the Birkie! Having Kikkan participate in this year's race was especially exciting -- how often do you get the chance to stand just feet away from one of the best skiers in the WORLD as they fly past?! And, she was absolutely gracious and charming during the Expo on Friday evening as she autographed my husband's race bib and allowed our Little A to hold her GOLD MEDAL.
The 2019 Birkie started out with heavily falling snow, which made the central Wisconsin countryside all the more beautiful, and the mild near-32F temps allowed fans like me to cheer on their racers in relative comfort.
My husband completed his 3rd Birkie (1st time on the classic course) in a time with which he was pleased (which means I was pleased, too). In addition to cheering him on at OO and the finish line in downtown Hayward, Little A and I had the pleasure of watching the Elite leader packs and US Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall zoom through OO, making the race especially fun to spectate. While the skaters with whom I spoke complained a bit about slow conditions and poor glide due to the fresh snow (which was to be expected), the classic skiers (including my husband) actually reported good conditions in the tracks and fast skis. The new overpass at OO was obviously a great upgrade to the course, both for spectators and skiers. All in all, 2019 goes down a "success" in my book! Great job American Birkebeinner Ski Foundation!