More than ten thousand skiers competed last weekend in the American Birkebeiner ski race. A foot of snow leading up to race day made for challenging conditions.
Single digit temperatures and fierce winds made for a cold start line early Saturday morning. Cross country skiers in brightly-colored spandex stretched their limbs and sprinted to make their start time.
Pam Fashingbauer of Minocqua prepared for her first ever 54 kilometer classic race, after overcoming a shoulder injury from last summer.
A Rhinelander man offers insight into what it’s like to compete in the Olympic games. Chris Cook was on the United States ski team at the 2006 Torino Olympics.
Cook describes being on the start-line as a moment of clarity.
“Everything else about the Olympics is a huge distraction, and pulling you in all sorts of directions. But at the end of the day when you get to that starting line that’s where you’re comfortable, that’s where you’ve had all the training, all the preparation.”
The frigid weather may have kept skiers indoors for a few days…but otherwise this season’s conditions have been prime for cross country skiing.
Tim Collins, Director of Minocqua Winter Park says the park had its biggest day ever the Saturday after Christmas.
“We had over a thousand people out at Winter Park, on Saturday December 28. And the numbers before and after were very close. So all of our trails, 100 kilometers of ski and snowshoe trails have been groomed to perfection this season.”