Great Outdoors: Birkie Training Begins Without Snow

The American Birkebeiner is four and a half months away, but the intense training for some is beginning

DULUTH, Minn.- The American Birkebeiner is four and a half months away. But preparation is intensifying for a group of skiers ready to take on North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon.

Snow may not be falling just yet, but that isn’t stopping a group of skiers from some intense conditioning for the 50 kilometer race from Cable to Hayward Wisconsin.

The group met for the first time recently to get the proper training they need to last and survive the grueling Birke. Skiers went through a 15 minute warm-up stage, did drills to loosen up muscles they will be using come February and also repeats up and down the skill hill at Chester Bowl.

Coach Jason Kask with Superior Performance Endurance Coaching believes right now is the perfect time to really intensify the training.

“October is a good transitional point to really work on skiing because it takes a long time to develop endurance fitness”, said Kask.

Kask says there are three different techniques to focus on more than others.

“We usually do ski walking, which is a ski imitation which is really low impact and is an extended hike movement, moose–hoofing is a very low intensity bounding and then straight up ski–bounding which is a very high intensity session and they probably won’t go half way up the hill”, said Kask.

The large number of people attending training shows not only how big skiing is here in the Northland, but also how hard and well the skiiers want to work.

“The Birkie training is just something that is the great end of season culmination of the ski season and it’s a way from them to have a focal point of that effort they are going to put in and so many of them want to work hard and make sure that they can improve and see those changes”, said Kask.

The dry training for the American Birkebeiner will continue every Monday evening at Chester Bowl in Duluth until the snow falls.

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