Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birkie Conditions Update

Oh, this picture?  Sorry; that's Amabilis, from LAST year.  Sandy Schreyer, our eye on the snow in the midwest, just sent me an update on conditions for the Birkebeiner,  two short weeks from now.

We want to give you a conditions update for everyone who has plans on coming out to do the Birkie.  Most of the big races in the area have been cancelled the last two to three weeks due to no snow.  The Mora Vasaloppet was cancelled  after some considerations about whether to hold the event on a lake (and it was subsequently determined that the ice wasn't thick enough). Last week, the City of Lakes Loppet was moved to a 2.5 km artificial loop.  Imagine 350 classic skiers going around that loop 4 times and the same number going around a slightly larger loop 4 times in 4 different waves.  We said no thanks to that fun and drove north to get on natural snow.  Ted and I were just up in Cable doing a classic race today.  They had 2 inches of desperately needed fresh snow which allowed them to churn up a boiler plate surface.  They had just enough snow to set some nice classic tracks but there isn't much room for losing any more. 
I would say that right now, they could run the Birkie between Cable and OO but the question is what they'd need to do to run the second half of the course.  There was a skate race yesterday between Hayward and OO and we understand that they did some pretty heroic shoveling to get the course ready for that event.  In looking at the weather forecast, there doesn't seem to be much in the next 8 days and at least 4 of those days are expected to be above freezing.  My guess, and this is just 100% Sandy speculation based on what I've seen of the trails and the gossip I heard around the race venue today, is that if they don't get more snow, the course may be significantly modified.  It may be that everyone goes down to OO and back up to Cable.  In that case, I'm not sure what happens to the classic skiers.  Maybe the overall length gets shortened a bit and they spread the waves out.  Alternatively, they hold an event, but not a race.  I guess they did this a few years ago.  No times were recorded and you danced around the dirt areas.  We're on several ski email hitlists for the area so as soon as I see anything substantial, I'll send it your way so the Seattle team can plan accordingly.  Overall, it's been a washout year for skiing with the only saving feature that we also haven't frozen our faces with many days of sub zero temperatures. 

Greetings to all and we hope to see you soon!

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